The Higher Ed Marketer
The Higher Ed Marketer

Episode · 6 months ago

Big Data (& How Higher Ed Marketers Can Use It!)


There are thousands of marketers across a variety of industries that are leveraging big data to promote products and services, almost in real-time.

But in higher ed marketing circles, many marketers are still wary of it. In many cases, a knowledge gap exists—they simply don’t know how it works. They have questions ranging from how big data is collected to the legalities and ethics surrounding it.

Today, we’ve got answers.

In this episode, Roosevelt Smith, Principal CEO / Executive Chairman at, teaches a master class on leveraging big data in the higher ed market.

We discuss:

- Why big data is relevant to higher ed markets

- How smart pixel technology factors into capturing big data

- Why how you use the data matters

Reach out to Roosevelt:

To hear more interviews like this one, subscribe to Higher Ed Marketer on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your preferred podcast platform.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Higher Ed Marketer in your favorite podcast player.

There's so much data available on every user, every consumer, and it's not as a anonymous value. It's more of an opportunity for individuals and marketers to be able to promote services are products that are in line with the interest level of that particular prospect. You are listening to the Higher Ed Marketer, a podcast geared towards marketing professionals in higher education. This show will tackle all sorts of questions related to student recruitment, don'tor relations, marketing trends, new technologies and so much more. If you are looking for conversation centered around where the industry is going, this podcast is for you. Let's get into the show. Welcome to the hired marketer podcast. My name is troy singer and I'm here with my cohost, Bark Taylor, where each and every week we interview higher ed marketing professionals or surface providers for the betterment of Higher Ed marketers. Today we're going to talk to Roosevelt Smith from e Web data on how Higher Ed marketers can best utilize big data. I know that this is something that you've been talking about for the last few months and you really wanted to get the message out there for marketers to better utilize the data that is available to them. Yeah, Troy, I think this is this is a really good conversation. I think Roosevelt been doing this for several years and you know, Big Dad has been around all all long. You know, we'll talk during the podcast a little bit about what it is and where it came from and how it's proceeding, especially in light of the Internet and with with some different things that are going on. But I think it's one of those things that it's going to be a really good episode. I want you to kind of really listen to it because there's a lot to learn about big data and how that can be leveraged for Higher Ed Marketing and how it's already being leveraged in a lot of other places in higher in marketing in general in general, and a lot of times I tell people, and those of you that are in highed marketing, especially if you've been in other marketing fields, if you've transitioned into higher Ed, sometimes higher ed can be a little bit behind in marketing techniques and in marketing applications, and Big Dad is probably a really good example of an area that a lot of other places are already doing and doing well and that High Ed could kind of pick up the pace and learn from so I hope that this is going to be a good conversation. Here is our conversation with Roosevelt Smith. Everyone, it's my pleasure to welcome Roosevelt Smith from e Web data to the Higher Ed Marketer podcast. And before we get into our interesting conversation about using big data, Roosevelt, if you could tell everyone a little bit about you roll, let you web data and what the company does. Yeah, absolutely, Try. Thanks for the introductions. So I've been the president of the web data nowly since early two thousand and fourteen. We started out as a data modeling company and also into a course of website design. We've now kind of bridge the gap and big data analytics and data augmentation. We have a couple of platforms in the space that works with big data analytics and and basically helping customers uncover their website traffic. So, in a nutshell and thirtyzero foot view, that's who we are. Great. Thanks, Roosevelt. It's good to have you on the on the podcast. To know we've we met probably close to about a year ago through some common friends, and so it's good to have you here and in all transparency, of Taylor Solutions Leverages and uses some of you web data's technology, but I found it fascinating that I wanted to at least have the conversation about what what big data is and how it can be used in marketing, how it is being used in marketing. And so we've been talking about big data and throwing around the name here the last couple of minutes and people are probably like, okay, tell me what it is. So can you just give us kind of an idea of what big data is and how it's how it's a part of our lives? Yeah, right, I think you know, big data can be comprised of different explanations. To me, what big data means is an...

