Traditionally, schools have marketed to a student, enrolled that student, and then turned the reigns over let the learning and retention processes begin. But that’s all starting to change. The truth of the matter is that marketing and retention go hand in hand, and one doesn’t pick up where the other leaves off. They are indeed each other’s “other half.”
The March issue of Recruitment & Retention in Higher Education features perspective and insight from our own Sarah Horn, VP of Retention Services, on this emerging practice. In the article, Fuel Student Retention Using Enrollment Marketing, Sarah describes the importance of integrating retention strategies into the marketing process, as well as incorporating marketing communications throughout the student life cycle.
According to Horn, the marketing process marks a school’s chance to start collecting the kind of data that will fuel, not to mention personalize, long-term retention strategies. Collecting and assessing behavioral and historical data can be vital to the path a student ultimately follows, not to mention how far down that path they go. Relevant information ranges from learning styles to first generation learner challenges; job and family commitments to prior credits; academic goals to career aspirations and more. All of that information should be collected and logged during those first few interactions with a prospect.
That information becomes really powerful when it is applied to the retention process, helping to craft messages and determine necessary outreach. According to Horn, behavioral and historical data collected up front becomes actionable, allowing coaches, advisors, faculty, and other student support personnel to create customized interventions, further predict student behaviors, build action plans, and connect with students both regularly and at the most critical times.