Education Agent Marketing for International
‘How will online school selection affect education agents? At ICEF Monitor, we have written before about how educators can power their recruitment and programming strategies via the astute collection, management, and analysis of data on the behaviours and patterns of students. Today, we look at examples of online data sites and services available to students researching their education options, and we consider the question.
Info, info, everywhere
The London Schools Atlas is a great place to start in our consideration of the data-enabled online tools now available to students and their families researching educational choices. The Atlas is an interactive online map that reveals:
- The location of London primary and secondary schools (as well as their associated catchment areas);
- Their current patterns of attendance;
- Potential future demand for places in them….
…Disintermediation in the travel industry
In the face of dramatic technological or other structural change, any industry can be at risk for “disintermediation” a process in which, according to O’Reilly Media:
In the case of the travel industry, for example, there are still travel agencies, but far fewer than before the creation and wide use of sites such as Travelocity and Expedia. Those that have survived have adapted and changed their services….
…. Another owner has chosen the route of specialisation – focusing on certain target markets and the delivery of astute travel counselling….. The article also notes that successful travel agencies are there when customers need them – when something has gone awry with their flight or trip, for example.
Smart agents can change and thrive
The Business Insider article contends that our knowledge economies are increasingly creating an upper tier of wealthy earners and consumers. In many markets, these consumers include internationally mobile students and their families.
Consumers like these will be willing to pay a premium for personalised, extra services… the human touch and on-the-ground expertise that education agents can provide that online information services simply cannot.
Education agents can add more comfort and security to a complex, high-stakes consumer decision-making process such as where to study abroad than data services alone can do. The trick, going forward, will be:
- to assess demand for value-added services;
- to provide them at the right price to the right markets;
- to use the new data and information services out there to boost the quality of service to students and parents;
- to innovate, embrace, and harness the power of technology in order to provide a valued, relevant service.’
Sales or marketing spruik?
Shows lack of insight into digital marketing/SEO and the role of agents or consultants in international education:
- there are already a plethora of course search widgets and applications available, and purchased by institutions, but unclear reason why and do they work?
- the featured product could be appropriate for local candidates who already know where they wish to study;
- research process and decisions on international education or study abroad can take up to two years, not a one off sale which this article (and recruitment events) suggests, as happens for online booking of flights, travel, hotels etc.;
- assume institutions know how students came to find their website and/or enrolled to inform marketing, promotions and recruitment?
- ignores the importance of agents websites, blogs and social media in local language digital marketing/SEO strategy to market and project institution in relevant markets and send referral traffic, i.e. agents more informed and economical vs direct institution marketing;
- institutional personnel or ‘middle people’ cannot advise on visas and immigration (nor do they have ‘real world’ occupational or professional experience allowing informed counselling on careers guidance and employment outcomes), lack other language skills, too many neither have analytical nor digital/SEO skills.