...aggregation of a lot of data, a lot of information that is utilize every day through marketing channels for everything from real estate to e commerce to automotive dealerships, you name it, big data's used, you know, every day. So that to me is kind of what they eat explanation is, and I guess how that correlates to you know, et Web dadas. We utilize that information to make the, you know, the best marketing decisions. In real time through severe our plot that's great. I was introduced to big data probably in one thousand nine hundred and ninety four, probably about the same time that I did my first website. I was a young buck of a designer, couple years out of college and I was working for a design firm and date in Ohio and one of our clients was in CR and I remember they had this huge server system that they would sell to retailers and when their biggest client at the time was Walmart, and I remember having to do a brochure that it was explaining how, whether the whether the customer paid via credit card or check or, you know, in various ways, that they could take that that connection to that to that check or that credit card number and they could aggregate all the customers behavior at the stores to be able to put together a profile of what the customer purchased. I mean they could store this for years and and start to develop a bit of a profile to say this particular customer or this particular family has a tendency to buy these brands, has a tendency to do these types of things, to purchase on these days, and they could start using that date in a lot of different ways, whether it would be how to, how to, you know, put the store together, how they could, you know, do traffic in the store, all the way to marketing, and so I was really fascinated, even at that time, you know, this is thirty, thirty five years ago, how these progressive companies were using all this data that we were every day just using. I mean, this was before the Internet too, and so I have to believe now that even this idea of big data, I mean we leave such a trail in our wake of just information about us, whether we're going to a website and you always, you know, asking about cookies, or whether we're, you know, clicking on a link or, you know, using our mobile phone, using a you know, from home. The idea of big data, I guess, Roosevelt, is the idea that we're just being you know, that, instead of being in the S and being able to track a credit card number and a check to apply that to the fact that you just bought, you know, apples at Walmart, now really contract so much other parts of our life, especially when it comes to the Internet. I totally agree with you, bar that that is a very good understanding of it and from yes, from where we are today and Modern Day technology, with the capability of being able to, you know, look in sight of understanding who your consumer is and how they are progressively adapting to your ecosystem or or, you know, basically kind of working within your your ecosystem, that it is just become fascinating and just a just in itself. And there's so much data available on every user, every consumer, and it's not as a anonymous value. It's more of an oportunity for individuals and marketers to be able to promote services are products that are in line with the interest level of that particular prospect yeah, I was recently. We recently moved my family and we do all of our we cut the cord on cable a few years ago and so we use all of our streaming devices and it was interesting to me when we moved that we would be watching like the hallmark channel or some other channel on sling or on the Hulu or something, and obviously you have the streaming ads that still come across and you can't fast forward through some of those. You have to watch those. But I was fascinated with the fact that the ADS that we're getting served up were things about gutters and home, a lot...

