P3 EDU Panel Discussion _ Digital Recruitment

Are Universities Prepared For Digital Recruitment Success?

A “lean back” culture in higher education won’t work with the new wave of students who are digital natives, Sextant CEO says during a panel discussion at P3•EDU hosted by George Mason University and University of Colorado Denver.

P3 EDU Panel Discussion _ Digital Recruitment

Many universities continue to rely on traditional models for student recruitment and enrollment. But these models will not work as the pool of potential students declines, a more tech savvy generation graduates high school, and academic institutions fail to put in place the digital recruitment resources they need.

During a recent webinar panel discussion at the P3•EDU conference co-hosted by George Mason University and the University of Colorado Denver, Sextant CEO Adrian Marrullier discussed key factors that have put colleges and universities into a position where they must make changes, and soon.

Marrullier said university presidents must understand the current enrollment process is outdated and will never again work as well as it once did.

“Presidents have to realize that the traditional method of search for high school juniors and seniors is fundamentally broken. And it’s fundamentally broken because of this rapid shift to digital,” he said. “We are now dealing with a student population that is 100% digital natives.”

He noted that this new generation doesn’t use email as much, but they’ve grown comfortable simply asking questions to Alexa and Google.

“Imagine what that means if an 18-year-old, two years from now, asks Google, ‘What school should I go to’ or ‘what is the application process at George Mason?’ These are major shifts in the way these people are doing it.”

Virtual Panel Discusses Declining Enrollments

The virtual panel came together as part of the P3 EDU 2020 conference. Other panelists in the discussion included Jenny Rickard, President and CEO of The Common Application, and Alby Salsa, Senior Director with Blackboard. The panel discussed the general higher education landscape and the best tactics to attract students, including digital recruitment strategies.

David Burge, Vice President of Enrollment Management at George Mason University, moderated the discussion. He asked Rickard about declining enrollments during the pandemic.

Rickard reported that The Common Application, which handles college applications for more than 800 schools in the United States and around the world, has seen the number of returning members decline 3% this year, while new account creations also went down about 3%. She noted public institution applications are down 6%.

Marrullier expects that trend to continue. He noted that an aging population has been an ongoing issue for a decade or more, putting “demographic pressure” on schools.

But he added: “I’m going to be positive and be an optimist here.  I think that there are still enough students to go around.”

Innovative Technology Only Works if You Use it Effectively

Marrullier said that to attract the right students, schools must do a better job leveraging the possibilities of innovative technology in the enrollment process. That, he said, has not always been the case with schools in recent years.

Students today expect real-time responses, he said, noting that “if I can get a Rocket Mortgage in 20 minutes, I should be able to apply to a college.” This shift has led to the failure of traditional approaches.

“Universities are just not structured properly to handle this. They’re heavily siloed,” Marrullier said. “Technology is now de rigeur, it’s what we need, but university technology departments are not set up to support marketing and enrollment departments on a daily basis. And that’s a requirement.”

He noted that schools invest millions into CRM systems and other technology, including AI bots, but they often don’t connect them.

“What we see every day with our clients is the fact that they’ve made massive investments in all of these various technologies, they have a marketing department that is excited to use it and an enrollment department that is excited to use it, but none of it is connected,” he said. “So, the promise is not there. They bought the right things, but they didn’t connect it right. And worse, they don’t really know how to organize their teams to do it.”

Marrullier said this is why schools are realizing they need to partner with a company such as Sextant Marketing to provide the expertise and resources they need for digital recruitment and enrollment efforts.

A ‘Lean Back’ Culture

Marrullier said that many colleges and universities are what he would call a ‘lean back’ organization. “They have prided themselves on getting a lot of applications, turning away a significant amount of them, and believing their U.S. News and World Report rankings will go up because they show some level of exclusivity,” he said.

He said part of that lean back culture involves doing things on their own timeline, but students today demand faster responses.

Burge agreed, calling it “lunacy” that exclusivity is used as “a surrogate for quality.”

