In what now seems like 100 years ago when I was a young professional, I attended a conference where a marketing speaker went around the room and asked us who we considered to be our competition. Everyone predictably rattled off our application cross-over colleges and universities and dutifully cited our copious statistical sources. After we finished, the speaker showed us some corporate logos. Now just to prove how quickly my life is approaching middle age, he projected, ahem, a transparency on an overhead projector with a logo for Coca-Cola, The Gap, Nike, and I don’t know, probably the logo for that hot new media starting to dominate the PC market, CD-ROMs.
The point of this trip down memory lane is that he was telling us that our goal is the attention of our potential clients, and until we understood how they communicated, our efforts to break through the cacophony of messages in their daily lives would prove ineffective. Our true competitors were everyone vying for this attention. This observation has never been more relevant for traditional-aged student recruiting than now with the advent of social media, and we as enrollment professionals are working hard to understand how it all comes together coherently. There is a dizzying array of options and directions that we may pursue, but we know we lack the time and treasure to explore all of them. As always, the key is not trying to overextend our finite resources, but rather trying to apply them with the right sort of focus to exceed our goals. With that in mind, here are a few things to ponder related to our Noel-Levitz 2010 E-Recruiting Practices and Trends Report.