4 Steps to Demonstrate the Value of Your Higher Education Marketing Strategy

March 7th, 2022 by Lindsey Schultz

Key Insights:

  • Define relevant SMART goals for your marketing strategy to provide clarity on the results you want to achieve.
  • Utilize research-backed data to demonstrate how your campaign’s messaging and platforms help reach your target demographic.
  • Tailor your presentation to your audience to convey how your strategy helps each stakeholder reach their unique goals.

A person making charts and graphs on a computer

After you’ve created your marketing plan, your next step is to present your strategy to key stakeholders to demonstrate how it will improve the organization’s results. Effectively presenting this information is essential for gaining stakeholder trust and aligning your organization’s goals. In this post, we will outline the four-step formula for demonstrating the value of a new marketing strategy.

#1: Share Your Goals

Discussing the goals of your campaign allows stakeholders to visualize the end result of your higher education marketing strategy and understand the expected returns. Furthermore, sharing your goals conveys you have thoroughly examined how this plan impacts the organization.

When sharing goals, focus on quantitative measures primarily, but don’t forget to bring in some qualitative measures to show the whole picture. Start by defining important qualitative goals, and then turn these into more tangible measures by adding quantitative metrics. These goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. SMART goals clarify what results you are trying to achieve and the time frame you aim to achieve them.

After defining these goals, let your stakeholders know how often you will update them on your progress. This will keep you accountable to the measurement of your performance and lets your stakeholders see your commitment to achieving results.

#2: Relate Your Goals to Your Target Demographic

After you have defined the goals of your marketing strategy, it is essential to demonstrate how these goals impact your target demographic. This helps you convey to stakeholders how this direction aligns with your organization’s goals. To demonstrate this, start by researching industry data on the demographic makeup of the platforms your campaign is utilizing.

The good news is that you can find an abundance of reliable data on the demographic makeup of popular social media platforms in the age of digital marketing. Knowing where your target demographic is consuming information can aid you in conveying the power of your higher education marketing strategy and stay ahead of the curve. For example, here are the largest age groups on major social media platforms:

You should also research how much time your target demographic spends on each platform. This will allow you to determine how effectively your marketing strategy will reach these users. For example, 20% of Gen Z spends more than 5 hours every day on Tiktok. This data can convince stakeholders that TikTok can be a very effective platform to reach Gen Z due to its high engagement with that demographic. Take a look at this breakdown of the average time spent per day on each popular social media platform:

  • Facebook: 38 minutes per day
  • Instagram: 29 minutes per day
  • Twitter: 3.53 minutes per session
  • TikTok: 45+ minutes per day

Including this demographic information while presenting your strategy allows stakeholders to understand the effectiveness of this plan. Additionally, showcasing these key statistics helps gain stakeholder buy-in and aids in preparing you for any potential objections.

During a strategy presentation, use this research-backed data to justify the messaging of your campaign. You can use this data to explain what challenges your target demographic faces and how your messaging drives conversions.

For instance, let’s say you are a higher education institution trying to reach Gen Z students applying to college. You do research and find that 67% of Gen Z students indicate their top concern is being able to afford college. Using this data, you can adjust your campaign’s messaging to speak to this concern. You can convey this by highlighting your programs’ affordability or by providing resources on applying for financial aid.

Then, when demonstrating the value of your marketing plan, make sure to include these key statistics that helped you determine your target consumer’s needs. Presenting research-backed data that supports your campaign’s platforms and messaging can help gain stakeholder buy-in.

#3: Compare and Contrast to Your Current Strategy

When you present a new marketing plan, you must emphasize why the current strategy doesn’t meet your organization’s goals. Comparing and contrasting it with your proposed tactics will clarify the necessity of a new approach.

To compare and contrast with your current strategy, pull data on which audiences your current campaigns reach and what results it has achieved. You can do this by looking at Facebook, Google Ads, and Google Analytics campaign results. Use this data to highlight where your current campaigns fail to meet your goals and reach your target demographic. Then, emphasize how your proposed strategy will fill in the gaps and deliver more results for your organization. You can convey this by using research-backed data and SMART goals to demonstrate to stakeholders the results you expect with this new campaign.

#4: Tailor Your Presentation to Your Audience

Depending on who you are presenting to, it is beneficial to make slight adjustments to how you explain your strategy and what data you bring to support it. Different stakeholders have unique needs and interests, and tailoring your presentation assists you in conveying how this higher education marketing strategy will benefit them in particular. Furthermore, your stakeholder’s personality can help determine the most successful approach. Using personality assessments like the DISC method can help you understand how best to reach different personality types.

Be sure to tailor your metrics depending on the different stakeholders you are talking to. Tailor the data you include based on what is most important to your audience and the funnel stage of your campaign.

For instance, different stakeholders may respond better to macro or micro metrics. Macro metrics are actions that directly contribute to the primary objective of your campaign, such as cost per enrollment and return on investment. Macro metrics are useful when presenting to stakeholders that may not be as familiar with marketing terms and are more invested in the overall picture. On the other hand, micro metrics are secondary conversions that support the overall goal, such as cost per click and click-through rate. These metrics are more likely to be effective when presenting to stakeholders with marketing experience.

In addition, the stage of the marketing funnel you are targeting will help determine which metrics to present. For instance, awareness campaigns might focus on metrics such as website visits and impressions, while conversion-focused campaigns are more suited for tracking metrics like return on investment and cost per new student. By tailoring the data and messaging in your presentation to each audience, you can more effectively communicate how your plan will drive results by using language your audience is familiar with.

marketing KPIs by funnel stages

In order to gain stakeholder trust in a new higher education marketing strategy you should define goals that align with your target demographic; compare these to your current strategy, and tailor the presentation to your audience. By following this guide, you can use research-backed data and targeted messaging to convey the value of your marketing plan to any stakeholder.

To learn more about how Search Influence handles higher education marketing strategy, fill out a form to get access to our on-demand webinar series.