...of home stuff. A lot of home stuff. There were some things about retired physicians and different things like that. Couple other things about, you know, have parents of teenagers and things like that, and I remember sitting with my wife one time as I started kind of realizing that these ads were not just ads that I would have gotten, you know, two years ago if I was watching the colts game and, you know, there was a bud ad and the you know, the next ad would be, you know, a state farm and that type of thing. These ads were a lot more specialized to what was going on in my life at that time. You know, I had an older house, I was going to have to replace some gutters, I had an older house, I had to do some roofing and I realized, and I was talking to my wife. My Wife's a retired physician and I was talking to her and I said, I think all these ads are based on who we are. They know who we are and their serve these ads up based on that side. A little research and came across the concept of overthetop advertising, Ott Advertising, which all the streaming channels leverage, and it's leveraging this big data that we talked about, that they know that. You know my house. The people in that House have these habits, they've done these things, they have children that are high high school students, and so they were serving up ads that was customized to the Kaylor family and not just thrown out there for anybody's it is. That what you're seeing to absolutely you know the the power behind retargeted ads. Today's is, you know, far better than what it was even two, three, four years ago. You know, the enhancement value of technology has come so far in advance and I am, you know, primarily happy and proud to say that we are on the cutting edge as well in regards to yeah, you know that that data formula. It's all about capturing the information, first, understanding what data is available on the the particular prospect and then being able to serve that information, like I said, in retrospect to what you've actively been looking for. So if you've completed a google search for, you know, gut or installation or roofing, new roofing installation in the past seventy two hours, and information is tracked and there are thousands of marketers out there or big data aggregators like ourselves, like you, web data, who are attracting that information, and we try to provide you with the best, you know, promoted product or service available and an almost real time you know, because I think that window is what's very important to it. You know, as a it may be a longer shot in a rooping estimate because you are considering, you know, thousands of dollars versus a, you know, a purchase of organic apples versus farm rates. But there's there's there's some coexistence in your purchase behavior, but goes along in that. That's great. And so obviously big date has been around for a while. I mean we talked about that, you know, from NCR back in the s and then, you know, there was a book that I read a few years ago, the power of habit, by Charles doing and and he brings a he talks about target and some uses an illustration of story about, you know, how target aggregates data and can actually predict when women are pregnant and start marketing to them based on on the concept that they know that they're pregnant because of their purchasing habits in the way that they do that. And so I kind of understand that big date is just a big part of our lives, but when I bring it up in the higher head marketing circles it's kind of all the sudden it's kind of like, well, what's that and why should we do that and how's that work and is that legal? Is that ethical? And so I'm curious because I think there's a lot of people out there that are doing it. They might be calling it different things. I know that. I know I've got some competitors that have some names for it, that it's basically the same thing. I tend to call it data harvesting because it's the idea of, you know, being able to know who's coming to your website, being able to capture that data and then being able to turn that data and actionable items and actionable, you know, contact information, and we'll get into that in a second. I de Troy has some questions about that, but I think that my bigger question is is that for Higher Ed marketers this could be a big change because we do a lot of paper click advertising and with especially with traditional Undergrad there's been years and years of buying lists for search campaigns where, you...

...know, we'll go to the sat scores or the act scores and and purchase. The kids that are taking those tests will buy their names and then we'll mark it to them based on the demographics of you know, they're in the stay, they have this GPA, and so we've been doing that for years as High Ed marketers. But now, with test optional, with the pandemic, less kids are taking the test, the less schools are acquiring the tests, and so all of a sudden that where the well that we're going to is going smaller. And then not even to think about the fact that the largest part of Higher Ed Marketing is in adult and graduate studies. I mean there's there's there's a lot more students in the graduate space and then the online space than there are in the traditional Undergrad but you know, they're not taking tests. We can't buy list necessarily and so we've got to come up with other ways to generate leads, and so I'm guessing that that this big data idea is a way that we can do that. That is absolutely correct. Part, you know, being able to segmentize your search based upon behavior and breaking down the formula is what I call the winning and winning solution. I think in the our x space it's A. It's a commonly known, you know, Opportunity for that. So yeah, I totally I totally agree with you and segment in that process. Roosevelt, could you give us an idea of how you're capturing this data in order to serve it and enable high ed marketers, or any market for that matter, to best utilize it? Yeah, well, I'm formerly used, we used what we call super cookies, which was a combination of cookie based tracking technology, and that was used for the last few years within our platform. And basically we were we were counterparts of other website users and companies and they allowed us to install our cookies to be able to track data and then, of course, we provided them with, you know, intelligent information on their consumers and their prospects. But of course, now, with the recent changes in technology, with Google and apple and kind of facebook now coming forward saying they're, you know, they're going to be doing a way with cookies, we have now switched to smart Pixel Technology. So we're now using a combination of some some some old tech with some new school tech foundations. And the data capture process is always been the same. You know, you capture the user at the IP level and didn't you utilize several algorithms and augmentation to figure out who they are, and in a real time basis. So that's kind of our the basis of our technology today. So just to clarify with everyone, I just want to make sure that, I mean we're getting kind of technical. What's an IP address? I mean, you know, I've got an idea, but maybe resevelt, you can tell you no problem. So your stationery Ip address is going to be basically the unique identifier that's provided from your ISP, which is your Internet service provider. So comcast, exfinity, verizon, you know, those are all of your ips. They're going to give you a stationary Ip address and that's what you use as your navigation tool you surf the web. Think of it as a vehicle and that you hop into when you're when you go to the Google search engine and you plug in, you know, Nike, Golf Clubs and you travel a big sporting goods. So that Ip addresses is your your vehicle to travel from website to website. So it's kind of like having your license plate. You know, I can I can see your license plate, I can track your license plate and I know where your license plates been, and so that's a little bit more of what that Ip address is. Great, great, great, example. Yes, part you got it. Okay, Great. So once you kind of capture that license plate, I mean you're basically running it against the database as if, you know, if you're the state trooper, you know, drive by it ninety five miles an hour and he sees my license plate, he's going to then take that license plate, go to a database and be able to download information about me. Is is that basically the same thing? Absolutely yeah. So, instead of writing you a citation for overspeeding, we're just going to serve you an add...

