Establishing New Marketing Strategies on the Fly

Establishing New Marketing Strategies on the Fly


Luke Phillips, Jeff Corral and Debra Mitchell Benavente from Southern California University of Health Sciences in Whittier, CA shared the steps for developing a quick and efficient program marketing strategy during their session at Converge 2017 in Palm Springs.

Here are three great takeaways from the session:

It’s Never Too Late to Know Your Market

Whether you are looking to start a new program or managing an existing program, the first step to a sound marketing plan is conducting research to get to know your market and how it’s changing. How many students graduate with this degree each year? How has the job market changed in this industry? These are questions you should be asking yourself before thinking about developing a marketing strategy.

The SCU team walked through various helpful tools and resources for the market research process. Here are just a few:

  • National Center of Educational Statistics
  • Licensing bodies, accreditors, examination boards
  • Board of Labor Statistics
  • Google Trends
  • Student and alumni focus groups and surveys

Your Marketing Plan Needs the Right Components

After you’ve done your research and are ready to dive in to developing a marketing plan for your program, where do you start? There are many moving pieces in a marketing plan. Be sure to include the following:

  • SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)
  • Segmented target audiences based on research and messaging targeted to audiences (value propositions)
  • An execution plan for how messages and value propositions will be communicated to target audiences

Take the Guess-Work Out of Budgeting

Use an economic logic model to determine the marketing budget for your program based on your lead-to-enrollment rate. For example, if your lead-to-enrollment rate is 5 percent, you will need approximately 20 leads to sit one enrolled student. From there, use this ratio of leads-to-students and an expected cost-per-lead inspired by industry benchmarks to forecast your budget based on enrollment goals.

If your goal is to gain an incremental 10 students from your marketing efforts, your model might look something like this:

200 leads at 5% lead-to-enrollment rate

x $150 cost per lead

= $15,000 total budget

When determining where to allocate your budget, look first to vulnerable programs or top revenue drivers for your institution.

The Premier Higher Education Marketing Conference

Check out the slides from SCU’s presentation here and check out the rest of the presentation recaps from Converge 2017.

John Staak
John Staak
March 23, 2017