The Higher Ed Marketer
The Higher Ed Marketer

Episode 10 · 5 months ago

Messaging for the Individual: How Data Can Help You Create Engaging Stories (Part 2)


How do we help uncover and explain the most informative and persuasive information to prospective students?

How do we tell stories that get them excited about education?

We start by finding and utilizing data, analyzing that data, and then creating segmented marketing messages that will move the needle.

In part two of a two-part series, Bart Caylor, President & Founder at Caylor Solutions Inc, and Troy Singer, Senior Account Executive at Think Patented chat with Christine Harper, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management at the University of Kentucky, and Julie Balog, Chief Marketing Officer at the University of Kentucky about:

- How to utilize data to drive segmentation in messaging.

- How to engage undecided students using data.

- The difference between innovation and ingenuity.

- How the University of Kentucky is helping communities.

Know of a higher education marketing change agent you’d like to hear on the show? Does your university have an interesting story to be featured? Connect with Bart Caylor or Troy Singer. If you’re not on LinkedIn, check the Caylor Solutions or Think Patented websites instead!

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

You were listening to the Higher EdMarketer, a podcast geared towards marketing professionals in highereducation. This show will tackle all sorts of questions related to studentrecruitment, donut relations, marketing, trans new technologies and so much more.If you are looking for conversations centered around where the industry isgoing, this podcast is for you, let's get into the show, welcome to the Higerad Marketer podcast,where weekly we explore ideas and insights of marketers that we admire inthe higher red community. My name is troy singer and I'm with my cohost BarkCaylor. This week we are continuing on conversation with Julie, Baylog, ChiefMarketing Officer for the University of Kentucky and Christine Harper associaeadvice, president of enromant management at the University ofKentucky. Let's jump back into the conversation Julieand Christine thanks forcontinuing the conversation now we know that both of you are big believers inutilizing data to drive, secmentation your messaging and outreach. SoChristine. Maybe you can start us off by explaining the trends that you'veseen in utilizing, and I believe you may have a few examples like how youregard or approach undecided students, sure yeah. So I love data. I think wetalked to the first episode about the art and the science of the work that wedo so I love a good graphic and great content, but I love data that drives itin my role. I look at data weekly daily. You know I take a sice of the pool eachweek and really look and dive into our freshman. I look in our transfer seeingwhat trends we have on a daily basis. I'm checking our numbers, but alsolooking at things that I get from Julie's team on open rates. So we cansee how some of the communications have been. You know picked up and received.I mean how the pool is shaping up, but you know when I have time which, whichis few and far between, I really like to dive in deep and so just this winterbreak. I was diving into a lot of data, looking a lot at our prospect, pulldown to socmores and juniors and then was really taking a look at our senior prospects,as well as our students that had been admitted or in the process that hadapplied and noticed that we had seen a substantial uptick in studentssupplying in certain areas and that there was definitely a trend that covidhad impacted an influence, but one of the areas of growth was Aur, undecidedor exploring students. So that does change throughout the cycle anddepending upon what institution you're at may go up and down and for us itjust seemed like it was much larger and for a university like UK, we have lotsof options for students, but how do you help explain that when somebody iscoming in, they want the experience but they're, not sure, and so over thebreak. I painge Julie and Katie and said you know I'm seeing some things inthe data. I really feel like you know. This is an opportunity for us toconvert some of our prospect, share some information and then for ouradmitted students that were exploring share a little bit about why theyshould choose UK because they could do an undecided, major, exploring at anyuniversity and so reached out to colleagues and our stuck a careercenter and some of our colleges that also have exploration, programs andsurface some information and said: okay, okay, Katie, here's! Here's! What Ihave here's information I've surface now, can you can you get it intosomething for our incoming freshman and, as she typically does, takes all ofthese data points and information? That's pulled off websites and reportsand and comes up with something great, but I think you know being able torespond to what you're seeing in the data is important. You know you canhave a tone and a tenor for the. What what you want for a student from whenthey're a prospect or even a sophomore junior than a prospect in the senioryear, application and admit and have all of that set together, but if you'renot responding to what you're, seeing in the data, you're really missingopportunities opportunities to help informed educate the students about why.I do firmly believe that there's an...

