Key Takeaways From LinkedIn’s Education Connect 2016

September 28, 2016

Key Takeaways From LinkedIn’s Education Connect 2016

LinkedIn’s Education Connect which was held last week in New York, brought together a packed room of education marketers and thought leaders to exchange trends and ideas on how change is driving opportunity for universities. One thing is true, education marketers are embracing change and becoming digital brand stewards more than ever before.

Education marketers are...

Embracing the Digital Age

85% of admissions teams use LinkedIn to find quality candidates.” - Andrew Crisp, Owner, CarringtonCrisp

There’s proof that universities are thinking differently and embracing the digital age from research LinkedIn presented alongside CarringtonCrisp at the event. Higher tuition and increasing student debt are causing increased scrutiny on degree ROI and career outcomes -- driving universities to rethink their marketing strategies. Today is the era of the connected school. Marketers are getting in front of their prospective students digitally throughout the entire student journey -- from prospect to student to  alumni. They’re leveraging content to fuel social marketing strategies that identify quality prospects, engage students to share their experiences, and connect alumni to career and mentorship opportunities. Ultimately, social media helps improve quality and drive ROI by connecting students and alumni in a virtuous cycle that benefits everyone.

Shaping Perceptions

Online education is like online dating 10 years ago.” - Chip Paucek, CEO & Co-Founder 2Uinc

In our access anywhere, digital world, students and prospective students are looking for an education delivery model that meets their lifestyle. And this means that online education is becoming a desirable consumption model more than ever before because of it’s flexibility.  Despite the fact that top ranked universities across the nation are building online programs that create access and opportunity for students around the world, the perception still exists that a campus degree is more credible than an online degree. Marketers need to cut through the noise and shape perception that online education is at the digital forefront of a new wave of prospective students. “It’s not an online or on-campus degree, it’s a degree,” said Paucek. As universities join the all-access digital world of online education, marketers need to assert that by doing so, quality is not a sacrifice.

Looking More Like Choreographers

There’s nothing that can replace the movement for wanting an authentic voice of the university.” Angela Lee Bostick, CMO, Emory University, Goizueta Business School

The wickedly smart Bostick told the crowd we need to all “stop being marketers and start being choreographers” when it comes to driving authentic narratives. It is not a solo approach, especially in this connected world. There’s so much "silent shopping” happening during the purchase path that it’s our job to choreograph a sequence of steps and movement across faculty, staff, students, and alumni that shapes and communicates an authentic narrative no matter what channel.

Becoming Savvy Content Marketers

There’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news is that we know what’s not working, which coincidently is the good news.” Lendora Johnson, Marketing Account Manager, College of William & Mary

At last year’s Education Connect we celebrated education marketers for embracing the power of content marketing. But this year, it was all about taking content marketing to the next level. It was clear that education marketers are becoming sophisticated content marketers because a common thread throughout the day was around testing and optimization.

Johnson of the College of William & Mary took the stage with confidence asserting that with the implementation of tracking she now has access to insights that tells her exactly what’s working and what’s not working to inform her strategy going forward. In a marketing department at a small public university where budgets are tight, it’s absolutely critical to spend efficiently.

Chris Aldrich, Marketing Manager at Northeastern University told the audience, “LinkedIn gives us insights that enables us to optimize campaigns both on and off LinkedIn.” He prescribed that having insights into click demographics from their LinkedIn Sponsored Content is a huge resource. Not only in scaling and optimizing content performance on LinkedIn, asking themselves “are we hitting the mark with our key demographics,” but also “a hugely successful tool for providing insights when bringing new programs to market.”

After a day spent with education marketers, it’s clear they’re embracing change, raising the bar for marketers across all industries.

If you missed the event, don’t fret. All presentations and full session videos from the event will be available shortly on the event resources site next week. Keep an eye out on our blog for the details.

Higher education marketing is more challenging than ever. To inform your teams about strategies best practices to overcome these challenges, get the eBook today.