Marketing Recruitment in International Education
From Michael Waxman-Lenz at INTEAD:
‘How Many Reps Do You Need to Cover the World? Worldwide student recruitment is a big task. We wonder: how many representatives do you need to be successful? What is the ideal number of internal and external international student recruiters?
First, let’s look at two different groups: internal and external recruiters. Internal would be your full-time admissions staff who travel and support international recruitment. We don’t see any good benchmarks in that area. Many universities assign international and domestic areas to admissions officers. Other universities with sufficient scale have dedicated international staff. We believe that cultural expertise, contacts and relationships — let alone language skills – can be better developed with dedicated staff. Yet we realize the need for sufficient scale and investment to support that headcount….
…. In the end, each school has to manage their network and determine what number of agents in how many countries are needed to meet your enrollment targets. Our sense is that most institutions are not supporting their existing networks sufficiently.
I would be remiss if I did not point out our own services to help you in that task. We are always working with our clients on how to differentiate and manage your enrollment activities.’
This would assume a flow of prospective students that merely need to be enrolled? What happens if existing core markets no longer provide numbers, and an institution needs to increase diversity?
Other related issues include:
- If recruitment and enrolment is to be successful, strategy has to be linked into longer term international business development and marketing.
- Agent or rep websites are a powerful digital marketing and SEO resource for international education market development as they are generally relevant, good quality, includes target market language, profile of your institution (and related if discussed) with reciprocal back link, and access to their social media network.
- Agents or reps have higher chance of closing, i.e. they can follow up direct and indirect enquiries through to commencement, and track progress of individual candidates.
- Need for generating or developing authentic digital content which can be achieved on campus through student feedback, relevant language testimonials etc..
- Continuity, or lack of, i.e. changing reps regularly based upon short term targets, but then losing digital ‘juice’ or online visibility by concurrently losing quality back links from rep websites not being reappointed (then cycle starts again with newer personnel reappointing old reps, then reinventing the wheel again…..).
- In the case of Australia, international personnel can legally offer neither visa nor immigration advice, and may lack good understanding of employment outcomes.
The second point on rep websites leads to approval from search engines, indexing and visibility all year round for ‘organic’ or ‘inbound’ web searches, with rich analytics feedback to further inform digital marketing and content.