Connecting with Parents

The panel also discussed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on higher education and students in high school. Marrullier pointed out that the online experience has not been great for many students as high schools – and some colleges – scrambled to put classes together.

Beyond improvements in online classrooms, both Rickard and Marrullier said schools must do a better job assuring students and their parents the traditional college environment remains safe in the coming semesters.

Parents also may play a bigger role in making college decisions for their kids, because students have not spent as much time around peers, teachers and advisors at the high school level who can influence their decision.

That alone is reason for schools to make the effort to communicate with parents, but Marrullier said it goes beyond that because of the financial impact of the virus.

“The unknown here is the state of the economy,” he said. “If we continue to see a declining economy, if we see layoffs that continue to grow, then I think we will be in a situation where Mom and Dad will have a lot more to say about where Johnny and Suzie are going to be able to go next year.”

On the other hand, he added, “I don’t think human nature has changed. These young adults want to go out, they want to break away from Mom and Dad.”

Despite all the issues, Marrullier said that the current situation presents “tremendous opportunity” for college presidents. But, he said, it will require them to “radically rethink” their approach to digital recruitment and enrollment.

Listen to the full discussion below.


Tampa Bay Business Journal Fast 50 #8

Sextant Marketing Ranks #8 in Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Fast 50

Tampa Bay Business Journal Fast 50 #8

Through future-focused, tech-forward, full-funnel management, Sextant’s team of higher education experts and strategists coordinate successful student recruitment and retention campaigns.

The rankings for the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Annual Fast 50 Award were announced November 10th during a virtual event. Sextant Marketing was honored for a second year in a row, moving from number 36 to number 8, making Sextant one of Tampa Bay’s top ten fastest-growing privately held companies.

Sextant Marketing is a higher education marketing company dedicated to a vision of the world where each prospective student selects the right institution to support their best learning experience. Employing a team of more than 40 higher education marketing & enrollment professionals, Sextant assists universities that seek to build or grow on-campus and online degree and certification programs.

The Tampa Bay Business Journal looks at the past three years of revenue growth to determine which companies make the top 50 list.

In those years, Sextant Marketing is proud to have significantly increased the number of university partners for which they have consistently helped meet enrollment and revenue projections including Kentucky State University, Boston College, Houston Baptist University, The University of Massachusetts, New England College, and Indiana University Kelly School of Business.

Sextant joins other privately held businesses representing a variety of industries including marketing, insurance, healthcare, logistics, engineering, and technology.

In 2019, when asked about his No. 1 priority for the year ahead as a Fast 50 honoree, Adrian Marrullier, CEO of Sextant Marketing, said the focus was on, “finding a larger office space and continuing to build on our success.” As a leading expert in the marketing and management of online higher education programs, Marrullier knew that Sextant’s expertise could help schools navigate the uncertain waters of student retention and recruitment in a data-driven world.

Even through the upheaval of 2020, Marrullier’s stated goals were accomplished. Early in the year, the education marketing firm moved to a 6,000-square-foot facility to support increasing growth and a larger staff in their home base of Ybor City, Florida.

The new space accommodates marketing and branding staff along with call center and student support.

When asked about Sextant’s success over the last few years, Jimmy Lynch, VP-Engagement Services said, “Part of our success comes from the dedicated team in our student support center. The efforts of our student support team have had both an immediate and long-term impact on our university partners, the results of which are contributing to our continued growth.”

About Sextant Marketing

Centrally located in the heart of Tampa’s historic Ybor City, Sextant Marketing is a full-service digital marketing agency and consultancy dedicated to the service of higher education. We are a team of full-funnel student enrollment experts with deep experience delivering coordinated new student recruitment, retention, and yield campaigns across all program and student types. Sextant Marketing is a nimble partner with a comprehensive approach made possible through our forward-thinking model and 19+ years in higher education program management working with some of the nation’s leading institutions.

