10: How Fresno Pacific University Leverages Faculty in Their Enrollment Marketing w/ Jillian Coppler

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Jillian Coppler, Executive Director of Enrollment Marketing at Fresno Pacific University, discusses the enrollment growth benefits of prioritizing healthy relationships between faculty and your enrollment marketing office.

Find a breakdown of this episode here.

Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this new education landscape, and Helix has just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges. Downloaded today for free at Helix Educationcom. Slash playbook. You're listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university. I'm Miraicleson, AVP of marketing at Helix...

Education, and we're here today with Jillian Coppler, executive director of enrollment marketing at Fresno Pacific University. Jill, thanks so much for joining us today and happy birthday, by the way. Thanks Eric. It's great to talk to you. We are honored you would choose to spend a few minutes of your birthday with us. Jill and I first became friends at an adult education conference nearly seven years ago when I was looking on twitter for a fellow to come explore Austin with me, and she's been one of my absolute favorite hired friends ever since. We're going to have a great conversation today about how Jill Enter team really leverage faculty across all of their enrollment marketing efforts. But before we get into that, Jill, can you give the listeners a little bit better understanding of both Fresno Pacific and your role there? Sure. Yeah, you mentioned I am the executive director of enrollment marketing and so I have a small team under the enrollments umbrella who basically execute all of the enrollment related marketing, so separate from our advancement efforts and sort of overall brand messaging. But we...

...do a lot more of the targeted communication and that is everything from digital advertising to email marketing, content marketing, social media, and we have an internal design and production team that we work very closely with. Hands so that's that's one of my area. President, Pacific as a whole where a midsize Christian University in this Central Valley of California. We have a prediverse portfolio of student populations. We have a seminary, we have a degree completion evening programs, we have traditional undergraduate and we have a lot of graduate programs, sally an education, which is one of our flagships. So yeah, well, it midsize and growing. Just today Fresno Pacific announced record breaking enrollment. You guys passed four thousand active students for the first time in your institutions history. So huge congrats to both you and your team. Thank you. It really excited about that, particularly in the adult student growth at twenty five percent growth yer of year with degree completions. So that was really exciting for us. Awesome...

...and I'm excited to talk about one of the factors behind that growth today. This really tight bond that you've intentionally built between marketing and faculty. At as we all know, at many institutions faculty and marketing aren't exactly bffs. How did you build that bridget fres no Pacific, and why do you think it's so important to prioritize healthy relationships between faculty and your enrollment? Marketing Office. Yeah, it's a great question. I know it's something that we talked about before. Really early on in my high ED career I really picked up on this tension between enrollment and academics and it was sort of look curious about what that was about. It seems pretty unique and and then he started hearing that it was very common and higher ad as a whole. So I was really struck by, you know, the commonality of this and was really kind of just spent some time chewing on it and thought uncomfortable about it because, you know, we're all a team and we all are here to serve our students. And so I began doing annual program director of meetings just to sort of...

...build a relationship review the status of things, and those were always tricky because how do you deal with a dynamic of sort of who is in charge and and how is this going to play out? And over time what I developed was really a working model. It's pretty simple. It's a it's a power point that we review per program and it goes to a number of things. The first is features, benefits, an outcome. So it's just a quick review to to kind of dialog around how we're positioning the program and to think about other ways we might enhance our marketing. We look at the marketplace. So what are what are jobs? What are the career outcomes that sudes can expect and what are the average salaries? Even for that, we look at lead to Admins, conversion and trends. So we look at a year year snapshot and then a five year and we also look at demographics, knowing that we who are we positioning a sort of the ideal student in our testimonials and marketing. We look at a quick competitor review, we review the ads that...

...we have running and then I do quick slot at the end just for my own take. It helps me to kind of a tune to what's going on with the program and and again, all of this is really a dialog. So there are times where there's a lot of back and plot. Like I think this is a stain, I think this is a chance, you know, but what as is it creates a space where we can really talk holistically about the program and it helps to keep us out of just kind of dialog about solutions that really looking at, you know, what, what are the potential, you know, challenges and assets that we can leverage and then eventually we'll get to some solutions and sort of takeaways from the program. But that's been really successful. I had a program director, actually a number, who responded after those meetings and those are really just fully taken shape in the last year. But had program both to say that was the best meaning I ever had, and so that's really gratifying and it says we're come on the right track with how we're we're engaging in the relationship. I love that concept of...

...these annual health check meetings. I know historically when I was on campus, I would specifically prioritize meetings with my program directors when I needed something from them when I was redoing their website. But I didn't always maintain those relationships and I missed out on a lot of amazing things in value propositions and change in the program that we're happening because I just wasn't making it a priority to ad to regularly check in. So I love that you just have those calendar off you mentioned something else offline about something that you include in those meetings, those three golden questions you make sure to ask each faculty in those meetings. Can you talk about that? Yeah, I think this is these questions kind of a rose from ears working with program directors and I really think there are a great way to kick off the relationship. And so the questions are pretty straightforward. I start off by asking what drew them into their field. You know, what are they passionate about, and that usually gets into some kind of, you know, emotional hook that would resonate with the kind of student that wants to participate in that program. So it's really helpful to know what's that...

...emotional hook that we can kind of work off of, because whatever the program director is really passionate about in the field, usually the people who want to pursue a career or going to be similar passionate. The second question is simply what makes their program you need, you know, it's it's the question of is there anything that you do in your program it's different from what others do, and that just gets to the distinctives that we might, you know, possess ourselves as a standout from from other competitors. There so many programs offered across institutions that really are basically the same, and so, you know, continuing to ask that question of what's different about you really kind of helps us again just be more distinctive than the inner marketing. And then a third question is just acting them like what's your favorite thing that they do in the course work? It could be a class, a teach and assignment, but usually like what do you have the most fun with or what's most innovative? Asking questions about that usually give you a great story to tell. So those tends...

