Creating a sustainable pipeline for school admissions
Updated: Dec 31, 2022
Successful independent school marketing demands strong, differentiated brand positioning, coupled with consistent and effective execution.
Delivering success also requires alignment between Marketing and Admissions functions. Teams need to plan together, leverage a shared view of the admissions pipeline and share a common understanding of how existing activities - across both teams - help propel enrolment performance.
These points become even more important when schools face stiff competition, or lack the perceived brand prestige of neighbouring institutions.
Eyes on growth ahead of the storm
At the onset of the pandemic, Emmet Consulting was engaged by one of Australia’s most prestigious independent girls’ schools to develop a sustainable and transparent approach to Marketing, Admissions and Enrolment activity.
Our mission was to align marketing strategy with admissions processes to outperform competitors and set a course for significant, long term growth.
Here's how Emmet turned opportunity into success, building the foundations for a sustainable future.
1. Deep diving the data Before stepping too deeply into planning, we ensured that all available data and insights were explored and understood. With fresh eyes and objectivity, we analysed dozens of files and thousands of data points, mapping the performance of existing marketing and enrolment activity. We identified opportunities for improvement and laid the groundwork for a clear-eyed approach to re-planning, including a reallocation of historical budgets to address changing channel preferences across the target market.
2. Enhanced visibility With historical performance data in play, the next step was to improve visibility and - from there - engagement through the customer decision making process. Partnering with Digistorm, we implemented their 'Funnel' CRM platform to provide visibility of prospective families' progress through the admissions pipeline. Integrating Digistorm with the school's website enabled rapid actioning of new enquiries, while automating simple functions freed up time for Admissions team members to focus on higher-value work.
3. Beautiful creative, beautifully executed With data, a new CRM and enhanced visibility of the admissions pipeline all in place, we turned to brand, communications and messaging, reviewing all communications and marketing activity across every existing touchpoint. Great brands, regardless of their sector, are consistent. So, rather than change the creative completely, we elevated existing work to emphasise points of difference and create a significant uplift in engagement for this independent school brand.
With strong foundations in place, interest and demand for enrolments at this independent school grew rapidly - as it does to this day. Critically, the school's board and executive leadership team are also well prepared for whatever may lie ahead, with a clear understanding of their admissions data and accurate visibility of future enrolments framing a five-year, strategic horizon.
Recently, we sat down with the team at Digistorm to share our insights, tips, and expertise around Admissions and Marketing as part of their launch of ‘The Admissions Club’ - a new and free web series, designed to help those in Marketing, Admissions and other critical school enrolment functions. You can learn more about experiences such as this case study, and from other leaders in school admissions growth, by visiting https://admissionsclub.digistorm.com/au/.