...institution out there for any studentand that the student success is on the fit, and so how do we help explain anduncover some of these things? So they can say? Oh well. Actually this doessound like a place where I can see myself being successful, and here aresome things they're sharing with me early on in the process. So so that wasjust something you know w en t en one example of something that was datedinformed through the cycle. I like to say you know in some of my otherprevious experiences. I had access to a lot of data, but I was data rich andanalysis poor and I think the collaboration that Christinan I have isthat together we're able to take that data and really make it actionable anduse it as a as a roadmap of how to really impact change. It doesn't matterhow much data you have if you don't know how to look at it, make sense ofit and then turn it into something useful and I think that's a. She leadsus very well in that way and and then, once once we understand okay, this iswhat it's telling us. Then we know how to work with it in and make it make itmore useful. It's great. I know that when we talkedon our pre interview conversation, you were not trying to make commercialshere, but you know you're utilizing some some really sophisticated crms anda lot of the a lot of the listeners and marketers that are listening to thepodcast. I mean they are probably utilizing either sales force or slate-I mean you guys- are using both of those and certainly there's a lot ofother crms out there. You know some of the smaller schools might be findingother ones, but I think the important thing that you both just mentioned wasthat finding and utilizing the data that you can gather from those systemsas well as if there are other analytic systems, whether it's open rates onyour mail, whether it's social media Rois, maybe it's you know, keypperformance indicators and Google and lynics E, so many places that we canstart to gather the data. But if you know to Julie to your point, if, ifyour data rich but you're, not analyzing you're, not doing anythingwith it, you're not creating that into segmented, Mar marketing messages thatcan move the needle for that particular group. I think that's so important, andI know that even even Christin I know we had earlier conversations about. Youknow the the idea of how to segment it either for the first gens or segmentingit for siblings, of current students. I mean there's, there's so many differentways to segment that data once you have it and be able to nurture and massagethose messages a little bit better to make it more effective yeah. We reallyhave to have our ear to the ground, and so I in my in my side, I've got thatgoing on and then Julie has hers. Also. So, where I'm pulling is I'm looking atinformation? That's coming out of common application of what are theyseeing and what does that mean? And I think that, because that's one of thelarger sources again we're not doing any kind of we've a couple differentsources we use, but but they do a nice job of putting out information and asone of the larger application sources were the first to pick up some thingsthat you're, seeing in the national media about facifiling, rigts beingdown for seniors and low income students and and First Gen students inKentucky as a state. You know we have a huge commitment of the Commonwealth andwe know that we have a large portion of our populations, low income and so thispandemic has. This? Isn't surprising right, there was information in thespring of the senior year which students, if you looked at thepopulation and total most seniors, were worried about missing those end of theyear events. But when you segmented that data and looked at low and compeleligible students or looked at students of color or looked at students thatwere first sed, their concerns were very different. Can I afford to go toschool? Am I going to graduate so that's you know. We talked at the endof the cycle last year with the pandemic, with populations of they needa different message, because they're feeling something differently and thesame thing. Now recently, as we've come to some of that data, you know Julieand I were looking at it and say: okay, we have an issue with First Shat and wehave you know we are down and some of the a lot of the activities havningright at the deadline, but we can't...

