how to reinvent yourself to stay on top – WAU

From 1994 to the present, much has changed in the Educational Marketing scenario. Today, more than ever, it is necessary to resignify to stay on top.

We are immersed in a era of great transformations, such as the symbiosis between the past and the future, disruptive-minded generations, new threats and opportunities, different forms of abundance and scarcity, etc.

All of these changes put pressure on us to reframe our way of thinking, act and communicate.

Emerging markets are maturing, while in some traditional markets, changes in patterns in consumer behavior are being changed profoundly and rapidly.

This is the reality of the higher education education market that has undergone profound changes in the last 15 years.

Retrospective of the educational market

When I started my corporate career in the educational segment, I was scared. I realized the segment about 10 years late compared to other markets, mainly with regard to technology and management.

I remember well that at the first meeting with my new co-workers (mostly academics, with little market experience) they criticized me a lot when I said that the student was our client.

I had been hired as responsible for the marketing and communication area with the main challenge of implement the technology and philosophy of a CRM system.

The expectation for changing culture, processes and technology was very high. But before I tell you a little bit about my incredible life experience in the educational segment, and the lessons that led me to leave the corporate career and undertake in this sector, how about a retrospective, about the educational evolution?

After all, it was this reflection that impelled me to look for a solution that could actually bring differentiation, resignifying the delivery to the higher education market.

1994: too much demand and too little supply

In 1994, the private higher education sector was experiencing a plenty of demand and little supply which resulted in great competition candidate X vacancy for all undergraduate courses.

The dream of higher education became a reality for a few. And I believe that, for that reason, institutions were not yet concerned with structuring the communication and marketing sectors.

All the processes of attracting students, from the registration form, payment, proof until enrollment were carried out face-to-face.

1999: creation of the communication department

In 1999, there was a increased supply and demand remained high. It was at that moment that educational institutions created their first communication sectors, called communication advisory.

Communication with the target audience began to be carried out through advertising, direct mail, post office, telegram and some educational institutions created their websites and allowed online registration.

2002: structuring of market areas

2002 was the year milestone for the educational segment for starting to structure the market areas.

This year, they created their first marketing sectors. All the registration processes are carried out over the internet.

The competition starts to bother and investments in advertising via agencies or in-house start to become more expressive. Investments in call center and email marketing are also starting.

2010: supply exceeds demand

The years 2010 to 2017 were marked by the fight for the audience’s attention.

In the year 2010, supply was already greater than demand. THE mass media wins big investments, mainly through TV and radio.

Higher Education Institutions create their own commercial sectors, the scheduled entrance exam gains momentum, investments in call center, email marketing are consolidated and the novelty is SMS.

2013: expansion of the call center

In 2013, the number of call centers in the call center, some institutions begin to invest in CRM and most of them have social media profile, but not yet used to attract and retain students.

Content Marketing for Educational Institutions

2015: end of FIES

In 2015, with the end of FIES and the significant drop in student enrollment, institutions reduce investments in advertising and increase commercial teams.

They come to understand and work under the focus of conversion funnel, investments in online advertising increase and CRM gains more strength.

Here it is worth making a parenthesis to highlight how much we were anesthetized by FIES.

From 2012 to 2014 our conversion funnel and lead generation worked without much effort, it was fed by the super stimulant of FIES.

When it underwent changes, it had an abrupt impact on the sustainability of the cash flow of institutions that had a large part of their enrollment contingent, linked to this program.

2016: reinvention of Educational Marketing

The reinvention of Educational Marketing starts to happen in 2016. The advertising investments have greater division between traditional and online.

O Inbound Marketing invades the marketing sectors. Social media starts to generate more qualified leads and consolidate the conversion funnel. It is understood that the differential needs to be based on delivering value.

In parallel to this scenario, the numbers of private higher education in London registered even more profound changes that worsened the situation of the educational segment, such as:

  • 106% growth in the number of private institutions in the last 15 years *;
  • 66% growth in enrollment in private higher education in EAD modality in the same period *;
  • increase of about 30% in the cost of attracting students, from 2015 to 2019 **;
  • drop in graduates of high school students which will still reflect for a good few years in the enrollment funnel;
  • increase in the dropout rate of face-to-face undergraduate courses that reaches a scary 56% with students without financial support *;
  • in 2014, there were 39 students per existing course, 2017 were 21 students per existing course and in 2019 will be 16 students per existing course **.


* Map of Higher Education in London, 2017, SEMESP;

** Atmã Educar, 2018.

Anyway, there is no longer a selection process, candidate x vacancy.

It’s the candidate who has in his selection process the various options of educational institutions. And the amount will not stop growing both in relation to the number of institutions and in relation to the number of courses on offer.

The numbers can be cold and the information can have a dose of sentimentality, but the fact is that private higher education institutions need – more than ever – in addition to being efficient in their processes of capturing and retaining students, if resignify then to be at the top of the wish list of potential higher education students.

And, to boost the results of your Educational Institution, be sure to check our post with the 7 trends that should be adopted for the year 2019.

Written by Fernanda Verdolin

Fernanda Verdolin

Fernanda Verdolin is the founder of DNA Educação, Careers and Employability, a career guidance and self-management platform for increasing student employability from the perspective of attracting and retaining students: Aceleradora de Carreiras.

Graduated in public relations, she specialized in educational marketing. She has a postgraduate degree in business management, strategy and marketing, as well as a master in administration. She worked in companies of great expressiveness in the area of ​​information technology, such as TOTVS, worked as a teacher, coordinator of a postgraduate course and specialized in the education segment as well as a marketing executive.