The Higher Ed Marketer
The Higher Ed Marketer

Episode 11 · 5 months ago

Show, Don’t Tell: The Power of Video in Higher Ed Marketing

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Small to medium sized colleges, a lot of them private, all experience the challenge of trying to differentiate from public and other private schools.

This challenge makes it even more critical for colleges to align their marketing in a way that can impact the major driver of institutional revenue and growth: enrollment.

In this episode of The Higher Ed Marketer, Bart Caylor, President & Founder at Caylor Solutions Inc, and Troy Singer, Senior Account Executive at Think Patented, chat with Suzanne Petrusch, Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing at Presbyterian College about:

- How the Central Marketing Organization came about.

- The people you need on your higher ed marketing team.

- How to use video in your admissions marketing.

- How COVID changed higher ed marketing, and strategies for 2021.

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 student,recraitment, donut relations, marketing, trans new technologies and so much more.If you are looking for conversation centered around where the industry isgoing, this podcast is for you, let's get into the show, welcome to the highred marketer podcast,where each week we explore ideas and insights with marketers in higher redthat we admire. My name is troy singer, and I am one of the two hosts of thisshow. My cohost is Bard, Caylor and Bart. I was thinking that I don'tacknowledge this enough, but you're working with colleges and universitieswith their marketing epartnents every day. So if you would, please give us aday or two in the life of Bark Caylor. That's happened over the past week.Well, thanks troy. I appreciate that and it's been a pleasure working withyou on this podcast. I think for for me this week and I'm trying to kind of manage this. Iend up having a lot of a lot of zoom meetings and I'm I be honest with I'mgetting a little zoom fatigue, but it's a it's a pleasure and an honor to beable to build relationship with a lot of the colleges and have them justreach out and say: Hey we've got this idea that we'd like to talk with youabout or hey we've had some challenges with the way that we're doing something.I had a conversation today with him with a client. That's been utilizingfirm for for digital marketing and we've done some digital marketing. Imean. Certainly we work with different different schools in different ways,but they were just curious about how we might handle something. So it's just amatter of helping and kind of navigating as a partner with thesedifferent folks to just be able to help. You know help them figure out the bestway to do their own highered marketing and sometimes that's US helping andcoming alongside some. Sometimes it says giving some ideas of you know hey.You ought to look into this or look...

...into these other things and I thinkthat's part of what will talk a little bit with Suzanndaday about thanks Bart,and you know it's not a secret that I admire the work that you do as I get tosee a lot of it as I execute it with print mail and some of the strategythat you put forth, and I thought it was good to try to spotlight it now asyou as you talked about Suzanne I'll turn, the spotlikt to her. Today'sguest is Suzan Patruche she's, the vice president for enrollment in marketingthat Presbyterian College in South Carolina an I know of her because ofher Dayton roots or she's done work here with the University of Dayton andnow she's. Doing dynamic work at Presbyterian and as Bart knows forschool, is a typical school that both of our companies work with. So wethought it would be good to highlight her and have some of the people that wework with listen on how she's doing dynamic things at Presbyterian. That'sgreat! I'm excited to hear this conversation. So, let's get startedwell, let's bring Suzanne in today's guest is Suzanne Patruche. VicePresident for enrollment in marketing that Presbyterian College, she iswelcomed into the hihered marketing podcast. Thank you Suzanne for joiningus. Thank you. So much troy am Bart. I am very excited to be here with youthis afternoon. The reason why I reached out to you is the size ofPresbyterian College. It's a typical college that both barts organizationand my organization work with, and we felt it would be useful to just kind oflook into your organization. I hear it's a high functioning organizationand see how your current marketing department work. So, if you would, ifyou could first give us a glinse of your role and Presbyterian College, Icame to Presbyterian College in two thousand and sixteen and for Albout amonth and a half observed as the vice...

...president for enrollment and marketingand at this institution. That means the offices that are included in theportfolio ar undergraduate admission financial aid and we serveundergraduate as well as our graduate students and financial aid and thenmarketing and communications. We have the central office, and I know thattoday, we're also going to talk about the specific enrollment marketingfunction. So PC is a very small institution. We have almost thirteenhundred total students, approximately a thousand of whom are undergranduates,and so we are the smallest division, one school with a football program inthe whole country. That makes us stand out in a different way, but it alsoputs some challenges in front of us. We're very much focused on the liberalarts, the personal attention delivered by the faculty, the student experience,so all of those things that one would be thinking about when looking at amarketing marketing program within a liberal, ARTF education, but also, thenraising the questions of how do we differentiate PC in the marketplace?How do we stand out to prospective students when we are a very smallplayer in a market in specially in South Carolina that tends to bedominated by two state flagship institutions and a number of regionalpublics? That's great! I think it's interesting is as kind of what youtalked about, because I think you're right N, a lot of folks that we knoware kind of in the same place that you are small to medium size colleges, alot of them private, like you, are and trying to differentiate, not only fromthe publics but also differentiate from the other privates, I think, ischallenging. And I kind of you know, as you were kind of doing, thatintroduction heard you talk a little bit about thes Central MarketingOrganization and how critical it is to kind of a line because you're such asmall school, how critical and...