...to be the things that you would feature social media or even a video or you know, basically that's sort of the gold mind for content marketing. I love it. I love it. And out of these meetings, what kind of content do you leave these meetings and work with faculty to specifically help create for you? Yes, that's a great question. You know, it's sometimes it's as simple as like hey, this is a book I recommend for any student coming into this field or this program. And so we can do like a little, you know, blog coast or a bit about that. We've recently integrated marketing clouds as our email service provider and it's giving us a ton of flexibility to segment communication by program and so a lot of what we do is just a quick kind of a Qa with our program directors and that allows us to do a little kind of get to know you for our lead content marketing. It's it personalizes the program and we think that's really helpful. It's...

...also, you know, in addition to the the powerpoint, I have a checklist. It's kind of a I think that's the health check really the need of it, and and it asks program directors more in depth questions about things that we can use to, you know, leverage what they're doing. So some of the questions are as simple as are there titles for this field that are different than the titles the program that we need to make sure we're embedding and in copy for Seo or in our search strategy. It also can do things like what are you doing in your thought leadership? Have you published anything? Are you speaking at conferences? You know, is there a topic that you're currently researching that you might want to just do a quick little live facebook session about anything that they're doing in their thought leadership that we can kind of pull into, you know, the appropriate platform is really helpful. It's also asking questions about like what are the other you know, what are your industry contacts? Who might we we use and leverage your you know professional relationships with...

...and our recruitment teams and you know, bring from about outreach of them, and so it's really pretty broad and it's go but it's a great way for them to think about things beyond kind of have a brochure or when do I get a video feature or you know some of those standard things that people go to because they see a lot of it really really good stuff there. Jill, how do you strike that balance between getting faculty help and buying on your marketing efforts like you're doing, without giving up control all together and letting them say, Hey, you don't need to write the website, I already wrote the catalog copy. Just use that. How do you strike that balance between getting their buying without them taking over? Yeah, it's a great question. I think it's one that all of us in Enrollment Related High Reed Marketing Struggle with and I think you know that sort of is an inherent in that is a power struggle and I think you kind of have to take you have to focus on the relationships to sort of take it out of that realm and that's where I think you know, first of all, the those golden questions are...

...really helpful to start from a place of relationship, because it's asking questions and not making statements, and already that postures you a little differently. I think for me also, what was really helpful was to understand what faculty have at stake. I'm often looking at, you know, Sixty five plus program directors that I'm that I'm trying to engage in relationship with, but for the most part they're engaging just with one relationship. It's there. They're focused on their program and the marketing for that program and so trying to be able to put myself in their stays and understand there's a lot of fear when a program is, you know, declining in numbers, especially because this is the thing that that faculty has probably invested, you know, most of their life in in developing either through their own education or the curriculum development it's teaching. They have a lot bought into this and a lot at stake, and so I think keeping that in my own mind helps me to be as much as I do...

...with them. I think being is as important as doing when we're talking about building relationships to begin with. So I think by just taking a different posture, I think that's the first step. The second thing is really coming having done our own homework. I think that's the value of these kind of working powerpoint presentations that I do, because it gives a lot of data and so it really shows that, like, Hey, we care about your program we're looking at it, promote the lenses. We're really trying to be strategic and thoughtful about solving problems that may be arising, and it also helps us to kind of really talk more realistically about the health of the program having that that kind of health protect is really important because we can continue to promote and promote and promote, but if there's something that's in discord, all we're doing is drawing people's attention to, you know, something that's not great. You know it's where the reputation is not good, the quality has some issues, there's no real career, you know, viability for these programs, and so we...

...want to just open the conversation about those things because they're important. We can't, we can't, neglect, you know, that deeper analysis so of what's going on in a program for the sake of somebody's feelings. Honestly, Jill, such such good stuff. Any final tips you can leave us with? For folks who are looking to better leverage faculty in there in Roman communications or a good place to start when trying to build that bridge that might have been broken from past relationships between faculty and marketing. Yeah, it's a you know, it's a question. I think I've become really passionate about it because I've spent a lot of time trying to work through it and I feel like we've made a ton of progress and we're we still have a long way to go and and honestly, what I would say to to others, peers in higher ed marketing is really trying to step into the other person's shoes. You know, it's one of those things as like we learned everything we needed to know kindergarten him. You know, it's just about how how we approach people is really important, and so if we come at it from a place of power struggle, it's probably all it's ever going to be. But if we take...

...some time to reposition ourselves, I think that invites other people to do similarly. So I would say, you know, focus on asking, you know yourself, like what you hoping to get out of this, not just in terms of a business outcome, but how can we be more collaborative as a team, because we all have to be in this together. High read is, you know, we, most of us, have been facing, you know, declining enrollment. You know that's the that's the overall trend, and so if we're going to succeed in this, we need to swim together. We're going to think and and I think. I think really taking that idea of postering and using that into the way in which you you meet and interact with progre doctors will be a really good place to start. I think everything will kind of fall into place from that. She'll love the same team bro Attitude. Really great advice for all of us. Jail, thanks so much for joining us today. What is the best place for listeners to connect with you if they have any follow up questions or just want to wish you a...

...happy birthday? Hey, yeah, well, anybody can reach me my on twitter. My handle is j coppler, CEO PPELA are. You can find me on link to end or you can even email me at Jillian doc coppler at fres and I eat. You be happy to engage with anybody. Awesome. Thanks against so much for joining us today. Jill Oh it's good to talk to you eric. Thanks. You've been listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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