Sometimes it’s as if the “marketing agency people” come from another planet… Even if they’re specialised in Higher Education. Yet, they’re essential to get things done. How to work together effectively?
In this presentation, Melissa Abache, Director of International Student Recruitment at Koç University (Istanbul, Turkey) and I talked about 5 things that your marketing agency might not tell you.
This presentation was first delivered at Study.eu’s Digital Marketing Day on 29th October 2021. It’s been slightly edited into a video format.
If you want to download my book or see the table of contents, you can do it here.
So, what are 5 things you need to know before you start working with a Higher Ed Marketing Agency?
#1. Any higher education marketing agency needs your directions
Like everyone, your higher education marketing agency wants to appear competent. So however good or bad your briefing is, at some point they’ll stop asking questions and get a campaign off the ground. It will just be a lot better if you provide clear instructions.
Getting the briefing right is going to take more time than you’d think. In the presentation, Melissa shares her timeline for a new Masters programme, and how she made sure the agency got the briefing they needed.
#2. Look for agencies with experience in Higher Education
Marketing agencies usually don’t emphasise that they have little experience in student recruitment. I mean, would you? If possible, it’s best to work with a marketing firm that has proven education sector experience.
But you may have no choice to work with a non-specialised agency. Melissa shares how to select the best possible agency, and what you can do to support them in being successful, even if the Higher Education sector is new to them.
#3. More money doesn’t mean better results
Yes, budget is a success factor, so your marketing agency would be crazy to emphasise that money isn’t everything.
But you can achieve good results even on a limited budget that is spent in a disciplined, focused way. Melissa shares what she has learned over the years about squeezing maximum results out of a limited budget.
#4. Take charge of reporting
Reporting is the key to steering your decisions and getting buy-in internally. So never take the way in which your agency reports as a given.
I’m not saying that education marketing agencies are “evil”, but unless we make sure we stare reality in the face, we are likely to delude ourselves that everything is great.
In this part, I share a 3 reporting principles that help make sure your campaign reports can be understood across the organisation and inspire the right actions at the right time.
#5. Yes you can… do this on your own
It’s not as hard as you think to run small campaigns on your own. Melissa shares how she grew from a single-person office to a team that includes 2 digital marketers and runs campaigns in-house. You have to do everything on your own: what you learn on your in-house campaigns can help you to work together better with your agency.
In this final section, Melissa shares what helped her team get started with their own campaigns. Among others, her own team, the central communications team and several Faculty members participated in my training Effective Online Marketing for Higher Education.