Remarkable Growth in a Difficult Season

The entire North Star Marketing team has worked hard in 2020 to pivot decisively to a focus on enrollment marketing and education clients. There’s one team member who’s been in the thick of leading that change in a very unique way: veteran education marketing manager Kaleen Goodeill. Read more about what schools have needed this year and how they’re planning for whatever is around the bend as we celebrate Kaleen’s fourth workiversary.

Kaleen, I remember talking with you on your workiversary last year and how excited you were about working with Micah and the sales team to think more deeply about what we offer schools. And, I also remember you mentioning how much you loved helping folks in busy marketing departments stop wearing too many hats as we come alongside them and their team. I’m just thinking about how much more of both things you’ve been doing in 2020! Thanks for all your crucial leadership as NSM has made enrollment marketing our focus. Tell us a little about the last year for you.

Kaleen: You know, we had high hopes for 2020 [laughs], and it did a 180 for everyone in terms of what it would look like. This is my fourth year at North Star, but it’s been my favorite. The hardest — but my favorite — for many reasons. I remember back in January and February (the good old days of 2020) when Kyle and Andy came to me with the news that we were going to pivot the firm to focus solely on enrollment marketing. Honestly, that wasn’t all tooo surprising to me. It just made sense, but it’s meant a lot to me personally as I’ve gotten to help lead our focus on this industry.

And you’ve gotten more company this year, too, right?

Kaleen: Yes! We’ve doubled our education marketing manager team in the last year. We brought in Sue Carback in March as we recognized the need for support in client management … and then we quickly realized that wasn’t enough and kept looking for more outstanding talent. Hannah Jurius was a client of mine for two years, and it was special for me to see her come on board as our plans to continue growing our team unfolded. Helping to train our new Education Marketing Managers and watching them flourish in their client engagement makes me smile as I recognize, really, what God has done in the last year.

Any other highlights from this whirlwind year?

Kaleen: I was able to travel to Texas in July with Andy, and it was great to actually see a team member in person, and also to be a part of a seasonal message map workshop in real-time. This was for a newer client and it was wonderful to interact with their team and see a strong editorial calendar outcome for them. Our seasonal message map workshops are really shaping up into an offering that brings a ton of value, not only to schools but also to our team, as we work on content strategy.

We built three unique products from the ground up this year. They were all critical for meeting the needs of schools in ways nobody could have predicted. Being a big part of seeing those go from idea to refinement to launch was very cool. All three of our pandemic campaigns, ReSearch, Back to School, and now Switch have been very successful campaigns for our clients, and I have loved seeing the positive impact they’ve made.

And, I also need to mention being a guest member on the NSM leadership team. That’s been a privilege — to see our leaders in action and be invited to participate in big conversations. The timing was right for me to be a part of our pivot to education and restructuring our vision and focus. Navigating the pandemic as a small company has meant our leadership team faced a lot of hard decisions. I understand and have more compassion for all that team does, and I just have so much respect for how they serve us.

So, what can you tell me in response to the latest million dollar question: what do you expect the next year to look like?

Kaleen: There are still a lot of unknowns for schools. The biggest focus in the remainder of this year is keeping kids safe and healthy and communicating well with parents. We’re also working with schools who know they need to be intentional about retention strategies because many of our clients brought in record numbers of new students with parents wanting in-person education options. We keep telling everyone, no matter what their situation is — record enrollment, or a really low enrollment — now is not the time to stop marketing. You’ve got to keep building leads into your funnel so you’ll have applicants ready to fill seats next year. It’s also vital that your messaging reflects the realities of today — not what was, a year or two years ago.

Everything you’ve mentioned is exciting and worth celebrating, Kaleen, but I know we’re all looking forward to another celebration with your family in 2021.

Kaleen: Yes! We’re expecting Baby #2 in April. We have decided to not find out the gender, so we’re looking forward to that surprise and growing our family. In the meantime, our son just turned three. It’s a challenging time for us in some ways since my husband is halfway through a five-year residency program, but we’ve become more rooted and established in our community here, too. That feels great, and we’re excited about what’s ahead.

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