Situation – Rediscovering the Fundamentals
Reaching the next level is all about mastering the basics. For Troy University, an established public regional university in Alabama, the next level was a stronger relationship with every prospective student. And the basic ingredient they lacked was automated, yet personalized, communication.
Specifically, TROY lacked both the bandwidth and full-funnel infrastructure for guiding prospects through every step of their decision-making journey – from awareness and application to enrollment and matriculation. This challenge took on a new meaning in 2020, where students’ uncertainties on the value and viability of a college degree led to industry-wide declines in enrollment yield (the percentage of applicants that actually enroll). Students craved the hand-holding assurance from schools like TROY in order to cement their resolve to attend. In contrast, TROY had been previously over-relying on the occasional email sent by admissions counselors to nurture leads to enrollment. Their CRM platform, Ellucian Recruit, was underutilized and their brand messaging content at the final stages of the enrollment funnel was inconsistent. Between a lack of internal bandwidth and technological know-how, the step TROY needed to take to reach the next level was clear: invest in the basics.
Rather than reinforcing the value of TROY’s brand promise and responding to students’ needs past the point of admission, their overtaxed admissions team was left to fend for themselves and invest considerable time and energy to nurture leads.
Approach – Closing Communication Gaps
Our discovery work revealed glaring gaps in TROY’s lower funnel marketing strategy and infrastructure. Rather than reinforcing the value of TROY’s brand promise and responding to students’ needs past the point of admission, their overtaxed admissions team was left to fend for themselves and invest considerable time and energy to nurture leads. Bridges between marketing, admissions, and technology needed to be built.
To this end, VisionPoint worked with TROY to air out their needs and take stock of their communication avenues. Our discovery work focused on piecing together data across siloed sources. Based on the data, we prioritized TROY’s best-fit, post-admission audiences (i.e., students with the highest likelihood of attending), which included traditional high school students, adult learners, current military personnel, veterans, international students, graduate prospects, and transfer students. Current high school students whose distance learning situations make them great candidates for TROY’s Accelerate program were also included, along with parents and influencers whose input is crucial to the enrollment decision.
As part of our evolving strategy for reaching best-fit audiences, we continue to break down each segment into key attributes, such as geographic location and age. Our data insights, along with a deep understanding of TROY’s goals, revealed clear communication priorities for their enrollment marketing strategy. To achieve their goals, we created and designed communication workflows tailored to the needs of each segment, and are setting those workflows in motion with a series of drip campaigns through TROY’s CRM.
Bridges between marketing, admissions, and technology needed to be built.
And campaigns are just the beginning. We built TROY a deep-funnel nurturing framework that integrates messaging from paid media campaigns to landing pages, CRM workflows, organic social media, web content, and more. The framework is both extensive, scalable, and provides TROY with a road map for the enrollment landscape faced by all higher education institutions in the years to come.
To sustain the strategy, we equipped TROY’s team with best-practice guidelines for day-to-day management, as well as hands-on counsel to take full advantage of their CRM’s features. With the ultimate goal of ensuring sustainable enrollment growth, VisionPoint provided an extensive review of their CRM instance, its effectiveness, and areas for improvement. This review encompassed system implementation across the enrollment funnel, data integrations, interaction tracking, events, communications, reporting, automation, forms, and governance. We made recommendations for next steps, including system, support, and training needs. And to help TROY create new pipelines of enrollment growth, we are building predictive data models to identify new best-fit segments based on proven enrollment outcomes.
Results – A Roadmap for Success
This foundational work marks a revolution in TROY’s enrollment marketing strategy. While quick-win results from these campaigns are still coming in, the initial success outcome is a long-term dividend: we have aligned resources and de-siloed information across TROY’s marketing and admissions efforts.
We built TROY a deep-funnel nurturing framework that integrates messaging from paid media campaigns to landing pages, CRM workflows, organic social media, web content, and more.
For the first time, TROY’s admissions team is now fully equipped to engage students in their final decision-making moments with unprecedented efficiency. In short, TROY now has the basic infrastructure they need to meet students where they are and to reach the next-level of sustainable enrollment growth.