...wait for the deadline to hit and seewhere we're going to be. So how are we going to inform some of this and soJulie and I talked, and we got a big again another broad table. We have ourfirst Gen Office of First Gen initiatives. U that Servis, not onlyincoming students, our pespective students, as well as our currentstudents, members of different colleges, marketing team and members of theenrolment management team, both financial aid and undergraduatedmissions to really talk about. How do we target this at different segments inthe population and and Julies seem really? I mean Katie then startedworking with partners that could support. So I kind of put the tabletogether. Juli and I put the table together said: here's the problem.Here's the data and Julioe want to take it from theiris as we're moving forwardand some of the things we're doing sure sure. So what we did is, for instance,we've created an oped, a joint up ed with some of our other universitiesacross the state and so we're publishing those with other universitypresent. Presidents from our president, we also are creating some social mediaassets and we are going to push those out and then working with our there's,a person on Jame flant, Ond staff, Mark Wit, who specializes in media pitching and he's going to helpus by reaching out to smalltown newspapers, radio stations, TB stationsacross the state to really share. Listen, we lieve college is possible for you, but it hasto start with filling out your fastbu and at the end of the day, this is oneof those things where I like to Siy were the university for Kentucky, notjust the University of Kentucky, because at the end of the day we justwant the students to understand that going to college can betransformational for them and and if they don't come to UK, that's okay.They just need to find this place where they can get. That transformationalexperience. So many of the people in Kentucky you know Wy. The college isnot always as easy for them as it might be in some other states, and so I thinkwe both feell pretty passionately about that because we know I'm. I said it inthe first episode, I'm an example of that you know my father had a sixthgrade education and the fact that I was able to go to college ind. Thisliterally transformed in my life to me it's admission and I think for a lot ofour students. We serve a broad array, but I go back to you can come here andyou can do anything and we've got the most amazing raparound services forthese students and we don't. We don't do things for themthat we we create ways for them to be successful, and- and you know, I e WontBelaver this too much. But to me this is an important distinction. A lot ofpeople like to say, they're, innovative and innovation is a good word, exceptfor innovation, usually can be hunded. Ore Bought Apple is innovative becausethey have a whole lot of money. Well, you are T U K. is we've got ingenuitybecause with ingenuity, that's what you get when you're, smart and you'reclever, and you look at the resources you have and you figure out. How do youmake the most of them could be successful, and so I always I like tomake that that distinction. I think that there's a lot of ingenuity thathappens here, but in that probably is a good way to describe the relationshipbetween Christine and mean Ar Teans. It's a lot of ingenuity. It's a lot ofrole of your sleaves. It's a lot tof get it done, we're not spending a wholelot more money than other people, we're just trying to be really smart abouthow we do it yeah and Julie. I would add that that passion too I mean wereally do, and you probably can hear it come through we're concerned aboutstudents across the board. We hope they land somewhere. I think the pandemichas just made some of the more vulnerable populations, even more sowith Internet access. You know lack of that S. I know some students that arenontraditional instruction in high school and they're working a fulltimejob and then catching up at night,...

