Prospect Generation in a Post-Recession Economy

How the upswing can bring schools down.

Since 1990, the United States has experienced three major recessions, and during each of these tumultuous periods, higher education marketers have found a unique silver lining. As uncertainty and unemployment have increased, student inquiries have sprouted easily—and school enrollments have grown sizably.

But each time, as economic recovery has turned the corner and unemployed prospects have found new job opportunities, the bounty of inquiries has gradually withered. In past recessions, the emergence of new media has softened the blow. During the 1991 recovery, cable and satellite provided a new prospect generation medium to offset the decrease in inquiries and enrollments. And in 2001, as the desktop Internet gained critical mass, schools were able to leverage emerging strength to adapt to a less fertile landscape.

The new era of economic recovery.

This time it’s different. As the economy begins to recover, education marketers won’t find the next new medium squarely in place, ready to save the day. Although the mobile web is growing rapidly, it’s not expected to mature until 2013. And unlike cable and desktop Internet, it doesn’t represent an entirely new medium. Instead, it’s a “replacement channel’ that will trump older digital mediums, like desktop Internet. It’s also an increasingly noisy medium, fragmented with a multitude of new devices, mobile platforms, and technologies.

Digital natives, who see their phones as part of their identity, already understand this. In fact, they’re living it every day. And with their ravenous appetite for all things mobile, they will be the force that breaks down mobile cost and coverage barriers, and quickly makes the mobile web ubiquitous for all of your students and prospects, including adult continuing education students.

Prepare today. Win tomorrow.

To succeed during this unique and challenging post-recession period, schools must adapt once again to an ever-changing landscape. By preparing now for the challenges and opportunities presented by the upcoming economic recovery and emerging mobile technologies, schools can develop cost-effective strategies for attracting, converting, and retaining quality students.

Above is an excerpt from the “Prospect Generation in a Post-recession economy” white paper. Please download to read the entire white paper.