Education marketers find there's no longer any room for an off-season
Childtime Learning Centers targets moms with direct mail and social media
Educational marketers from colleges to day care centers are also taking advantage of social media to deliver personalized messages to consumers considering enrolling themselves or their children. "I think universities are paying attention to social media because it's another way to engage with prospective students and it allows them to see what it's like to be a student at The Catholic University of America or Duke University, or whatever the case is," says Patrick McKenna, CEO at DMi Partners, a digital agency that specializes in helping higher educational clients.
However, educational marketers face challenges with using social media that their peers in other industries do not, such as stricter use policies for employees. Facebook and many types of marketing e-mails are often blocked by K-12 school districts.
"There is blocking in the districts, and not only by them but also by the e-mail service provider. They have filters, and if you don't set up your e-mail properly, you can get registered as a spammer," says John Hood, president of MCH Strategic Data, who adds that institutions are using e-mail at the expense of traditional mail.
"There is a big switch going on to e-mail marketing at the expense of snail mail, and that is being driven largely by the expense of catalogs and postage and things of that nature."
McKenna notes that education marketing trends are also dependent on current events. More consumers tend to be interested in higher education options at times when the unemployment rate is higher than usual, he says, adding that consumers who are looking for new jobs are a unique target for continuing education institutions.
"If the unemployment rate gets worse or doesn't get better, you might see more of that segment of the population turning to education to get a better job, or a different job, so I would not be surprised if that is a trend we see throughout the year," says McKenna.