Published on August 2nd, 2009 | by Saurabh Pandey13
Why Indian Education Industry Needs To Be Serious About It’s Web-Strategy?
During the past 90 days, I managed to meet over 30 educational institutes of various sizes and catgeories across the country.
A majority of these have started working with us now, wherein we provide them simple to advanced demand generation and branding solutions on the web.
However I noticed a few common peculiar attributes:
1. Most of the education instituions in India do not have much experience in marketing on the web.
2. If they are active on the web, it’s purely to generate demand (or leads).
3. The educational instituions do not attempt to build brands or engage audience
4. Educational instituions do not have a complete web strategy and depend upon 3rd party websites/micros-ites for web communication
5. Overall investments on web are dismal.
6. Pulishers and agencies have not gone beyond lead generation mechanism
What does this imply?
According to my analysis the web-spend of education instituions is about Rs40-50cr. As compared to their total advertising spend of about Rs.3000 cr. on other mediums. Also keeping in mind that the overall education market itself is about USD40b
(This is what the consumers spend on education in India every year)
Now, an industry where such huge investments are made by consumers coupled with the fact that it entails a high-involvement decision making process- it’s strange that educational instituions do not invest in engaging with the admission seekers throughout the decision making process!
Also, low investments on web coupled with high focus on lead generation means that educations instutions are doing a blunder at 2 levels:
1. Lead generation here would work on volumes, which means one needs to reach a threshold to achieve economies of scale and qualitative efficiency. E.g. if an instituion were to judge the efficacy of lead generation with 100 leads-it will not work.
One needs to follow a University of Phoenix model- and work on say 10,000 leads from different sources through different communications on a sustained level and then see if web works or not.
2. By focusing on lead generation instituions forget to invest on branding and engagement. A student can fill up 3-4 lead forms but may visit only 2 campused and finalise on one or none. How can instituions ensure that they are at the top of mind of students. How can they ensure that they have built enough credibility so as to hope that a student lands up and take admission?
Action Plan for 2010
The real opportunity for education instituions is now (especially Universities)-when the admissions have closed! They need to use the next 12 months to create a web-strategy which should start with an engagement platoform on the web- Talk to prospcts, let them interact with your alumni and faculty, assist prospscts in making an intelligent career choice, let the prospect take a virtual tour of the campus, invite for a webinar or even an offline seminar. Ask feedback on what they need.
Once you have created an engagement platform and you have enough traction- use this platform to create further word of mouth- it could be thorugh a talent hunt or a scholarship program or a 1 week free workshop for a few selected ones. These will create buzz.
Lastly give enough options to prospects to interact with you- don’t judge the efficacy of your campiagn through leads only- Can you measure how many people downloaded your admission forms, how many saw your webinar, how many opted for a campus tour, how many called you up etc.
This is critical in-particular for a majority of educational instutions in India- who are also new, or who offer new courses- they have not invested in buiding credibility, or engaging with prospects- and have jumped on to web to generate leads hoping that they can fill-in the seats quickly by just doing a lead generation activity.
What do you think, and have you come across a web-activity by an institution in India or abroad- which you want to share with the readers of atomthought.com?