7min. reading

Why international higher education marketing is so bad

Posted by The Pie News

Would you ignore a $433 billion market?

That’s how big our market is set to reach by 2030 and marketing in higher education has a massive role to play.

pexels photo 3769118 643f2fa3 1920w

Just to highlight this, colleges and universities in the US spent over $2.2bn on advertising in 2019, but these budgets rarely get allocated to one crucial segment of the market – international students. If institutions around the world don’t do something to change this soon, they are going to miss the bus.

At Platty, we continually have marketing meetings with universities, colleges and government agencies and one major trend keeps appearing: when it comes to domestic marketing and recruitment, higher ed marketing departments are power houses.

They have large budgets, hire creative agencies and staff to support them and have a holistic 360-degree marketing strategy that covers full digital strategies including SEO, articles, social media channels, TV ads, and influencer engagement. But when you talk to them about their international marketing initiatives, the response is generally less impressive.

For the majority of higher education institutions, they either don’t have the resources, don’t know how to market to international audiences or haven’t included this vital aspect into their recruitment strategies. Instead, they choose to rely on an agent recruitment network or boots on the ground recruitment with no elements of long-term digital presence, strategy or marketing.

“Simply put, a one-message-fits-all strategy, not adapted to the market or to the language, doesn’t work”

In the US alone, in 2019 (pre-pandemic), international higher education accounted for approximately $38.6bn in economic activity annually and more than a million students – and globally the international education market is to reach US $433bn by the end of the decade. With this outlook, and the pandemic seemingly subsiding, there are huge opportunities to attract new generations of international students. The real challenge for recruiters will be figuring out how to stay ahead of the pack, how to be innovative in international recruitment and attract a diverse and global student population back to campus.

“The real challenge for recruiters will be figuring out how to stay ahead of the pack”

Ignoring social media and an in-language, in-country approach

The pandemic disrupted higher education in more ways than one. Most educational institutions had to adapt and embrace new tools for learning and communication, from web conferencing software to collaboration software – and of course social media.

Building a long-term digital presence in-market – the Achille’s heel of international recruitment – is an essential part of a recruitment strategy, yet few institutions know how to do it well. At Platty, we have embraced this disruption and are now helping many of our partners understand the true power of social media and content marketing, and more importantly creating a local in-country and in-language community. Planting the flag in the market, as we like to say, is what we do best.

Liked the content?

Share in with others in social media!

What to read next?