...because that's what they need to doright now, and so that ingenuity is really critical and then the passion. Ithink that a lot of us bring because that really it really does seep throughit. We are committed to ind. So, yes, we have growth goals and and we'redoing all those things to get that happen. But I to am somebody whoultimately, like I said fit, is important and if you have an impact inhelping students find that right choice, sometimes it may not be us, but thenmay be us later and so that authenticity and that ability to try toraise everybody up you're going to be successful. If that's the approach thatyou take that's great and I know I really appreciate what you've talkedabout with e ingenuity, because I mean, as I mentioned to you, you know in ouron our previous conversations. A lot of the audience of the hihered marketer isour schools of all sizes. I mean we've got. You know schools, the size of UKall the way down to schools that have you know fifty or hundred students, andbut I think that the ingenuity you know- because I can hear people saying well-but it would be great- to have slave it'd- be great to have that kind ofbudget to be able to do that type of thing. But the data that you get youcan ask students about that. Take in that data and then it's and then youcan start analyzing and you can start segmenting based on what you're askingpeople. So it's not the fact that you guys just have all these extraresources it's the injinvity of. If I need that data, I need to figure outhow to get that Datea and sometimes you have to ask for it. So I love that andJulie also love the fact that Yeu kind of talked about the raparound serviceswith that UK has for these different groups that are going to be thatmission fit for for the university, and I nowtroy you've got a couple questionsabout that with with just kind of what those partnerships with the otherdepartments look like. Yes, they both Julie and Christine, talked about thededication to the Commonwealth, and I wanted to ask a little bit about thecommunity involvement and the partnerships that are with outsideagencies. Jule. Could you tell everyone a little bit about the partnership thatyou have with the College of Agriculture and how you reaching outinto the counties and helping out the Commonwealth with that partnership?Sure Kentucky is one of those states that has many many counties. Weactually have a hundred and twenty counties in each of those one hundredand fwenty counties. The College of Agriculture has an AGextension agent and they are a university employee and we have greatcollaboration with them in a lot of ways: theyare often opinion leaders intheir communities and so forinsanse. When I was down at UK health care, wepartnered with them initially to get population health information out so,for instance, diabetes, information or Healthy Hart Information, and so theybecame a hub that we could use to push out information and theydevoured it. They loved it and shared it, and so we're kind of applying someof that same model here. So when of- and I love that the college ofagg isjust game for anything. So Christine had this really good idea last lastsummer, and so it was this idea of adulting oneon one where we would teach life skills to high schoolers and I'l. LetChristine tell the story, but yeah, we pitched it an boy. Did it take off yep yeah mostit was almost too successful. Yes, it was. It was a quick turnaround. I meanit. The Pandemic Co justint right where just we were talking through the Sprinwere like okay. Well, you know we need to get our students in here. What canwe do? What could be helpful and so joliand? I went to to cafe our collegebag environmental science and they basically were like Oh yeah, we're onboard. We've got all these extension agents. They're looking for things todo, they've got other things, but this would be great so put these modulestogether in this course, and we had over five hundred and sixty plusstudents sign up in a very short period of time. You know the marketing was great, the studentsloved it... came back to us the college bagand said Hey: can we do it again this year? So when you have a partner,that's coming back and saying this is good. How do we enhance it? You know,and what else could we do and we've talked about ourther other swets ofthings that we could offer, because you know that was pretty small lift I meanand they're engaged. So we've worked with the Dean to this year. Much likewe did previous years with our alumni association to kind of help them be outthere. We're not working with all the extension agencies, particularly westarted this before, but it's it was very timely. We started in the fall andthen, as we saw the fascifiling information, those extension agents inthe counties, particularly at a time where the students are not as easy tosee in a high school or you know, access they are readily accessible. Sowe have now already trained our extension officers on admissions andall of that and we can push out. We are having students that are havingchallenges Vassa and the high school counselors, maybe having troubleconnecting with some of these students. If you see them, can you hit this andmake sure that you know they know, there's a resource and point e and youmay not have all the answers, but you can point them in the right directionand we'll get him what they need. So those collaborations really arefantastic and it happens in multiple different ways. Julie, I mean Iremember you calling me on a Saturday morning, maybe and said: Hey we'regoing to do a vaccination clinic in about a week yeah. So what o? What do we sin? Wa? You knowfrom it an like. Well, you know, and we were doing all the educators right andwe both were like up college oit. They've got some great continuingeducation. They've got some great masters. Programs Theyre mostly online.That's a doctoral program, I'm in, but it just continues to go from there as Italke about hitting on all cylinders and Julie. Just like pitches me in themorning, I'm like Yep there's something here. What are I going to do yeah andI'm happy to report that the web engagement around the Graduate Programfor the College of EAD and teachers is up? Ten percent and I'd like to thinkthat it has something to do with the fact that we activated and ourvaccine clinic when we were vaccinating ka through to ove educator, so can'ttake all the credit, but those are the kinds of moments that you have to benimble and that's another word whe Uve, like you got to be Nimble and if youkind of already have some of these things in motion, it's easier to implement them if you're not startingfrom scratch. Yeah. That's wonderful. I love that idea of all these differentthings going on with the partnerships but trying to make sure you're livingout the brand being nimble enough, and you know going forward with ingenuityso that you can say how can we take advantage of we're going to be in thein the community we're going to be providing