...necessary it becomes to align all ofyour marketing in a way that can really impact the major driver ofinstitutional revenue and growth is enrollmment. So tell us a little bitabout that Central Marketing Organization, how it came about and howthat's going it had, as I understand, reported to enrolment at one point intime and went through a move that, I would say, is fairly common and wassituated in advancement, and we made that shift again in two thousand andsixteen so that I would have the opportunity to take a look at centralmarketing and how it really fits within the context of all of the needs of theinstitution. With really only two primary sources of revenue, enrollmentand fund raising were not the type of institution that has a significantnumber of alternative revenue streams and when I took it on, we had fourtotal positions in that office, one of which was empty. So I had threepeople very dedicated to the institution, but trying to do atremendous amount of work with not much in the way of resources. And so one ofthe big questions we had to begin to tackle was how were we going to expandthat office's capacity? At a time when we were writing a strategic plan andfinding that one of the accepted pillars of the strategic planwould be sharing our story, so I always just cringe a little bit when I hearsomeone say this, but that idea of the best kept secret and truly it hasn'tmattered, the size of the institution where I've been or the relative marketposition. It's always talked about in the best kept secret, and I recentlyheard a candidate for a position on campus talking about his currentinstitution as the best kept secret.

So whether that was the actuality ornot wou had to try to fight against that, and in many ways that meantproducing sufficient collateral in all forms and being able to tell storiesthat would resonate with various audiences from pespective students andtheir parents to other influencers. In that college choice process through twocurrent students and their parents, because we have to remarket theinstitution to them every day. We can't simply assume that they've been rolledand therefore they're, going to have one hundred percent satisfaction soreminders of why they chose this institution and what it means to bepart of this community are so important to them, but then, of course,continuing on through that student to alumni lifespan spectrum, making surethat we have alumni and other friends of the institution foundations, all ofwhich see value in supporting the type of work. That's happening here, so thatthey're going to contribute to the institution financially and make futurelearning possible for students great, and so how big is your team right now?He said kind of when you got there was it was three: Where are you at now?When I arrived, it was three, but there were four positions as part of thestrategic plan process. The then president made a financial commitmentto expand the size of that marketing team, and so we actually grew by fiftypercent at our high in the Central Marketing Office. We had a total of sixindividuals working there. Now, during the pandemic, we were looking very carefully at costconsiderations for the institution and so through atrition moved to a total offive individuals and we're currently in...

...a state of flux which we might mightdiscuss in a little bit, but that Central Marketing Office at is high,had six individuals serving a variety of stakeholders on campus, with thebiggest outside of our area being advancement, but certainly campuslife's academic affairs, the President's office everywhere. You lookon campus and then also partnering carefully with our colleagues inathletics, but there's such demand in theadmission office. I will also share with you that we have now two peoplewho are dedicated solely to enrolment marketing and I would love to be ableto continue that line of the conversation with you yeah and we'llget into that. I J want to clarify just a couple things, because I know that alot of times I have a lot of my clients. Ask Me: Well, you know: Hey we'recollege, we're small we've got thirteen hundred students. We've got whatever itmight be. What do other schools have? I mean? Do they have like a graphicdesigner? Do they have a writer? What how does that marketing team made up of?Are they investing in social media? People? Tell me about this, these fiveor six people that you've had plus the two additional ones that will get toabout the pod okay. So if we look at the structure and keep it at the six,we have the executive director of marketing and communications, and then three people reporting to that director.We've gone through some various iterations of this, but will focusright there for now, so that we have a director of digital marketing, adirector of media relations and then a graphic designer formally a director ofcreative services, the other two people have been situated under digitalmarketing so that we would have a digital marketing specialist, whoseprimary responsibilities focused on...

