During November’s UPCEA Marketing and Enrollment Management Seminar (MEMS) in Long Beach, California our team at SensisEdu surveyed marketing and enrollment management leaders there on higher education marketing and emerging trends. Our research illuminated some interesting results, both confirming common notions and elucidating unexpected insights. In the first of four articles, we share the biggest marketing challenges facing education institutions.

Most participants cited two factors as the biggest marketing challenges facing their institutions:

BUILDING BRAND AWARENESS AND REPUTATION (67%)

and

UNDERSTANDING AND FORECASTING DEMAND (58%)

The most frequently cited challenge of institutions was ‘Building Brand Awareness and Reputation;’ this is interesting on several levels.

First, most continuing, professional and online education programs are extensions of well-established and highly trusted “main campus” education brands. The fact that brand awareness and reputation is a major issue for so many UPCEA members and their peers is an indication of the challenge facing the entire continuing, professional and online education space to enlighten the public on what they offer and get out of the shadow of their main campuses.

The fact that brand awareness was such a hot topic of concern is also interesting considering most continuing, professional and online education programs focus their marketing efforts, and paid media budgets, on digital channels, which are notoriously ineffective for generating brand awareness.

Creating brand awareness in today’s fragmented media landscape among consumers with a deficit of attention is a challenge facing brands in all industries, not just education. 

In our next piece we’ll dissect the second biggest challenge education marketers face according to our research: understanding and forecasting demand.