Marketing in education is unlike any other industry. You endure the basic pressures of any other business, of course. However, as an education institution, you aren't just asking someone to buy your product, which they can return if they don't like. You're asking parents to trust you with their children's future. You're asking youth to buy in to your methods and purpose. You're asking families, faculty, and staff to come together around your institution and form a community.
The effectiveness of your programs depends on access to resources, which depends on enrolling students and entreating donors, which depends on your marketing and recruiting efforts, which depends in part upon the effectiveness of your programs. Each aspect of your success depends on every other. When it comes to your marketing plan, hiring an agency that understands the interrelatedness of your institution just makes sense.
Chances are, you already have a marketing department. Ideally, you could hire a legion of marketing professionals to work on site with you, anticipate your target market's every whim and advertise your every move. Unfortunately, that option is often unfeasible and, frankly, undesirable. But so is expecting your marketing director and one or two specialists to do everything an agency could do.
From public preschools to private colleges, academic institutions across the spectrum are adopting digital marketing strategies to boost enrollment and improve capital campaign outcomes. They're consistently seeing double digit improvements from agencies focused on the education sector.
Here are 7 reasons so many schools are partnering with an education-specific marketing agency.
1. Modern marketing is rigorous, time consuming, and requires a holistic view of digital inbound engagement. Marketing in the information age requires a holistic view of all the mechanisms of an effective inbound marketing campaign. SEO, social media, and content, to name a few, are each marketing skills that require both specialized skill and knowledge of the interrelatedness of all other inbound marketing components.
2. Marketing agencies are like marriage counselors, helping schools and audience members click or find a better fit. You know what you want; students know what they want (at least you hope they do). But who is in the middle making sure everyone's needs are part of the conversation? While an in-house marketing team might get their vision clouded, perspective is a marketing agency's bread and butter.
3. Partnering with a marketing agency is more cost-effective than hiring an army of your own marketers. According to Glassdoor, a marketing director's average salary is slightly over $80,000 annually. The rest of your team will cost you between $40,000 and $70,000 each. That's before overhead and benefits. Conversely, hiring an agency gets you an entire team with a static investment of about $65,000 to $80,000 per year. You lose some oversight, but gain functionality and expertise.
4. Hiring a marketing agency is an efficient way to make sure everything gets done. Expanding on the previous point, a marketing agency is an efficient and cost-effective way to expand your marketing team. Even if you're blessed with the world's most capable marketing manager, it's impossible to be an expert in everything. Inbound marketing is primarily digital, and the digital world changes constantly. By hiring a marketing agency that specializes in education, you're relieving your marketing manager of the burden of keeping up with every industry advancement, freeing up your in-house team to focus on shaping your school's direct communications with current students.
5. Marketing agencies have more resources. When you partner with a marketing agency, you aren't just investing in a well rounded team of brilliant minds, you're investing in access to all of their cool toys as well. Between software, experience, industry research, and continuing education, keeping your marketing team on the cutting edge can cost thousands of extra dollars each month. For an agency, these are general overhead costs. For you, they might be deal breakers.
6. Your agency partner can help set realistic goals based on agency experience and hard data. The field of competition is vast in today's market. It's easy to lose sight of all the elements of an effective marketing campaign, and it's difficult to track the results of your efforts. Your partner marketing agency will take the load off, counting on their experience to come up with ideas and their data tracking to shift with the results.
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7. Marketing agencies are more flexible, making them a more stable option for you. Whether it's a change in leadership or institutional software, new brand identity, or you just feel like shaking things up, your marketing agency will adapt quickly, easily, and without the grumble and morale hit you'd expect from an in-house team. And the disruption of staffing changes like employee turnover or growth are absorbed by the agency, leaving your team and your school financially unscathed.
All in all, hiring a digital marketing agency to help boost enrollment and improve capital campaign outcomes is is more cost-effective, stable, and efficient than hiring and training a marketing team. Learn more about how partnering with a marketing agency like What's the Word can help you reach your goals!