...social media. That can take up such anenormous amount of time, and it's not just a matter of going out andcapturing. What's happening that day, it really needs to be a strategicplanful exercise so that we have a full editorial calendar with it. But we alsocan be agl enough to be able to pick up of themoment happening, Zon campus, so that we don't miss those things. So theDigital Marketing Director had primary oversight of that whole area withspecial focus on the web and then the team member working with her social media, but certainly assistingwith other things, including Dava, analytics in looking at our efficacy. In all of these efforts,and then the director of media relations had the content writer, whichwas one of our added positions, so that we could develop more stories toprocess quickly and to make sure that we were pushing those through thewebsite and other venues. But you had mentioned the magazine in an earlierconversation thinking about the types of indepth stories that we would wantto share in the magazine as well, and we actually keep those two people sobusy. We could go with more people, writing for the institution, and sowe've been pulling in alumni writers, faculty writers who want to makecontributions. It's really one of those opportunities that we want to harnessthe talents of others, so that we can continue to tell those stories of theinstitution. Thank you for sharing that because Ilike, I said I think that sometimes there's people who say well, I guess weneed a webmaster. We need a graphic designer. We need a rider Wen ne eed, avideo person we need, I mean they can go through and segment every piece ofdigital marketing, every piece of regular marketing and feel like. Ican't do that because I don't have a dedicated person, but it sounds like alot of a lot of the philosophy at pc is...

...to be a little bit more of you know wewear a lot of different hats. We take responsibilities for what we're doingand we leagn into what we're doing, as opposed to you know, trying to be justso specialized that we can't reach across the aisle and help out. I thinkthat's a fair characterization. Yes right, we talked a little bit. You kindof were talking that you wanted to talk a little bit more about this embeddedgroup within your admissions team, and I understand that you're kind ofcalling that the satellite marketing pod l tell us a little bit about thatEl. It really came out of my own experience and other institutions, andI think I've been pretty fortunate to always have a dedicated, enrollmentmarketing team and in fact that was my own pathway. While I started as anadmission counfelflor and moved up through several levels, I didn't becomea director of admission. I became a director of and the term used at thetime with operations, but really encompassed marketing and all of therelated areas, and so it sits very close to my heart and my own interest,and I was able to use that to propel myself into other leadership roles.then. So I love the area. It really buildseverything together for me, but in coming to Presbyterian College, I waswatching what people in the admission team were actually doing and what theirstrengths were, and so someone who was with us was titled As an Associate Director ofadmission studied at Presbyterian College had adegree in English was tremendously gifted and creative in the area ofwriting, and so he was doing a large part of this. I thought let's recognize,that in a specific way, we don't have to stay with this title of AssociateDirector of admission. He has an opportunity for advancement by beinggiven a director title and let's make...

...sure that we're really drawingattention to the the skill set and knowledge face that he has withenrollment marketing. So he was the first person already physicallyembedded in the office of admission, having been a member of the team for along time, so understanding the daily work and where some of the challengesare and opportunities and working with pespective students and their familiesand and councellors and other audiences and the volume of work was increasingsignificantly and if you'd like. I can touch on why. That was the point wherehe send to me. The other year really need another team member. I could use agraphic designer, and so we were able to fight for and add that position. Butin hindsight that title was very limited and knowing what I know now, Iwould have started with a title along the lines of Assistant Director ofenrolment marketing, rather than graphic designer that doesn't begin to really cover what this person'sresponsibilities are within yeah and water. Some of those responsibilities,because I mean I know that you've talked about in our earlierconversations using video for a lot of outreach during the pandemic. But isthat is that kind of what kind of came out of those those two embedded folks? They working together have done a lotof the video and I will tell you that that is not their background. Sosomeone in our central marketing team did study at the undergraduate andgradulent levels, video production and we have been able to use his skills forall types of other videos on campus. But in the admission video world wehave partnered with a local provider in order to help us capture footage oncampus and edited with a...

...somewhat tongue, inchique view in manycases of the admission process. So we are the Blue Hose N. I didn'tmention that when I was telling you a little bit about pc, but it is the name by which our athletic teamsare known, and we have appropriated that to include all students at theinstitution so that as we're describing that traditional liberal artsenvironment, what's this memorable piece that we can use and actuallyextrapolate from their what it means to see yourself on a path that might bedifferent than what most of your friends are going to be doing in thenext year, and we also know that the admissionprocess is highly stressful. So if we can have some fun during this stilltaking care of making sure they know the key points of how they'll benefitfrom coming to this institution, but to make it fun and enjoyable and toprovide an experience, that's going to be memorable. We want to do that, andso we've tried to make that float into the video as well through much of theediting, script, writing, etc. So it's a combination of the talents of thosetwo people in the admission office working with the actual video skills ofour local provider. That's great! I love how that partnership works out andat's, something that we talk a lot about on some of the blogs and things.So that's that's really good, and I really appreciate the inside and allthat I think it's Om. I think it's interesting to that. Your videos havebeen what I kind of Cla. You know term egertainment. I think that you knowgenerations Z. They want to be entertained as much as they want to belearning and educating. I think that's one of the reasons why Youtube is sucha popular channel for for that particular generation, and so I lovethe fact that you've leaned into that...

