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Higher Education Marketing Firms Are the Niche You Need

Higher Education Marketing Firms Are the Niche You Need

Everyone needs a niche. This is especially true in higher education marketing, where finding external partners with existing expertise within your niche can turn into a crucial competitive advantage. 

Higher education marketing strategies are evolving rapidly, moving away from traditional print-first plans to more comprehensive, multichannel means of reaching your audience. But many colleges and universities don't have a full in-house staff to support all of these marketing efforts, turning towards agencies to partner with instead.

When they do, the choices can be overwhelming. The market research firm IBISWorld lists more than 6,000 active advertising agencies in the United States alone. And it won't get less anytime soon: in the past five years, the number of ad agencies in the U.S. has grown by an average of 12% every year.

But, as we've mentioned, everyone needs a niche. Many of these agencies have specialized in specific industries, channels, or marketing approaches. Once you know your niche, you can narrow down your number of options significantly. 

Let's look at 5 reasons you should concentrate your search for a marketing partner on higher education marketing agencies:

1) More Dedicated Channel Expertise

Higher education marketing is changing, but many of the channels used to reach out to prospective students are still relevant. Unlike many other industries, a thoughtful mix of print, email, social media, website, and texting is needed for the long and complex student journey.

Many marketing agencies have expertise that doesn't adjust to these needs in the education niche. A dedicated education marketing firm, on the other hand, has enough experience with the relevant tactics to create multichannel marketing plans designed to draw initial interest, turn that interest into applications, and move admitted students into becoming attending students at the institution.

The ability to account for that student journey requires the dedicated, niche expertise only higher ed marketing agencies can provide. Even on common channels like social media, pervasive in other industries as well, a more nuanced strategy specifically aimed at prospective students and their parents will bring more attention and success.

2) Existing Audience Knowledge

Don't underestimate the importance of your marketing partner understanding your audience. Sure, you can brief any agency on the demographics and pain points of prospective students. But don't undervalue the benefits of a partner who knows that student profile as well as you do.

Education marketing agencies stay on top of current trends in high school student behaviors and preferences and can translate these into marketing strategies specifically designed to reach and increase enrollments. They can even add value by bringing in unique insights you might not be aware of, furthering your understanding of your audience.

Of course, this benefit extends to secondary audiences as well. Marketing to alumni and other external university stakeholders is often as important as the prospective student market. Dedicated education agencies understand these audiences, enabling them to build marketing plans specifically aimed at their needs. 

3) More Relevant Examples of Previous Work

Of course, any agency can say that they understand your marketing channels and audience. What sets education marketing agencies apart is the fact that they can easily prove their expertise. Especially established agencies have plenty of past clients in higher education. 

Chances are they'll even have clients similar to your school within the larger industry, whether you are looking to market a community college or private research institute.

As a result, these agencies can provide you with examples and case studies that show how they've helped other clients, like you, in the past. That knowledge builds credibility and makes it easier to enter into a marketing partnership for short-term campaigns and long-term efforts.

4) Extensive Experience in Working with Education Stakeholders

As anyone working in education knows, institutional politics matter. Playing the political game can have a major impact on whether you can successfully deploy marketing solutions that will reliably bring in new students.

Working with these stakeholders, of course, can be complex. Often, non-marketers will have a final choice over budgetary, messaging, and even channel decisions. And while these stakeholders, from the president to divisional leaders and faculty, might have preconceived notions of what works, the right external partner can play a role in getting them on the same page. 

Education marketing agencies tend to be familiar and comfortable presenting information, plans, and strategies to non-marketers. They're able to layout these plans and potential ROI in clear terms, making buy-in more straightforward while lending credibility to the larger recruitment undertaking.

5) More Education-Related Success Metrics 

The final benefit of finding a marketing partner within the education niche centers around authenticating whether a marketing campaign or undertaking was successful.

Too often, marketing agencies focus on industry-neutral ROI metrics like leads, customer conversions, and brand loyalty. These metrics matter just as much in the education industry, but you'll likely encounter more nuanced versions, including student inquiries, application yield, and retention rate. 

Agencies familiar with education audiences and institutions can adjust their language and efforts accordingly. As a result, they can build plans optimized for success for higher education institutions, complete with metrics that are relevant for everyone involved. 

As a bonus, they can also more easily benchmark these metrics against industry averages, providing a better idea of whether a campaign has been successful.

Finding a Higher Education Marketing Agency to Help You Reach Your Goals

Of course, all the above is ultimately hypothetical. A marketing agency dedicated to the education sector should come with these benefits; however, that will only be the case if the partner you choose can focus on your unique niche.

That's where we come in. Sonority Group is a dedicated education marketing agency with expensive experience in all aspects of recruitment marketing. Are you ready to find a more reliable partner for your marketing efforts for the short-term and long-term? Let's chat! 

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