BPA Featured Article

Lead Generation Budgets Up, Third Party Calling Successful: Report

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor
February 12, 2010

Yes, it’s still a lousy economy – what, pouring a trillion dollars of taxpayer money out on pet pork barrel projects doesn’t immediately make everything all better? Slap me silly, boys, who would’ve seen that coming?

So companies are looking around for what might work. This might come as a surprise to you, it might not, but marketing budgets in the education sector – specifically for lead generation – are on the rise, according to results from the 2010 Lead Generation Benchmarking survey by ForProfitEDU.com and sponsored by Sparkroom. 

The survey said schools are overwhelmingly keeping their resources focused on lead generation activities for 2010. Virtually all respondents indicated that they are planning to increase or maintain their spending on lead generation next year – 69 percent and 17 percent, respectively. Only seven percent plan to decrease spending.

Another finding: there is a strong correlation between third party call center use and short lead response times. A commanding 82 percent of schools using third-party call centers report lead response time under 10 minutes. Only 40 percent of those using an internal call center find that kind of success, and 45 percent of those who rely on admissions reps to call can get to that level.

 “Marketing, recruitment and admissions departments have faced a number of challenges over the past few years as the market has undergone a series of rapid changes, many as a direct result of online marketing and lead gen technologies,” said Tom Ferrara, CEO of ForProfitEDU.com.

“There’s more and more pressure on higher education marketers to do more with less as the market becomes increasingly competitive,” said Jamie McDonald, president and CEO of Sparkroom. “This report confirmed what we’ve been seeing -- just a small percentage of schools are optimizing their lead management when measured by CPE.”

The survey also found that the vast majority – yes, we consider 90 a vast majority – of respondents from large schools, those with a total enrolment over 20,000 students, reported that they are using in-house lead management, rather than relying on an agency.

And social media doesn’t seem to be the silver bullet for lead generation some might have assumed it would be. Only 35 percent of respondents reporting that it is an effective tool for lead gen, compared to the 93 percent of respondents reporting that search advertising is “very effective,” the report said.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Kelly McGuire