The Delicate Art of Avoiding Market Saturation, Improving Lead Quality, & Empowering the Student

In corporate marketing, market saturation and consumer desensitization are pitfalls that frequently detract from a successful advertising campaign. To deal with this, savvy advertisers and marketers have come up with strategies that allow them to avoid saturation, improve brand image and increase lead quality.

Although comparatively new, the multi-billion dollar Enrollment Management industry is susceptible to the same problems as the mature corporate marketing industry. One key differentiator between the two industries does exist: not-for-profit schools were not built to make money, they were built to provide an academic service. Building and maintaining a reputation for academic excellence and exclusivity is of the utmost importance; some institutions have spent decades building and refining a brand. What’s more, in many cases, the brand–academic integrity, excellence–is more important than the profitability of an institution.

This difference makes the task of marketing on behalf of not-for-profit schools particularly difficult. Fortunately, sophisticated marketing methodologies exist that allow enrollment marketers to reach prospective students, without sacrificing the “brand” integrity that academic institutions have spent so long building.

Direct Response Enrollment Marketing is a simple multi-step process that initiates contact with prospective students in a meticulous, and quantifiable manner.

The first step leverages rich-content in order to initiate a response from a prospective student. Using content to attract students ensures that each request for follow-up information is genuine.”Empowering the student” refers to the fact that in Direct Response Enrollment Marketing, prospective students initiate contact with universities, rather than the reverse. Enticing students with free information–course catalogues, articles, advice–allows marketers to eliminate the possibility of a “miss-match”, or unsolicited contact.

The second step involves follow-up marketing. Interested students react to content by initiating a phone call, or filling out an online form. The forms and phone calls are received by academic advising centers, which are staffed with enrollment specialists, or academic advisors. By managing both the distribution of media and the follow marketing process, enrollment marketers are able to track the efficacy of each individual marketing campaign, and piece of creative.

Because channels and materials that do not yield results can immediately be eliminated, direct response marketing ensures that colleges and universities can market to prospective students without over-saturating the market.

How To Use the 60-30-10 Database Marketing Formula To Increase Profits

The definition of database marketing is doing more with customers you already have. That’s a very simple definition, yet necessary, because a lot of businesses focus on getting new business while neglecting their current customers.

To implement effective database marketing, use the 60-30-10 direct marketing formula for success. Its components are:

1. Your list – which contributes 60% to your marketing success

2. Your offer – the copy or message and whatever you’re promoting which contributes 30% to your success, and

3. Everything else – for example, email vs. direct mail, 4-color vs. 1-color, sent on a Monday vs. a Saturday, etc. All of these factors only affect the outcome by about 10%.

If you focus on combining “everything else” with “the offer,” you make only a 40% impact. Yet many business marketers fret over picking out the perfect PMS color, while ignoring the bigger, more important issue of their target audience.

Instead, invest time in segmenting your customer list-niche it down–to make it more targeted. Then match and personalize your offer to make it very special for that targeted segment. The result: 60% + 30% = 90% impact!

The best way to maximize these results is to use database marketing with a customer list. We all know it’s 10 times easier to sell an existing client than it is to find a new one. That conventional wisdom is not disputed.

So the first step in creating your database marketing system is to reach out to people who have done business with you before. Perhaps, they’re not doing business with you right now, but they’re still your customers. They’ve spent money with you. They have a history with you, and they know who you are. Customers are more valuable to your business than a new prospect. This is the profit zone.

Only after you’ve exhausted all opportunities for database marketing to customers should you consider adding the next tier of profitable lists: prospects who behave most like your current customers. The further you stray from your customer database profit zone, the less likely your database marketing campaigns will succeed and the more expensive it will be to attract new customers.

Top 10 Habits of a Database Marketer

Name your most valuable company asset: Inventory? Equipment? Employees? If you’ve got customers, your number one asset is your customer list. That’s because the fastest way to grow your business exponentially is to squeeze every drop of profits from customers you already have using database marketing.

Take this 10-point true/false quiz to see if you possess the habits of an effective database marketer. Give yourself 1 point for each “true” answer:

1. I collect complete contact information (name, address, phone numbers, email address) on every customer and new inquirer

2. I keep all my contacts in a single database (including customers, prospects, referral partners, vendors, friends, family)

3. I keep track of how each customer or prospect found me so I can duplicate my successes (and can the flops)

4. I have a templated, easy-to-use, automatic response system to follow up with prospects before, during and after the sale

5. I can easily cross sell my other services to current customers because I track what they bought previously through database segmentation

6. I have a system to track opt-outs to my email marketing campaigns so I can stay CAN-SPAM compliant with my e-marketing. I also follow-up on bounce-back emails so I don’t lose precious connections with my customers and prospects

7. I can forecast and act upon my projected sales for the next week, month or quarter based on opportunities in my sales pipeline

8. I have a database clean-up plan to update my contacts at least once per year

9. I have a bullet-proof procedure for tracking open and closed customer service issues

10. Leads from my website are automatically entered into my customer database, and I’m notified instantly to take follow-up action

What Your Score Means

If you scored a 7 or less, you’re working way too hard for business. Most likely, you’re developing each customer one at a time. To become a database marketer, you must instead create a systematic sales process that runs on auto-pilot and stimulates new orders whether you’re working or not. Selling customers one order at a time seems intuitive, and it’s the way most of us learned how to do business. But it’s inefficient, and it prevents you from scaling your business.

If you scored an 8 or above, you’ve got the database marketing chops to boost business! Focus on sending relevant and persistent marketing messages to your current customers via direct mail, email, fax and phone, and always ask for referrals. It’s 10 times easier to get new orders this way than it is to convert a new prospect because you’ve already paid for cost of acquisition. Every new order is found profits.