 


sextant named one of tampa bay business journal's fast 50

Sextant Marketing Named One of Tampa Bay’s Fastest Growing Businesses

sextant named one of tampa bay business journal's fast 50

The Ybor City-based education marketing firm made the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s “Fast 50” list for the second year in a row thanks to strong, sustained revenue growth.

Sextant Marketing, a full-service digital marketing agency and consultancy dedicated to the service of higher education, has made the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s “Fast 50” list that recognizes the fastest growing businesses in the region. This is the second year in a row that the journal has named Sextant to the list.

The Tampa Bay Business Journal determines which companies make the top 50 list based on the last three years of revenue growth. In those years, Sextant Marketing has increased their number of university partners in the United States to 38 including the University of Virginia, University of Massachusetts, and Kentucky State University and has recently started supporting international universities as well.

Sextant Marketing’s nimble, future-focused approach helps successfully guide partner universities through the world of higher ed marketing, recruitment, and enrollment. Kentucky State University’s enrollment growth is a good example of this success, with the partnership between KSU and Sextant increasing fall freshmen academic enrollment by 90.2% and spring freshmen enrollment by 170% in just one year

Sextant joins 49 other businesses on the journal’s list that represent a variety of industries, including marketing, insurance, healthcare, logistics, engineering, and technology.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for our rapid growth in the dynamic Tampa Bay business community. Our talented leadership and staff have worked hard to achieve our ambitious goals,” said Adrian Marrullier, CEO of Sextant Marketing. “Our diverse team of deeply talented marketing and branding experts and student support specialists bring a wealth of experience that has helped us thrive while providing the best service to our clients.”

Marrullier said Sextant “serves as a bridge between higher education and prospective students” by offering innovative solutions to academic institutions that allow them to attract and enroll the right students. Sextant now supports more than 900 programs and 10,000 students.

Early in 2020 Sextant moved to a 6,000-square-foot facility in Ybor City to accommodate a new call center and larger staff. The Tampa Bay Business Journal will honor all 50 companies selected to the Fast 50 list at a virtual event in November.

About Sextant Marketing

Centrally located in the heart of Tampa’s historic Ybor City, Sextant Marketing is a full-service digital marketing agency and consultancy dedicated to the service of higher education. We are a team of full-funnel student enrollment experts with deep experience delivering coordinated new student recruitment, retention, and yield campaigns across all program and student types. Sextant Marketing is a nimble partner with a comprehensive approach made possible through our forward-thinking model and 19+ years in higher education program management working with some of the nation’s leading institutions.


SharpSpring Silver Certified Agency Partner

Sextant Marketing Sets Out to Transform Enrollment Yield Campaigns, Announces Silver Certification Partner Status with Sharpspring.

SharpSpring Silver Certified Agency Partner

Sextant gives colleges and universities the benefits of an automated platform that improves lead generation, marketing, and student acquisition.

As a SharpSpring Silver Certified Agency Partner, Sextant Marketing offers colleges and universities an innovative, data-driven suite of tools that optimizes the process of matching the right students to the right degree programs.

The behavioral-based, automated marketing platform from SharpSpring also helps streamline a school’s operations. Tasks that once required hours to complete are handled faster through sophisticated software, freeing up university staff to take on more creative endeavors.

Working as a SharpSpring Silver Certified Agency Partner is a source of pride at Sextant Marketing. By combining Sextant’s expertise in educational marketing with SharpSpring’s innovative technology, we’ve become even better marketing partners for colleges and universities.

What Is SharpSpring?

SharpSpring’s suite of tools provides an all-in-one solution to lead generation, marketing, analysis and student acquisition. As a SharpSpring Silver Partner, Sextant provides access to marketing automation technology that streamlines the process of matching the right students to the right courses and degree programs. That means our higher education partners will benefit from the kind of marketing automation once typically available only to large corporations.

Among the long list of customizable tools, resources, and outcome analysis included in the SharpSpring-powered suite of tools is:

  •       Seamless integration with all major CRM platforms;
  •       Professional, focused, and effective landing pages;
  •       Email design and marketing automation;
  •       Focused, context-driven social media marketing campaigns;
  •       Funnel visualization tools - understand your prospective student’s journey;
  •       Enterprise-level data analytics;
  •       Integrated form-building.