...directly into your your ad feed for those golf clubs that you search for and kind of ever reverse method. And you know, the think of the speed limit on that highway is the flag that is used by the client client it. Maybe our says, Hey, we want to know everyone in the last seventy two hours in the centurianapolist that have searched a set of Nike Golf Clubs on the big sporting goods website. And so when you pass, you know, when you pass by that that speed trap and you know we pull out to get you. You know, we're serving you an add in regards to that information. Okay, that's really helpful to know. And so the idea then, is that not only do you know that I was searching for that those golf clubs, but you also can pull up, just like with the you know, going to our license plate and speeding analogy, they can also pull up, you know, maybe some other history of me. My Name, might address, my email, contact information. I mean, I'm guessing that because of the big data and and I I remember you telling me one time too that, you know, Dick Sporting goods might trade data with my utility company, and these different places are trading data so that there's like a, you know, set of Pokemon cards that everybody, you know, trades to be able to get a full profile. What I mean, what kind of data is out there on me? Just about everything, I mean everything outside of Your Pii, which is your personal informations. You know, first name, last name, physical address, you knows, there's mobile connecting IDs like your facebook ID, your instagram handle, twitter account information and then, of course, demographical data. We know that you are a, you know, a middle aged African American or Caucasian mail that is interested in Golf, you know, we know that you have, and then they're shared e commerce data. That which is which is highly, highly impactful as well. You know, Amazon be in the root of a lot of this information is valuable, which stiy'll share with you. Know, big data providers out there, if you acts for a connection to their to their database, to their big data portal. So we know that you've got a set of those golf clubs in your shopping cart already at Amazoncom and you're just kind of price shopping. You're looking for the best shipping methods or same day shipping, you know. So Dick to sporting goods is now going to put twenty percent off with free pick up at the store that's two point eight miles away from your house. And so that's how the aggregation process works. And just think about all that being done in real time. That's the significant value behind, I think, big data today, and so you had told me before, I think there's like thirt thirty two points of data that you can do everything from household income to, you know, whether you have children under eighteen in the house. I mean there's just all kinds of things, and I mean and and I guess that's one of the things when we talk about high read marketing, there's a lot of things that we could we could, you know, purchase, I mean, and essence, we're kind of purchasing our own search list of people who've been to our website, who we already know show some pro you know, some some sense of leaning toward what we have to sell them, what we have to offer them as a service, in this case higher education. So being able to actually know that, okay, they already have. They've already arrived at our website. So, you know, maybe a paper click campaign or Seo or something else drove in there for whatever reason they chose not to fill out a form. But I can actually purchase their names because of this pixel because of this big data, and then I can create a campaign of whether it's email marketing or direct mail marketing, I can start to create a campaign that that probably needs to be sensitively created. I mean, I don't want to say, Hey, we noticed you were on the website and you're looking at this program and we just new didn't for you forgot to fill out your name and address, so we took it upon ourselves to find we're not doing that, but we're we're going to do it in such a way that's just like a purchase name, as if it were a purchase named for an Undergrad, and we're going to go and we're going to do a brand awareness campaign and start to help them understand so that, you know, not only the retargeting adds that they see because they went to the website and they're starting to see the retargeting adds, but hey, they just got a...