...and made made some of those admissions.You know process videos bore a little bit more tongue and Cheekan Educ, youknow entertaining rather than just making them o. This is the process.This is how it's going to be, because that's GOINGNA that's going todifferent iat you by adding an a little bit t at entertainment and from what Iunderstand from my focus before you know, students at home, my children, nw to in college now andto still in high school. They really want to be theynotice and they pay attention to those schools that are entertaining them asmuch as they're. Educating them so appreciate you saying that so Tryn Oyou had a couple questions you wanted to kind of dig into yes, and it wasalong the line of the video. I know that they leaned into it this year andI think one of the reasons why is because of covid so would like to knowif you could describe how that has made a difference in the way that youpromote the school. And do you see some of those changes lasting even afteryou're able to bring prospective students back on campus. So one of thevideos that that we had created before we went through the big change at thistime last year and having to be remote not only in how education was deliveredon campus, but in how we interacted with prespective students and familieswas an offshoot of the old MTV Crims, and so we have Pi crips and it'sbecause you can really feel now. The timeline for the original show fromwhich we so liberally borrowed, because sometimes I'll hear our admission.Counselors asking are visiting students if they're familiar with MTV CRIBS andthey're, not their parents, Lik they're, not arly, but the student we featuredhas such tremendous energy and he in fact recently was a contestant onAmerican idol. So you could imagine the kind of entertainer I'm talking about, he didan incredible job...

...and that actually was able to berepurposed because of course, at this time last year we weren't having onKampas visit we reopened for visits in late August early September, but we arelimited in what we show. So it's not the visit of old, where they're goingin all of the key academic buildings and the dining facilities and theRESIDENC alls. We in fact don't take students in any residence halls rightnow. We want to be particularly respectful of those students who areliving on campus and their health and safety. So, as part of our admissionpresentation, we show this video and it allows people in a fun way to have aglimpse inside some of the residenc halls, whether it's a facility theymight live in right away or something they wouldn't experience, such as ournewest buildings, our apartments until they're, perhaps in their junior orsenior year at the institution. So we don't have to cover as much physicalground and we can also maintain covid protocol when we show that, butcertainly there have been other videos and we intentionally drive students tovideos through other types of communication, so that we're reallylooking at this layer approach and will soon be launching a new platform thatwill allow us in fact track WHO's. Viewing the video so we'll have anopportunity to understand more about the students, viewing habits, whatthings are resonating, how that informs future production, but perhaps moreimportantly, how can our admission counselors take that information and,of course not say to somebody? Well, I know you watched whichever video o livetime. Little creepy a little creepy, yes, too much big brother, but how canthey take that information and begin to shape their conversation with theirstudent about what they know that...

...students interest our points of concernmight be, and we do that, certainly with other things, our digital stats?What are students doing on our website? How long are they staying? How oftenare they visiting certain ages, so it all goes to further inform theconversation and to hopefully make those conversations a much tighter partof that relationship building process, but ultimately results in having astudent come to pc as a future blue house. I love that and I love the factthat you are leaning into those analytics and- and I love the fact that you're tellingus all this because again it goes back to you know a lot of the folks that Iwork with are small schools like yours, almost identical in the thendemographics as far as the size, and you know, under two thousand type, andso many times. I think it's like. Oh we're so small we're not a stateuniversity. We don't have a big department, but I love the fact thatyou are. You know you're still doing a lot of really good things. I mean usualUtilizin, the video utilizing the statistics analyzing. What's going on,you're doing a lot of smart marketing and that's a lot of what I try toencourage folks is to look at how you can be smarter with what you're doing?Yes, we all have limited budgets. Yes, we would all love to get to where wethink we need to be. But what can you do with what you have, and so I thinkyou know, applaud you and your team F R for doing that and doing that. Well, so so tell me a little bit about you know where, where you think it'sgoing to go soon and and what your plans are here for kind of the nextyear or so we I appreciate first, you mentioning that team and I want to usethis opportunity to thank them because I think that's a big part of thesuccess that we have and I could not fit in a room alone and do this withoutthe people u'nfortunate to work with, and so part of this process is makingsure that we build trust so that when they get some creative ideas and wantto take some risks, I can give them the...

