Paring Down Search Isn’t Easy, But It’s Not Impossible
The days of “If you build it, they will come” are over.
It’s getting real for most private and regional state colleges and universities. The days of “If you build it, they will come” are over. It’s time to dig deep into what truly makes your institution unique and convey that to the fewest of the best college-bound prospects for your college. Instead of looking at Wider Net strategies, most institutions are having to pare down.
Paring down is trickier than it sounds though. It’s easy to assess that the days of buying the best new ACAC circuit gimmick are over. But on the other side, bringing everything in house means over-burdening counselors who should be counseling. Additionally, it requires them to become marketing experts in short order and until they are, your school’s efforts under-perform. In his book “Shrink”, Zondervan, 2014, Tim Suttle says “The enemy of good is great”. Obviously, that’s an unexpected reversal of a popular ‘80s idiom. I think the same principles that apply to us as individual consumers apply to our businesses and institutions in the new world order.
It is the era when the “lean” and not necessarily the “strong” will survive.
This is the era of the small, but experienced search consultant. One who can deftly examine your historical data to see who comes and retains and convert that into a small but strong net. Most CRMs have the bandwidth to streamline the process and ensure follow up once the right prospects have inquired and applied. But CRMs don’t find the ideal prospects for you. For that, you will always need a skilled search source. It’s getting real, but you can shrink the budget without shrinking the prospect pool that matriculates. You don’t need a quarter and a half million-dollar annual budget conglomerates. You need a small search consultant with references and a proven track record of return on investment.