We live in a world of big data. Everything we do creates a larger and larger stream of consumer data. Online or credit card purchases, web searches, our location, who we call, what apps we use, even what we say – think of Amazon Echo, Google Dot, etc. In 2016, Forbes reported that companies would be producing 4,300% more data in 2020 than they are now. That means a college’s treasure trove of data is growing roughly 1,075% each year. All of this “big data” should help you target and nurture prospects, but in order for the data to become useful you need actionable insight to use it for competitive advantage. So, how do you leverage all of this big data for student recruiting? And where do you start?
Start with Actionable Insight
In big data, actionable insight is information that can be acted upon or gives enough insight into the future that the actions that should be taken become clear for decision makers. However, all this data is meaningless unless there is a foundation built around it and plan to determine how it can be most useful.
As enrollment managers, you’re constantly working towards identifying your biggest challenges. Whatever these challenges may be, building a plan for better utilizing prospective student data can help overcome them. For example:
- You may want to focus on the very top of the funnel – access to new and unique candidates.
- You may want to increase campus visits, information session attendance, or volume of applications.
- You may want to attract higher quality candidates.
- You may to improve yield.
- Or you want to do a better job minimizing melt.
Whatever your challenges are you can create buckets of actionable data to improve any part of the admission and enrollment cycle.
At the top of the funnel, you can ask students about their interests and intentions. You can then use that data to improve engagement, personalize the admissions experience and start a two-way conversation. Further down the funnel (post admit for example) there may other engaging questions and data points that can help you identify the students who are more probable to deposit than others. This very targeted and ongoing relationship building, and information gathering is key to enrollment success.
Identifying Best Fit Candidates with Actionable Insight
As an enrollment manager or college marketing expert there are a few basic, but important, pieces of information that can set potential candidates apart from others.
- Does the candidate fit your college’s academic requirements?
- Is the candidate demonstrating interest?
- Have they indicated an intention to visit or apply?
- Do your programs fit their areas of interest?
- Is your college or university a good fit for them academically and socially?
If you had insight into some of these high-level, pre-qualifying questions you could structure your outreach and the content served to prospects to provide an experience that is relevant and personalized to each individual. It also would allow you to focus your limited resources on the most engaged candidates.
Tips for Successfully Navigating and Leveraging all that Data
All of this actionable data can dramatically improve your recruiting efforts and results. Acquiring the data isn’t always the hard part – knowing what to do with can be a little trickier.
Having a lot of data can be overwhelming, especially for colleges that rush into it without asking the right questions. The more data sources you have, the harder it is to determine exactly what to do with it. You can’t track everything, so it’s critical you focus on the data sources that hold the most relevant value to your recruiting goals and its current objectives. Otherwise it is easy to get distracted from the most relevant and immediate recruiting goals.
Taking a data-informed approach to connect with and recruit the most viable candidates will yield more student applications, enrollments, and ultimately graduates. Learn more about how College Interactive allows potential students to provide first party, “declared” data in an immersive and interactive mobile experience. It’s time to use actionable data to attract and enroll more of the best fit candidates who will go on to succeed.