Education Marketing and Advancement

Objectivity, transparency, and a collaborative spirit

Marketing Therapy

with Mike Connor

The First Dimension of Value: Return on Investment (ROI) in Education and Enrollment Management (Series 4 of 9)

The fourth of nine blogs in serial format, adapted from Mike Connor’s Cornerstone Keynote Address at the Association of Independent Schools Admission Professionals’ (AISAP) Annual Institute in Nashville, July 8, 2013. Connor addressed 200 admission professionals from around the world. Connor's topic: Becoming Your Own Brand and Value Proposition!

The first element of a value proposition is return of investment (ROI) and proof of outcomes.

When we talk about the ROI of your schools, the goal is proving you hit or exceed the intentions of your mission. To accomplish your goal, don’t talk about your intentions.  Share the quantitative and qualitative outcomes.

The usual metric is the performance of your alumni at the next level of education, precisely how you made a difference in their lives, comments from matriculating schools, colleges, and community leaders about the great job you did, and high satisfaction levels of your parents and parents of alumni.

At your school, do you support ROI with quantitative and qualitative data that indicates you lived up to your mission?  That you kept – or exceeded – your promise?  Parents need to be reminded of this continually, beginning the day the enrollment contract is signed and then systematically throughout the year. Reinforce, validate, and repeat.

So let’s flip it.

What is the return on the school’s investment in you?  How can you prove your school made the right choice in hiring you?   How can you prove your value to the school? 

The Top 5 Skills and Attitudes for ROI in Enrollment Management

Improving conversion ratios and yields are typical benchmarks to measure the mettle of an enrollment management director.

But if I were a Head of School hiring an enrollment management professional today, I’d want to know:

1. Are you a great orchestrator of relationships?

Will you use the entire school – current students, alumni, teachers, coaches, parents, trustees, and your extended constituent base – to create inquiries, to shepherd inquiries into visitors, to move visitors into enrollments?

Those we serve are our walking value proposition. Not you as the enrollment management professional, not me as the Head of School. Let those we serve do the talking.  You don’t need to sell; you need to facilitate the conversation and relationships between those we serve, and those we seek to serve.

2. Will you be able to suggest new markets, based on research, and initiate a path to develop those new markets?

3. Will you be able to suggest new products the school could offer to nontraditional markets — those we never thought of working with before but who would still benefit from our mission?

4. Will you help me as Head stay a step ahead of competitors in pricing and value? Have you ever conducted a competitive intelligence analysis by shopping the competition?  And then have you leveraged that analysis into a discussion about pricing, affordability, and program improvements our School might consider?

5. Will you objectively listen to perceptions of us outside the school?  Will you make sure the School listens to not only our potential families, but to community influencers so they can help us create more referral sources, elevate our visibility and relevance, as well as lead us into partnerships with other businesses or organizations so we can create win-win-wins? Wins for the school, wins for the student, and wins for the organizations we partner with? Can you help position us as a private school with a greater public purpose?

Convincing an organization to hire and keep you as its enrollment management director is about proving you will provide a valuable return on its investment in you.  If I were hiring someone responsible for 90% of our organization’s income, I’d want to make sure that person could deliver these five skills and attitudes.  

Next: The Second Dimension of Value: Transformational Teaching and Learning

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