...postcard about this and and Oh, they just got an email about it. Wow, it's everybody and this this school's everywhere. Wow, I need to check more about this. And so I'm guessing that's a little bit of the way that some of that data can be used. Absolutely, Barry, get the nail on the head there. And I want to address one I think critical point would just the educational process with big DDAS that they're still regulations around it. You know, it's not the complete wall ball blast with even big data providers or aggregators like like myself and my team, there are limb it's within what information we can capture and when information we are, you know, able to give out to prospects or client to use for marketing purposes. You know that the first step is clearly consent. You know you have to gather and capture consent from the user first before you start the augmentation process. And then there's a second layer of what I like to call the federal hygiene, which the government stepped in a couple of years back when facebook and Cambridge analytic could, you know, have their whole deal with a government said okay, well, now everyone's going to play on the same in the same sandbox, whether your Google or whether your e Web data, and so they created this this this hyper database, which basically means that now every all the information we capture on that user we have to send through the national and state level of DNC, which is to do not call, the Dne list, which is do not email and do not mail list as well, just to make sure that any of those users are prospect that are on those protected list. We're not able to capture or relay that data. So there is a level of protection and privacy that we uphold, you know, as a very high standard within our ecosystem and we really try to tease that to all of our clients to make sure that you know, everything is done the right way, because no one wants to be solicited with information they haven't requested and that's that's never the goal. Okay, that's good to know because I think that, you know, I mentioned to you before the before we started recording, is it, you know, and again, transparency. I'm level ridging Roosevelt any web data on some of the projects that we do. But you know, I had a client where we were doing a paper click campaign and we were going to leverage the Pixel to be able to harvest some of the people that did not fill out the form but actually click through, but they didn't understand it and and really, at the end of the day, did not want to understand it and really kind of caused a lot of caused a lot of consternation for the client because they felt like, Oh, this was somehow, you know, shady or dark. And I think that the what you just said is a really good point, is that there's there's laws in place, there's a lot of things in place already. There's privacy that we are taking into account. There's consent and we've we are, we are consenting to this, whether we realize it or not, by clicking on the cookies and the other car and there's already this is happening in every aspect of our life, and so you know you are being you know this, this is happening. I mean you can certainly go in and unhooked from the Internet and and you know, do a lot of extra work to do this, but at the end of the day, if you really want to be able to take advantage of the Amazon recommendations, this is part of it. And so so I think that, you know, educating everyone and helping everybody understand that this is a part of our live, this is a part of the way that e commerce works, this is the part of the way the Internet works, and we can either bury our heads in the sand and keep doing the way the marketing that we've been doing the same way, or we can lean into it, educate ourselves, understand what it is, partner with trusted resources and really make a difference in the way that we're impact in the world with our missions of extending higher education to those who are looking for it. And so I really part of it. I guess I'm just kind of making a statement. It's probably not a very good interviewer technique, just the idea of being able to say, you know, would you agree with that? Roosevelt, the idea that you know, we've got to we've got to educate ourselves and educate within higher education what this is really all about. Absolutely that that is purely the focus point of understanding. You know how to utilize this data every day and...