mobile clinics for vaccinesor we're going to be providing? You know, AG extension offices. How can weactivate that for ign rolment? How can we activate that for the for the forthe good of the community, because I mean to your point in Julie and- andyou know, Troy and I both our first generation students as well- The ideathat, if we can impact those first gen students, even if they're you know,fourth graders- that are standing in line with their parents, for thevaccines or with grandma and GRANDPA they're. Getting an idea and theimpression of what UK is all about their living out that brand theireunderstanding that Oh wow, I have an opportunity to be a part of this in thefuture. I just think that's amazing, and I think that you know job well doneto the both of you to not only serving the community, but also you know,activating the community as as part of that. So I think that's, I think,that's great. Thank you. We inte share this. This is this is new, but thisjust this past week, because our clinic our vaccine clinic at Kurgerfield. Thisis seffarate from our Mobil clinics that we're taking out our clinic is doubling insize pin. Wewe're vaccinating for to fiveusand people a day. It's all volunteer drivenand we need more people, so we created very quickly a program called Kat giveback and we've invited our students to volunteer to go work at the clinic asregistrarers as way finders, two thousand students I signed up and t atjust you know. I use the phrase when I talk about the University of Kentuckystudents we run to not from they like... be part of the solution they like tobe part of it, and I thought that was a great example. I mean students justraised their hand and said Yep. I want to be a part of that. Tell me how I cando it and that's great and right. There is another story that can be packagedand sent to Christine, and you know used as part of the message, which iswonderful, that's great on yeah and Juli's in those meetings Sas, she helpsget the door and right, I'm not in enrolling management, going to be at ameeting about vaccinations, necessarily like maybe ten gentlly. But when wetalk about mobile clinics, a D I said: Hey We'd, love to get out in front ofthese families. I mean when you talk about the different areas that we'regoing to first Gen. you know access to healthcare in particular and withmulnerabl populations is important and to your point of of educating andfourth grader we've gone out and done some some work just to say hey. Did youknow that these health care careers are available to you? You may not see aphysical therapist in your community, but this is what one does and for someyoung child that may be the. This is something I can do and I can be-and I can and UK brought it to me. You know, and so those are really greatthings and we're pleased, because Julie's in that room that she reachesout, and so when the mobile clinics go back for the second shot, they'll primecome we're going to have some SOMTASTA information sessions, we're going tohave information. So if you have students or children, t that you'd likethat information shared with or you would like it yourself will have peoplethere poison ready to go. So it really is we're very fortunate to be set up the way that we are andhave such great collaborative efforts going on. That's great, that's great,troy, as we near the end of the episode I'd like to ask each of you. If youhave a relevant idea, trend or nugget that you could share that others canuse right away. What would that be? My nugget would be. It would be tounderstand the journey that, in this particular case, the student IV on intoassess that journey, because again marketing is where can I most influencethem at the time they're making their decision. So one of the things thatChristine's tame and I dead- We did this right. When I first started, wemapped the entire journey we looked at. How are we communicating with an email,postcard things like that, and then we assessed we realized in some areas. Wewere extremely heavy, probably to the point of oversaturating, but then welooked through the rest of the sycond. We realized there ere some times thatwere probably undercommunicating, so we tried to together. Our teams figuredout okay, let's look at this cadence, but then in another phrase that I liketo use lot is intellectual honesty. We were really intellectually honest withourselves of is what we're saying really relevant. Is it authentic visitlive our brand or we just to see a sameness, and so we spent some time re.I mean that was a that was a laborious exercise, but it was also an Ahammoment, and you know what you can do that if your budget is zero, you cansit down and you can map that journey and understand what are you sayingbecause it's always the right message to the right person at the right time. Thank you, Christine Yeah. For myperspective, I would say you know if you're sitting in Myrolls, Chefin Romanofficer find your chief marketing officer and get really close and andconnect. I think that it's really important to have strong relationships,but my big piece is that I think that education across pollination iscritically important, so the more that you can share and cross pollinate sohaving your marketing people in your enrolmant management meetings.Occasionally last year I was in the huddle with Julie's team. Myunderstanding of the work that their team is doing. I can now share with ourit team. That's working on a problem, so Julie doesn't have to be there untilwe get to a certain level, but by doing that and crosspollinating and educatingeveryone, Katie Bet et HOS on on her team is like well, you know what thisidea came from this meeting that we had and she understands tha work, we'redoing it. I understand the work they're...

...doing, and so it really helps you getfurther faster, and so, if there's anything, I would say is really got apartner tight, but you also have to make sure that you're providing in theinformation and you're listening and that you're, using that to inform thedecisions you're making moving forward. Thank you Christine and thank you dulie.Thank you both for your time and being part of our first two episodeexperiment. I think Bart would agree that it has gone extremely well. Soagain, thank you for joining us on the highered marketer and for ourcommercial. The higherid market podcast is sponsored by CAVA solutions ineducation, marketing branding agency and by thing Patenten, a marketingexecution, printing and mailing provider of Hirat Solutions. On behalfof my partner in creation, Bard Cayler, I'm troy singer. Thank you for doing n.This you've been listening to the Higher EdMarketer to ensure that you never miss an episode subscribe to the show inyour favourite podcast player. If you ere, listening with Apple Podcast, we'dlove for you to leave a quick rating of the show, simply tap the number ofstars. You think the PODCAST deserves until next time.

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