As international student numbers decline, marketing must be targeted to regions, countries – even individual states – and remain flexible as recruitment practices evolve due to changing circumstances. And, increasingly, students around the world are demanding from their institutions ever greater environmental awareness and tailored content.
“Only by channelling messages through the right media and using the right delivery vehicle will you reach the right people”
Who’s looking versus who’s engaging?
For recruitment and marketing professionals, pinpointing their target audience’s habits is a fundamental precept; only by channelling messages through the right media and using the right delivery vehicle will you reach the right people. The potential student who will recoil from putting heavy, possibly outdated printed media in their bag, will be using, mainly, their phone and tablet to research their options.
This presents HE marketing & recruitment departments with great opportunities – to keep everything live (avoiding the dead content that encumber PDFs), to increase their spread and to thrive within budgetary constraints.
Keeping content live
It is probably a truism that print media is out of date the moment it comes off the press, but this illustrates the opportunity that online marketing, localised and relevant when delivered through the right platform, offers institutions.
Simple, clear and effective technology is available to create a platform that enables continuous adjustment: from a new email address or job title, through changes to courses and even radical direction shifts such as those that Covid-19 has required.
By keeping the technology user-focused and simple to use, we can enable updates, additions and re-configurations to be implemented immediately; material can be kept fresh, accurate and focused at all times.
The double inertia conundrum
With print media there is always significant inertia due to the time it takes to get the product to the potential client: from the planning, the design, the printing and the shipping. Once it’s on its way, the die is cast, and no change is possible, whatever changes may have occurred at its origin.
“Millennials and Generation Z are digital natives as, in 2020, are so many of their parents”
But there is, arguably, a second level of inertia and that is between the traditional marketing methodologies of HE providers providing printed prospectuses and the speed and universality of change within the potential readership of those publications.
Millennials and Generation Z are digital natives as, in 2020, are so many of their parents, preferring to access their information electronically and with the means to do so carried in their pockets. This demographic is also finely tuned to environmental issues. To a large extent, this applies to the developing world as well as the northern hemisphere.
Keeping information focused
What is theRACK? theRACK, as its name suggests, provides a portfolio of pages from which a targeted brochure can be built by selecting the relevant content, rather as you would select items from a rack of clothes to create a bespoke outfit.
The choices you make will be predicated on the readership you are aiming for: a specific country, region, subject or even gender. You may adjust the photos you use to ensure they reflect the world of your reader. You may want to create bespoke brochures for high-value agents containing their picture or contact details. It is a system that gives almost limitless adaptability and focus.
It is also a low-cost solution to making all marketing material relevant, up to date and highly reflective of the market it is aiming at. Your material won’t merely be country or even region-specific but can be specific to a city, an institution, a subject or even a course.
Your potential internationals will not have to pinpoint the information relevant to them within a large volume mostly full of irrelevant information because you will already have pinpointed exactly what they need.
For HE to market itself, it has to move away from print and this platform can make this move increase its efficacy – in terms of content, the environment and budget.
Paul Loftus is the founder and CEO of eduKUDU, as well as a founding member of CANIE the Climate Action Network for International Education.
In his 25th year in Int Ed his focus is on sustainability, budget streamlining and delivery of tailored content to future international students, as the industry moves the colossal print element into the 21st century.