• Jake

Is Your Institution Giving Off Good Vibes?

Published 8/6/2020

DMEPhotography | Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Do you ever wish for simpler times?

When there were less choices to be made. Flyers with prepaid postage rip offs, advertising in traditional print, or the local network slot for the big game on Saturday.

There was less information to consider so it was easier. But our nature is to want more and to get more we must learn more (enter big data).

Don’t let our innate ambition fool you, this forcibly happens from time to time. Like when the days of the seller's market in higher education disappeared. When that happened, those at the cutting edge of outreach and connection tactics with quality messages succeeded. That wasn’t easy back then and things have only gotten harder.

As time goes on we are seemingly faced with an infinite combination of strategies that, if put together to perfection, will achieve the results we are looking for. Unfortunately this is a losing game.

There are too many spaces to put flags on and placing those flags doesn’t necessarily help us achieve our end goal.

A shift needs to occur.

Think of it this way:

If you were to stop all digital marketing efforts, how many students would

still enroll? Give yourself some credit, the number is probably much higher than you’d


So it begs the question, why are we happy with what is happening?

I’d venture to say we aren’t, we are complacent. Happiness is fleeting and it comes before the moment when you want more happiness. We don’t want “good enough” and neither do you.

Higher education is and will remain a buyer’s market for the foreseeable future. These kids are ultimately making the decision. The parents have influence but their role is to give the green-light, not the choice.

So you must continue to provide information to the parents because they are ultimately signing off on the university and the acceptance of a vast amount of debt.

But now the elephant in the room.

What is being done to get the attention of these kids?

How do we accomplish this when the current tactics aren’t working?

Why are current tactics producing disappointing results?

At the end of the day the student’s make the decision so let’s go where the student’s are right?

That logic seems great on the surface, but the results speak for themselves. Regardless of how great your copy or precisely placed your ads are, most kids aren’t looking to interact with a college on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, PPC, or even the website.

Interaction with these things comes after an emotional decision has been made.

We are not the same as teenagers today.

Every generation can say this, however we must all agree that the scale of our differences has changed.

These kids have experienced an incomprehensible amount of stimuli in their short lives. So much so that we will never fully understand what it’s like. I had dial up and a bb-gun when I was 9.

What was your situation like?

Kids nowadays are more shrewd than we were. Consider a metaphor:

You’re looking to buy a used car and the stereotypical used car salesman (picture Gill

from the Simpsons) comes along. You see right through that guy because he only cares

about his quota. He will never be the reason you buy the car. In fact, you may decide to

go to another dealership.

They sort and compartmentalize almost immediately, putting things away for later consideration. If you are giving off bad vibes, you’ve already lost them.

This type of decision making is emotional and happens in an instant.

You must be where they are, without being invasive or needy.

While quickly showing them what you can do for them.

Only then can connections happen first and frequently.



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