...that's always been the challenge. We can provide the best data formula in the best data profile out there, in my opinion, and and just about a real time basis for for any you know, you know Higher Ed, but you know it's all about how you actionably use that information and you know I we have create a partnerships with with other companies to give you a road map and and to give you that that that modeling, you know, guidance and on how to use the data effectively so that you get the maximum result and that you not only do you gain access to your website traffic and you now you're understanding who these people are and what they're doing and why they're doing this on the website, but you're building a relationship. You know your you really step away from a pure transactional model and you become a relationship model based solution. And you know, proof is in the pudding with years of recommended studies are out there. The more relationship cure you create with any sort of consumer prospect, the more they're going to do with you. And and whether that's, you know, subscribing to your platform or, you know, spending more money with the monthly subscription, it goes hand in hand. That's great, and I I love the fact too, that it's I mean, at the end of the day, it comes down to business tell business intelligence. It's great. How smart will we be with the information that we have accessible to ourselves? And I'll be honest with you, hired marketing does this every day already. I mean we have campus visits. We have people sign up for campus visits. As soon as they sign up, we look in the database and see who they are. Oh Look, they mom and dad went here to so they're a legacy student. So I know that and I'm going to I'm going to talk about that when we're on the tour. Oh look, they said that they're interested in psychology. Well, I'm going to take them by the psychology department. I'm going to introduce them to Dr Jones, because he's a great, dynamic speaker. So I'm using another piece of data that I know about them and I'm going to market to them and then I'm also going to make sure that the student guide I see that they're from Ohio. So I'm going to pull one of my students who's in the office, the one from Ohio. I'm going to say, why don't you take them, because I know that you might be able to connect with them and build that relationship. And so I think that what we need to understand as high end marketing is you're already doing this. You already doing this in other aspects of the enrollment and the development cycle. I mean, I know development utilizes tools like razors edge and you can do a study to say what's the proclivity of somebody giving a large gift, and you can do that data research. You're already doing that as a school. So do not be afraid of something that's a little new and a little different. Thank you, Bart Roosevelt. As we wind up our episode, what advice would you give a marketer, either an overall marketing executive at an institution or maybe an enrollment leader? Their first step, if they're intrigued, how could they utilize big data or what would be the first thing that you would recommend them doing. I think, you know, the best recommendation is to develop a action plan of how you intend on using that data. That can be through a series of marketing channels, that can be a marketing plan put together with several of your colleagues. But you know, I think the common thing that we see most often, and this is with calls that I have on a daily basis, it's okay, you know, we get this common quote. Your data is awesome, but how do we use it? And so I think it's truly the missing piece to this puzzle is, okay, how do we plan to utilize this information? And there are organizations that are out there that can help you plan to use big data every day and and for it to be highly effective. And you know, I think that is that is truly the best advice that I could give to any marketing executive or anyone in so in it, in anyone within a roll of marketing in the Higher d space, is to put together a really effective plan before you buy a bunch of data. Thank you, Roosevelt, and I will also add that Barts Organization, Roosevelt's organization, or...

...think patent died, who I work for all offer something similar and we all would love to help anyone take that first step or develop that action plan. But if you wanted to talk to Roosevelt, Roosevelt, what would be the best ways someone could reach out in contact you? Yeah, I think the best way, you know, you can reach us on our website, probably the most effective way. You know, I'm carbon copy on just about every reach out portal there, or you'll feel free to email me directly. He It's our Smith at Web Datacom, and the same thing for our support team as well, support at e Web Datacom. We're more than happy to talk and to you know, research and help you develop a plan. That's our goal. We necessarily don't want to sell you data if you're not ready to use it, and so you know, ultimately we're looking to build a relationship and to leverage that relationship for better results. Thank you, Roosevelt. Thank you for helping us get this message out. This is a topic that both Bart and I feel that institutions should leverage more. So thank you for enabling us to get that message out there. But do you have any closing comments for us? Yeah, just a very brief one. I think that this is one of those things that it's new and a lot of times new and change is difficult. I remember when we first started utilizing the ad people are like, Oh, I don't know about that thing, we don't I don't know if we want to ever do anything with that. Well, it's going to be a part of our lives and so I would just encourage everyone to really take a take a hard look at it. You know, reach out to Roosevelt, reach out to troy or myself and have some conversations and just learn more about it. You can certainly do some research online and and educate yourself, but I think it's one of those things. It's going to be a marketing tool that is going to continue to grow and it's something that, whether you use it right now, you at least need to be aware of it. Thank you, Bart. That brings us to the end of another episode of the High Ed Marketer Podcast, which is sponsored by Taylor solutions in education marketing and branding agency and by think patent did, a marketing execution company specializing in printing, mailing and other services for higher ed institutions. On behalf of my cohost Bart Kaylor. My name is troy singer. Thank you for joining us. You've been listening to the Higher Ed Marketer. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you're listening with apple PODCASTS, we'd love for you to leave a quick rating of the show. Simply tap the number of stars you think the podcast deserves. Until next time,.

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