Knowing how to effectively market executive education requires strategic targeting and messaging. A lifelong pursuit for many people, education is a continuum that persists far beyond graduation day. Regardless of industry or niche today, ongoing professional development is key to working at the top of your field. In fact, gone are the days where employers just look at past education on resumes — they’re interested in employees who are investing in ongoing development. Technology and best practices are continually transforming, and so should the people powering the workforce.
Executive learning is an important tool for businesses to cultivate top leadership talent. As technology advances and the need for leadership and improved skills increases, so has the interest in executive education programs. From person learning to leadership skills, individuals and businesses alike are searching for business schools and marketing programs that can provide top-tier executive education.
While ongoing education has never been more relevant, challenges still exist for executive education marketers. Continue exploring this post to learn how to boost enrollment and attract the types of students you need with the right executive education marketing strategy.
What Makes Marketing Executive Education Programs Challenging?
The executive education program market is booming — surpassing $37.8B in 2021 and continuing to grow. Employees are searching for reputable business schools with executive education programs that fit their unique needs and can take their careers to the next level. They need the flexibility required to make executive education work for their unique, specific needs, which can be challenging for marketing programs to achieve. Additionally, the rise of person learning executive courses has created a saturated, competitive market.
The Effects of the Pandemic on the Education Industry
The education space — and executive education specifically — have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including a steep ongoing decline in enrollment and rising competition from online courses and alternative post-secondary offerings. When it comes to competing for students, the competition has never been more fierce.
The pandemic also prompted universities and business schools to offer online courses and introduce more virtual learning programs in lieu of in-person programs. Self-paced online, live programs and part-time programs are offered at a spectrum of educational institutions, which allow more students in the workforce to access continuing education through their preferred mode of learning.
To stay competitive in this ever-changing education world, executive education programs must provide a differentiated online learning platform and engagement vision — including online, hybrid, residential and on-site programs — and properly market their offerings and benefits.
6 Steps For Promoting and Marketing Executive Education Programs
Marketing executive programs is not without challenges. Consider these six tips when creating your executive education marketing strategy to achieve the most success.
1. Hone In On Your Niche
Who are you trying to reach? The answer to this question will inform your niche — not necessarily a specific industry, but instead, the who that your program is designed to help. I.e. Local mid-level executives with a part-time, in-person learning commitment. Developing consumer personas will help you identify your niche — think location, age, education background, gender, industry, level of seniority, job title, preferred mode of learning, interests, etc.
2. Research Your Audience
Now that you know who you are targeting, you can better explore how your executive education program will benefit ideal prospective students. What is the biggest motivation behind their decision to invest in your program? Are the benefits primarily for the business they currently work for, such as team leadership skills? Or, are you offering a course that will help people accelerate their careers; such as a female leadership level program?
3. Sell Through Storytelling
Once you understand who you are targeting and what their motivation is you can create messaging and content that inspires them to enroll in your program. Think program benefits, testimonials, unlocked opportunities, achieving the life they want to lead, etc.
4. Time Your Messaging
When your audience receives your content could be even more important than what the message entails. If you’re targeting corporations, consider when businesses are setting annual budgets for training and staff development. If your target audience is self-funded, consider the investment level and subsequent time needed to make the decision. If your program requires a significant time period to complete, expect the enrollment decision period to correlate in length.
5. Continue Sharing Resources
Considering executive courses takes time. Financially, personally and professionally, logistics must align for prospective students to officially enroll. Make sure your marketing tactics include an ongoing, long-term strategy to stay top of mind when that time comes.
6. Team Up With an Education Marketing Expert
Need help taking your executive education marketing program where it needs to go? Consider partnering with an education PR and content marketing agency with the expertise to help your organization achieve its marketing goals. Well-versed in the executive courses arena and armed with a spectrum of social media, digital marketing and content marketing experience, Communications Strategy Group (CSG®) can design a personalized executive education marketing strategy for your program that gets results.
FAQs About Marketing Executive Education
What factors influence the success of marketing campaigns for executive education programs?
The largest factor comes down to truly knowing your audience. Who are they? Where do they live? Where do they work? What are their goals? What are their challenges? How can your program improve their life? Messaging that incorporates the answers to these questions is the key to a successful executive education marketing strategy.
What are the best ways to measure ROI for marketing executive education?
Calculating return on investment, or ROI, is one of the best ways to measure the effectiveness of your campaign. ROI simply compares the profit that resulted from your executive education marketing strategy to how much the campaign cost to create and deploy.
The basic ROI calculation is:
ROI = (Net Profit/Total Cost)*100
How to choose a marketing strategy for executive education programs?
The most effective executive education marketing strategies are personalized to the unique qualities of the executive education program. What makes your offerings unique? The answer to that question should form your entire marketing strategy.
Are You Ready To Take Your Executive Education Marketing Strategy To The Next Level?
With the right insights, messaging and strategy, your executive education program can achieve new marketing, enrollment and branding benchmarks. Driven by an affinity for ongoing learning experiences and steeped with expertise in marketing executive programs, CSG can help you design an executive education marketing strategy that gets results.
Whether you are trying to get your message in front of a new audience, reach potential students, build brand reputation or introduce new executive courses, the right education marketing agency can help you achieve your goals.