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BG Expert Corner: Personalized Marketing in a Higher Education Landscape

by Belfort Group |
September 8, 2022

Welcome to BG Expert Corner!

The video series where we chat with experts to share our insights on topics such as digital marketing, media relations, design, and more.

Leah Gallagher, Senior Vice President at BG, chatted with Mark DiPietro, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Landmark College, a higher ed institution for students with learning differences. They spoke at length about what an effective marketing strategy means in higher education — particularly for a university like Landmark College.

 

Redefining the College Experience with Landmark

Landmark College is unique from other institutions because it serves a niche audience — those with dyslexia, autism and executive function. It is Landmark’s mission to offer a supportive academic environment — both in-person and online — to help their students unlock their full learning potential.

Landmark’s marketing goal is to connect to the right people at the right time with messaging that informs the viewer as to why Landmark is the right school for them. This messaging targets prospective students, parents of students and educators.

 

Marketing In Higher Education Has Changed Over the Years

Personalized marketing in higher education is evolving.

7-8 years ago, it began at the nurture flow of the bottom funnel. Marketing campaigns would start with a known contact interested in a particular program and then build a nurture flow to tell them why the program was a good fit for them.

But today, we can start at the top of the funnel and quickly find our ideal audiences thanks to search campaigns. By using data, we can serve personalized journeys based on people’s behaviors and what they are searching for to deliver ads that align with their needs and match them up with the right programs.

 

Building Ads That Deliver the Right Results

Marketing’s biggest objective is to speak to people where they are. Using personalization can help an ad connect with the right people at the right time with the right message, so they have the information they need without feeling hounded.

Both Landmark College and BG agreed that Landmark needed to create content for ads that delivered relevant information based on people’s experiences and needs. Yet these ads couldn’t provide just one straightforward journey for everyone — they needed to be customizable to match different needs.

Each student at Landmark College has a unique educational path. Whether it’s the current high school student with LD looking to dip their toes into college or the high school grad with LD looking for the best school for them, Landmark College can be the place for both — and more.

For a marketing strategy, BG built Landmark College a multi-layered campaign with adjustable messaging, using the following format:

1. Brand awareness: Introducing people to Landmark College and telling them who they are and who they serve.

2. Retargeting: Honing in with retargeted ads after knowing people’s interests and sharing relevant content that informs them what Landmark College can do for them.

 

Balancing Privacy and Personalization

Ads that are too personalized can seem like they are suddenly invading our privacy online. After all, no one wants to feel like their phone is listening to them!

Platforms like Google are recognizing these concerns and are adjusting their privacy settings to allow more people to browse online without feeling like they’re being spied on.

But where does marketing fit in a world that values privacy?

Thankfully, audiences can adjust their privacy settings to fit their preferences. For Landmark, BG leaned into audiences who connected their online personas with their areas of need and delivered ads that matched these criteria.

 

Finding the Right Messaging

A great, personalized marketing campaign is one that gives people the right touchpoints at the right place in their journey to help drive them towards making a decision. For Landmark, the goal is for students to enroll/begin the application process or to get in touch to learn more.

When it came to messaging, Landmark College often faced the challenge: How do we convince a student we have enough for them to have a normal college experience, without scaring their parents into thinking there aren’t enough resources for their children?

To achieve this, marketing needed to parlay the separate audiences and create unique messaging for each. The tone couldn’t be too serious or too light-hearted; it needed to strike the perfect balance so different people could how Landmark College could help them.

Using relevant keywords and featuring student success stories in Landmark’s advertising helped strike this balance while also connecting Landmark with the right audiences and helping them make the best decisions for themselves.

Thanks to an effective marketing strategy built with BG, Landmark was able to better serve its audience’s needs and even improve upon its program offerings to align closer with what students with LD are looking for in a university.

 

How BG Can Help

The key to marketing success? A team that stays up to date on what’s changing in the industry and plans ahead for changes enabling them to adjust marketing strategies to reflect the most updated industry best practices.

Need help with kickstarting your marketing Strategy? Reach out to us at connect@thebelfortgroup.com to get started.

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