5 Ways Marketers are Driving Change to Meet Their University’s Goals

Takeaways from LinkedIn's Education Connect

October 19, 2017

Education Connect

This week hundreds of the most savvy higher education marketers gathered in New York city to share trends, success stories and key strategies for driving change in their organization to meet their university goals.

If you weren't one of the hundreds that were able to attend, we got you. Here are 5 actionable takeaways for you to bring back to your organization and be the change maker.  

Rethink the way they degrees are delivered

New York Times bestseller, Jeff Selingo opened the day with The Next Wave: The Future of Education driving the conversation on how the Internet and technology is having a tremendous impact on the future of Higher Education. “Today, no job is as neatly packaged as academic majors are,” said Selingo. Brands in this new era need talent with both hard and soft skills and a hybrid set of credentials. Universities are a taking step back to examine what we learn, who learns, when and where we learn, and how we deliver learning to meet the new needs of a hybrid job market. 

We are moving to an era of continued and sustained learning throughout our lifetime.” - Jeff Selingo

As a result, universities have begun to rethink their legacy structures of how they deliver their degrees. What we’re seeing is an emergence of programs like micro masters and nano degrees, complementing the traditional linear education model with more episodic and continuous learning opportunities.

Know the metrics that matter

LinkedIn surveyed 855 marketers across the Tech, Financial Services, and Education industries to understand how digital marketers are tracking ROI and what we can learn from the best in class marketers. To no surprise, we found that tracking ROI successfully is extremely difficult across all industries. Similarly, marketers prioritize the importance of measuring ROI, however success is low.

Successful marketers are the ones that know which metrics matter to their business and how they relate to business objectives. For example, they’re not using blanket KPIs for brand awareness and lead generation. And lastly, marketers that are finding success measuring ROI are leveraging multi-touch attribution. I believe I speak on behalf of most all marketers, kudos you savvy higher education marketers, #lifegoals.

The Connected School is a reality

There’s two ways you can think about the connected school. One, you think about how you connect your students with your alumni and with your faculty in a meaningful way. Two, you can think about how you connect all your systems, processes and alignment internally. At Education Connect, the focus was more on the latter -- breaking down silos between departments to build a more connected experience for students.

What was discussed between a panel of savvy marketers from Cornell's SC Johnson College of Business and LinkedIn is that the beauty and the challenge is that there’s no lack of data for universities. However, student data sits in silos either blocked by incompatible databases or by simply a lack of collaboration across keepers of the data. Cornell has made their connected school a reality, leveraging LinkedIn as the common platform where all their departments can connect, understand and engage with their key audiences. Basically, reshaping the marketing funnel.

Powerful organic presence is a flywheel for paid content on LinkedIn

It’s often when talking to fellow marketers that the topic sways to the dilemma of your organic and paid content investment ratios. Well, lucky for the attendees, in a session centered around product roadmap for higher education, LinkedIn’s very own VP of Product, Tomer Cohen, broke it down to 3 simple steps.

Build a compelling organic presence: Tell your brand’s story by posting great content regularly and leveraging and empower your top voices to flex their industry expertise.

Boost your reach and engagement with paid: Look to the performance of your organic content to inform you what you invest in with sponsored content.

Measure, learn and optimize: Leverage LinkedIn’s reporting tools like Engagement Insights, Website Demographics and Conversion tracking to understand your audience, what their engaging with and which campaigns are driving the most ROI to optimize on future content and campaigns.

ROE is as just as important than ROI

LinkedIn partnered with the EMBA Council to survey LinkedIn EMBA and MBA alumni globally to find out the value of an EMBA and MBA degree -- return on education (ROE), if you will. In the session titled Measuring Return on Education, Michael Desiderio, Executive Director of the EMBA Council, reported that over 70% said their degrees had a significant impact on their career progression. The study  also found that although NPS for EMBA was +38 and for MBA it was +27. It’s been bouncing back for recent graduates, as high as +62 for EMBA class of 2017. Now is the time for MBA marketers to take advantage of rising NPS scores and enlist their alumni to be their greatest advocates.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to dive into all of the content from this year's Education Connect, check out our playlist on Slideshare

For extra credit, download The Power of the Connected School to learn how to spark conversations about how your teams can work together to coordinate university-wide efforts on the LinkedIn platform.