On campus or online,

we can help your team drive enrollment.

Specific challenges require specific knowledge. That’s why you’re looking for a specialist in education marketing. There’s simply too much at stake to have a generalist practice on your school, college, or university. The learning curve is steep, and your competition isn’t going to wait for your consultant to catch up.

By asking key questions, listening carefully, and drawing from similar experiences, we aim to create value in the first conversation. And every one that follows, as we help our education clients turn challenges into opportunities. It’s Marketing Leadership in action, and it’s more than an abstract concept. It’s our brand promise.

At North Star, we define Marketing Leadership through a simple yet powerful framework.

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Macro

Let's get above the details and deadlines and think through your aims, your aspirations, your envisioned future. Let's articulate and stack-rank your priorities, then make some important decisions. Why is this worth doing? How will you measure success?

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Micro

This is all about eating details for breakfast and finessing the particulars. It goes beyond just mapping out projects to dialing in specific language, adhering to brand standards, and keeping stakeholders informed along the way.

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Mentality

This is a bias toward action. It’s a mindset, an approach that we bring to every engagement. It’s an optimistic curiosity that’s never satisfied with the status quo. And it adds a lot of energy - and even fun - to executing the strategy.

Grow your team through Marketing Leadership.

We are always learning from our clients. Our aim is to return the favor

By working with North Star, we want your team to grow its collective understanding of contemporary marketing strategies, tactics, tools, and processes. Through our collaborative approach, client teams find greater alignment and clarity. The impact often extends beyond marketing. This shared learning often results in operational improvements, as opportunities surface to refine the offerings to better connect with prospective families and students.

Here are examples of real-world scenarios where we have provided Marketing Leadership for schools, colleges, and universities.

"We need more qualified leads."

Let's get real here. Tuition dollars = oxygen. That's why nearly every school, college, university, or program we work with is interested in driving enrollment. In most cases, what they're trying isn't working (at least, not as fast as they need it to). Leadership is expecting results, even if that means going outside to find the expertise.

"We're considering a rebrand, possibly even a name change."

No, image isn't everything. But aesthetics matter. There is a direct correlation between a prospective family's (or student's) impression of your brand and their perception of the quality of the education you deliver. So make a long-term investment in your public image by dialing in your logo, tagline, and Brand Standards Guide. Then stick to it.

"We're starting a new online master's degree, and we need help planning the marketing strategy."​

We've all been there. The prospectus was developed, reviewed, approved, and added to the catalog. And almost no one signed up. Or worse, the wrong people enrolled. If you're starting a new master's degree or trying to figure out why an existing program isn't drawing a crowd, let's have a look at that. By refining your message, building out the marketing platform, and promoting to the right audience, your programs can have stronger impact.

"We're not sure what we're getting from our digital ad spend."​

This challenge takes many forms. Well-meaning team members spend hours and hours learning to manage paid search, only to see thousands of dollars flow through the account with little to show for it. A third-party paid search company that outsources your campaign to a white-labeled offshore service. Or insufficient, inaccurate reporting leaves teams wondering where their budget is going and what they're getting. There is a (much) better way.

"Our website needs a refresh."​

This is a critical conversation. Your website is the front door of your organization that presents your value proposition to qualified prospects. So you need to get it right. As you survey the possibilities, you've probably realized that the options range from "freelancing brother-in-law" to "expensive proprietary website management platforms" and everything in between. Before you get too far down the road, let's have a one-hour conversation about your team's capacity, your real needs, your budget, and your commitment to online marketing.

"We need to sharpen our messaging."

Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw said, "The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place." In enrollment marketing, it's easy to front-load the conversation with features, benefits, and facts that we find interesting about ourselves, but may in fact be of little interest to the prospective family or student. North Star's collaborative message development process will help your team identify key themes and organize them into a compelling narrative that will inform your marketing initiatives and admissions conversations.

"Our print collateral is outdated."​

Yes, print is alive and well. Why? Three reasons: 1) Because in the digital age, it's extremely challenging to tune out competing messages. Print (or the digital version of print) doesn't compete with itself. The content is dialed in and done. 2) For in-person sales meetings, whether face-to-face or virtual, a print/digital sales aid assures the entire message is delivered intact. 3) The message is portable. The person you give it to can take it with them and walk through the message with someone else. So, while we're a digital-forward agency, we still like print a heap.

"Our enrollment is soft in a particular age-and-stage."​

While they may not exactly use the language of "age-and-stage," they should. Because while families buy into a culture, they actually buy a grade level ... and the ones immediately following. So one-size-fits-all marketing initiatives often miss the mark because they're simply too generic. By building out age/stage funnels, you greatly increase your impact by speaking to families' and students' specific needs and interests.

"I'm new in a role, and I'm not sure where to begin."

If this sounds familiar, you're in good company. In our experience, particularly in the K-12 space, the majority of people working in education marketing do not have formal training in marketing. They're stitching together advice from lots of different sources, just doing their best to hit deadlines and fill seats. Before you go crazy, let's take a few minutes to zoom out and talk through a framework that can help you prioritize your time, budget ... and energy.

"We need help with SEO and paid search. How do I get the most out of my limited budget?"

Good news here. We have yet to talk to a K-12 school, college, or university that doesn't have a limited budget. So we know how to stretch a dollar. We start by helping you understand the differences between the platforms, then we unpack your lead-generation priorities. From there, it's a matter of right-sizing the strategy to fit your budget. As results come in, we collaborate with you to dial in the campaigns ... while your team works the leads. Sound like a plan?

"We've got use-it-or-lose-it money. What should we do?"

Okay, for some of you, this sounds like an episode of the Twilight Zone. But it's real. Department budgets often get clawed back if not deployed by certain deadlines. Wouldn't you rather see that cash put to work to drive awareness than just handed back? Update your website content, shoot a video, or fund a paid search campaign. The possibilities are endless, but your timeline isn't. So, let's talk. Soon.

"We don't have a cohesive marketing strategy."

If your marketing efforts feel like a series of endless deadlines, rush jobs, and fire drills, it's time to take a mental health break. For the sake of your team and the betterment of your institution, pull over and spend some time thinking through how marketing supports the your school's strategy. Our proven framework can give you the guidance you need to prioritize, plan, and implement effective campaigns.

Or, if you prefer a list of services...

MARKETING STRATEGY

BRAND IDENTITY

MESSAGE WORKSHOPS

WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT

PRINT & DIGITAL COLLATERAL

ONLINE MARKETING

TRADITIONAL ADVERTISING

PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEO

MARKETING CALENDAR

Explore the Possibilities

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