...freedom to do that and to have a verygood sense of what those results are going to be. So I think we need tocontinue to be risk. Takers and COLVID has probably changed things permanently.We've been fortunate to be in an environment where we could inviteguests to campus again, but, as I mentioned they're not experiencingeverything that they would have before the pandemic, we were in a great placeto be able to very quickly offer online programming for students from our owninformation sessions to participating in college fares and high school visitsto one on one appointments. We still offer some of those virtualopportunities, but for for our type of institution, we feel strongly that theinperson peace works better and we hope that we'll be able to return to that.But I think that in many ways as institutions have cut travel budgetsand looked at whether or not the big college fairs will return, we're goingto have a blend, probably going forward between that imperson experience and the delivery of virtual experiences forstudents, and we need to find the best ways to allow them to consumeinformation at their own time. So even before the pangemic, we wanted to havenot just a virtual tour but a self guided tour. I think the next piece ofthat you'll see is people who are able to do that with virtual reality goggles,and how does that augment the tour and make it richer so, to the extent thatwe can focus our limited resources on things that are going to tell a richerstory to those students? That's how will fioritize our personnel andfinancial resources? That's great!...

That's Great Susaine! Thank you! Somuch for giving us such an in depth, ins, sinere, looking to what you'redoing and, as part set all along. I think it's going to be helpful for alot of our listeners. Who are wondering are we doing things like others are, oreven creating ideas of some of the things that they can look into andimplement and along that line we end every episode of our podcast by askingour guest? Is there a new idea or something entriting, either you'redoing or something hat? You recently read that you would like to share thatmight be helpfuls for others to implement here in the next thirty tosixty days, othirty to sixty days, nakes it lunching. I have seen so many types types of marketing tactics being looked at forme. I wanted to get a much better understanding of how others areperceiving our brandon, instead of just looking at the aspects of social mediawecancy engaging with a partner for true social listening, I think thatthat piece might be something that schools could look at in a short timeframe to determine how those conversations are taking place. Whatthe depth is and to identify the types of holes they may be missing throughtheir current capabilities to at least else. The question is it worthinvesting with a partner to be able to have a much bigger picture of where weare as an institution in terms of our social presence, so that that would beone thing that would come to mind. It's something that we're engaged in now andI'm anxiously awaiting the results. Yeah- and I just want to add to for thelisteners- is that Susan you're, talking about kiabout kind of theseplatforms, thes listening platforms,...

...which I think are great even as a shortterm- and you might already be doing the Susann- is just going to google anddoing some google alerts so anytime, there's a mention of your name, theschool's name. You know anything that has to do with the school you can putin a something in Google that says anytime. Somebody mentions this sins,send us an email and that's a really good way to at least be able to beaware of, what's being said online about your institution in a way that isbetter than being blind and so Susann. Thank you for mentioning that. Ohyou're, welcome. I appreciate the question and wish we had many morehours t to continue to throw those thoughts together, because the world oftechnology, I think, presents us with limitless opportunities. Yes, well becareful what you ask for Suzanne because Barton, I plann to do thispodcast for a long time, so we may be inviting you back for a second andthird conversation, but we do really appreciate your time that you gave ustoday. You mentioned cool videos and a lot of other things. Hif someone wantedto leach you to get an indepth, look at what you're doing, especially thosevideos if they are up there public. How would the best way for them to reachyou B, but somebody wanted to reach out to me. I would say that email wouldprobably be the easiest opportunity, and my email address is the firstinitial of my first name and my full laugh name. So it's S, p e t, ru sch atPresbi, PR ES BY DOT Edu I'm available unlinked in they certainly are welcometo find my information on the school's website and if they want to see some ofthose videos beyond the blue dot ord is our admission. microsite perfect thanksagainst Suzanne. We appreciate you offen your time and wisdom, so we mayshare it with others and, as I end,...

...every podcast with our commercial, thehighred marketer is sponsored by calor solutions and education, marketing andbranding agency and by thing patented, a marketing execution, printing andmerely provider of high red solutions. On behalf of Bartoni, thank you forjoining us in your continued support of the podcast. You've been listening to the Higher EdMarketer to ensure that you never miss an episode subscribe to the show inyour favorite podcast player. If you are 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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