Ruffalo Noel Levitz Study Identifies Top College Marketing and Recruitment Practices

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“Benchmarks like these can help to identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for recruitment and marketing,” said Raquel Bermejo, associate vice president of market research and planning at RNL.

What’s working in higher education marketing and student recruitment? How is today’s student outreach changing? How are best practices evolving? An annual study from Ruffalo Noel Levitz explores these questions, based on a survey of enrollment officials at private and public four-year institutions. The resulting report, the 2017 Marketing and Student Recruitment Report of Effective Practices measures the effectiveness and usage of more than 40 strategies and tactics, including specific approaches to event marketing, advertising, print communications, student search, digital marketing, internal operations, and much more.

The 2017 Marketing and Student Recruitment Report of Effective Practices was based on a 64-item, web-based Ruffalo Noel Levitz poll of campus officials in May of 2017. The report provides separate findings for four-year private and four-year public institutions. More than 90 institutions participated in this study.

Among the highlights of the study:

  • Purchased names, campus visitors, and stealth applicants were the top three sources of freshman enrollees.
  • Online display advertising was the top form of advertising, but was rated less effective than text messaging, email, websites, and, for private institution respondents, publications.
  • Qualifying inquiries was a top practice for public institution respondents in the category of internal operations, but 57 percent of respondents weren’t using it.
  • Statistical financial aid awarding was a top practice for private institution respondents in the category of internal operations, but 21 percent of respondents weren’t using it.

“Benchmarks like these can help to identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for recruitment and marketing,” said Raquel Bermejo, associate vice president of market research and planning at RNL. “In addition, RNL uses results from the benchmarking research to drive our own product development and the expert insights we share when we partner with campus clients.”

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