Working As A SharpSpring Partner

Becoming a SharpSpring Silver Certified Agency Partner required Sextant Marketing to learn the SharpSpring system and all the ways it can best benefit our university partners. The team at Sextant Marketing then went through tests and an examination, demonstrating their ability to do in-app implementation of SharpSpring features.

For Sextant’s college and university clients, this means we can now work more efficiently and effectively to create digital marketing campaigns that improve lead generation and student acquisition. Being a SharpSpring partner fits perfectly with our mission to operate a future-focused agency that always aligns with the needs and goals of our clients. “The digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving and presenting new opportunities. Everyone at Sextant works hard to identify and implement technology that will benefit our university partners,” said Jessica Banich, Vice President of Marketing Services. “Being a SharpSpring Silver Certified Agency Partner is part of that effort. It’s an innovative system that helps us make our clients’ marketing efforts more successful, and that is always the goal with every system we implement.”

It’s important to note that as experts in automation tools, we can work with any existing systems in use by colleges and universities. Our focus is always on leveraging innovative technology to create better lead generation and student enrollment.

Education is vital to a thriving society. At the same time, educational institutions face unprecedented and rapidly evolving challenges. With Sextant as a dedicated partner, our clients break new ground to secure the future of their institutions, their students, and the future of education.

 


Higher Education marketing Agency

What is a Sextant and What Does it Have to Do With Your University?

Higher Education marketing Agency

The world of higher education is complex. Things are changing. Degrees have gone online. Enrollment strategies are ruled by data. Digital marketing is essential. The future of higher ed promises more change to come. And the recent COVID-19 outbreak is a reminder that storms can arise at any time. Higher education and marketing for higher education need to be able to change with the shifting landscape as much as they need to adjust course when the unexpected occurs if we want students and universities to thrive.

Sextant marketing has been here through all these transitions and more. We’ve been here from the start. With over 19 years of higher ed program management experience, we’ve seen it all, and we’ve kept our eyes trained on the goals. Connect the right student with the right program. Make a difference to each student we encounter by delivering the highest quality experience from the first impression to initial contact and through enrollment for each institution we represent.

Through future-focused, tech-forward, full-funnel service, we help you gather the data, plot your course, and reach your destination, just like the navigational tool we’re named for.

That’s where SEXTANT comes in.

What Does the Sextant Mean to Higher Education Marketing?

A sextant is a marine navigational tool used to measure the angular distance between a point on the horizon and a celestial body. It determines a navigator’s position and traditionally helped ships find their way on long voyages.

In higher education, we’re all navigators, in one way or another, charged with setting a course to a far-off destination. It’s not always a straight line to your goals. Staying on course requires adjustments – with the help of seasoned partners who can help you chart your course and navigate the uncharted world of higher ed marketing and enrollment management.

Just as future-focused ideas and technology are changing the landscape of marketing for higher education, the historical SEXTANT instrument has since been replaced by more advanced technology, but the principle remains the same. If you know where you are, where you want to go, and what True North is, you can find your way.

A Full-Funnel Higher Ed Marketing Agency Helps You Find Your True North

At Sextant Marketing, our purpose is to serve as the bridge between higher education and prospective students and to support institutions of higher learning with innovative ideas that attract and enroll the right students for their respective institutions.

For colleges and universities, it helps to know what True North is for you.

By definition, True North is the direction along Earth’s surface toward geographic north, according to the Earth’s axis. In the world of higher education, True North is your essential truth. Your institution’s internal guiding compass. Your purpose.

Through a commitment to your True North, a strategic plan, and a flexible partnership with a guide that understands you, together we can journey to fulfill a vision of the world where each prospective student selects the right institution to support their best learning experience, ultimately leading to meaningful, engaging employment.

What does your student journey look like? Let’s chart a course together