We take a comprehensive, customized and data-driven approach to marketing each university brand and integrate all efforts across a proprietary mix of online and offline channels specific to each program category. We call this the AP MarketingEdge. Unique in the online program management industry, our marketing organization is built around high-demand program verticals and led by seasoned subject matter experts with a deep understanding of program-level attributes, audience needs and effective marketing strategies that yield strong enrollment growth.
Market Research & Analysis
Prior to any new program launch, we conduct a strategic analysis of market size and potential, demand trends and competition. Together with partner universities, we develop the most competitive positioning for each online degree program.
A true differentiator for our partners is our field marketing organization, the largest of any online service provider. This highly effective team of field sales representatives builds thriving relationships on behalf of our partners by targeting employers including hospitals, hospital systems, school districts, teachers' unions, municipal governments, community colleges and other professional organizations to connect with potential students.
To optimize field sales effectiveness, we use our robust, in-house prospect database to drive geo-targeted traffic to field-based activities and promotions such as conferences, career fairs, webinars and in-person information sessions.
Through our proprietary approach, we identify prospective students through algorithms and behavioral targeting and continually refine our digital tactics based on real-time performance data. Our digital team leverages expertise in search engine marketing, content marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, video and social media marketing to create media that is responsive to multiple user platforms including mobile, tablet and desktop. We work with Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Bing, as well as additional affiliates, to directly target specific audiences.
Our in-house team of digital experts includes creative writers, graphic designers, video production specialists and front end website developers, as well as IT specialists to build and maintain lead generation content, media and partner sites on an ongoing basis.
Broadcast Radio and Streaming
Traditional Marketing and Public Relations
We employ traditional (offline) forms of marketing including radio, direct mail, newspaper, magazine and outdoor advertising to supplement digital and field-based marketing efforts. These efforts are executed by our in-house creative team and media buyers and are generally deployed at initial program launch and expansion or to geo-target specific audiences.
AP also leverages public relations campaigns as appropriate to increase awareness of a partner's online offerings and to drive enrollment growth.[close-]
AP's in-house integrated marketing team is a large group of skilled digital, creative, analytics, marketing and IT professionals known for deep expertise in higher education as well as experience in advertising, media, retail, services and product marketing.
Integrated Marketing That Relies on Subject Matter Experts
Our integrated marketing team is organized around high-demand vertical degree programs including business, education and healthcare. Each vertical team is led and staffed with subject matter experts with deep understanding of each program category and target audiences. This structure aligns subject-specific marketing, recruitment and enrollment services, providing our partner universities with unmatched programmatic depth and expertise.
Business & Undergraduate
AP's marketing outcomes are driven by its talented and highly experienced in-house teams which include:
- Acquisition Marketing – This group targets the breadth of digital marketing channels from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to organic content, Social Media Optimization (SMO) and mobile markets.
- Analytics – This team extracts value from data and testing to optimize lead acquisition performance.
- Student Experience Management – This team deploys and tests contact strategies to discover and nurture prospective students. It also manages ongoing email communications to applied and enrolled students.
- Creative Services – This team of writers, designers and developers designs and creates digital and traditional marketing assets—including websites, landing pages, emails, digital banners, flyers, outdoor, direct mail and print ads—serving as a virtual in-house creative agency for our partner launches and campaigns.
- Video – This team develops informative videos and photos that help communicate each partner's unique value proposition to nurture online students.
Marketing Tools & Technologies
In today's bustling consumer environment, overcoming marketing noise with meaningful messages customized to target audiences is vital. Our up-to-the-minute digital marketing technologies and tools are key to helping position our university partners as the dominant providers of online programs across their market reach.
Performance Measurement and Analytic Tools
We track lead generation efforts in real time across marketing channels, geographies and devices, using Adobe Analytics, Adobe Target, Google Analytics, IBM Watson Campaign Automation, Tealium, Qualaroo, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Tableau and a variety of proprietary reports. We also constantly A/B test images, copy, call-to-action buttons, keywords, ad copy and landing pages to ensure the best partner returns through campaign optimization. We also stay abreast of industry benchmarks to help our partners outperform the marketplace.
Our tracked metrics include, among others:
Traffic (and actions); visit-to-lead conversion; backlinks
Impressions; clicks; cost-per-click; click-through-rates; lead conversion rates; quality scores
Emails sent vs. delivered; open rates; click-through-rates; lead conversion rates
Lead Life Cycle
Lead to apply timeframe, seasonal trends, promotional scholarship redemption
Tracking response rates, over lift metrics versus control groups
Content and Social Marketing
Page views, return visits, conversion rate, article topics, social campaigns
The mission of our marketing team is to represent each university brand with great care and integrity to deliver results that meet and exceed our partners' enrollment goals.
The following example demonstrates the work of our integrated Marketing Services team, highlighting the impact of the Field Sales team.
Field Sales Spikes Enrollment Growth
Challenge: A public university with declining enrollment in its Master of Education degrees sought to reverse course by going online and serving a broader population of teachers.
Solution: AP partnered to expand the university's online brand presence and drive enrollment through an enhanced mix of marketing and student recruitment activities. In addition to digital tactics including display advertising, email, and search engine optimization, a team of Field Sales representatives was deployed throughout the region in a focused effort to increase program awareness among education stakeholders and potential student audiences.
Results: The combination of dedicated field sales activity and a robust digital marketing strategy enabled the university to:
- Grow enrollments from an adjacent state by 150% in one year
- Become the largest online provider of education programs in the state and rank #2 among U.S. public graduate education programs based on enrollments