16: Future-Proofing Your Higher Ed Marketing Department w/ T-Shaped Marketers at National University

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Aaron Edgell, Head of Marketing Services at National University, discusses how when staffing your higher ed marketing department, you don’t want to hire generalists, or specialists, but both.

The high performers, the talented folks,they don't want to be in a box they're, always looking for growth, they're,always looking to learn new things, and I don't want to put them in their box. You're, listening to enrolment growth,university from Helik Education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Romant at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh and Roman growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to anromant GrowthUniversity, I' Meri, Golsom, AVP of marketing and heal its education andwe're here today with Aaron Adgell Head of Marketing Services at NationalUniversity Aran thanks so much for joining us today. Happy do we with youare, and I have been colleagues before and he's one of my absolute favoritedigital mines, ind higher education, we're going to have a greatconversation today about how, when...

...building a team, you don't necessarilywant to hire generalists or specialists, but both with this concept of tshapedhiring. But before we get too far into that Eron. Can you get the listeners alittle bit better understanding of both National University and your role theresure so? Nationalew University was founded in one thousand nine hundredand seventy one by a veteran, and it was really founded on the the premisethat a higher ed wasn't helping working adults, specifically ind military,active and invet. So founded on that premise. It's been going strong for fordecades now and based in San Diego California, but wehave campuses all throughout California and we are one of the highest. Weactually crerdental more teachers in California than any other highereditstitution. So my role at national, I'm actually at the the system level,so national universitversity system, mostly with National Niversity, that'sour flagship and my role there is to manage all of the marketing services.So that's when we're executing...

...marketing and media buying. That iswhat we do and right now heavy into the National Niversity side of things, butagain we're trying to set up to become an agency so that internal Agencye, sothat we can work with all of our affiliates awesome awesome and I thinkhigher red inherently breeds specialists faculty who are beautifullyobsessed with a small NITF, a field they dedicate their entire life to itspursuit. But you argue that as more and more becomes expected of the Higher EdMarking Department to solve all our and Roman growth goals and challenges, wecan't take that same hiring approach to talk about this concept of hiringtshaped marketers. To help do all the work, that's being asked of hire anmarketing departments, sure yeah. So I was first introduced to the thisconcept. I believe it was pioneered at idio and there's a there's, aninterview with Tim Brown, CEO, and he talked about the need for that in andthey're strong, an design. So it's a very collaborative environment and afew years after I saw that interview, I...

...became really popular in the digitalmarketing space with maws and distilled had some articles about it, and I love theconcept because the digital world, so there's no longer like a separationbetween digital and traditional marketing. They really have to cofusetogether and become one and it's changing it such a rapid rate. So theconcept of a tshape marketer is they can go broad so that top of the T is isbroad in not only skill set, but also in empathy and and the ability tocollaborate. So you have that top of the tea, but we still need thosespecialists who can contribute in paid search in SCEO, because we have toexecute my goal like it and and the demands of high red or the ability toactually get it and do the work right. So I have my team has to be able toexecute. So if it's just the tea, the top of the tea, we don't execute, we can hire agencies.We can hire other people and coordinate,...

...but you need a team that cancollaborate across can hire if we need to and work with external parties, butI need the ability to own the strategy and to be able to execute eternally. Solet's say I have a paid search position open on my team and a resume comesacross my desk from someone who lives and breathes paid. SEARH boptimizationhas for a decade Theyre Google adward certified their being ad certified.What kind of resume would get you even more excited than that one? So it'sreally hard to to see it on a resume. To be honest, soyou'll see the eye shape right e. The depths like you said that I know thatthey come with some paid search experience, sometimes on a resumeyou'll see that they've they' had exposure or done something else, but Ithink we're trained on our resumes to be very specific. If it's a role indirector of paid search, I I'm going to try to show that I've just done paidsearch so a lot of times. You won't know until the interview when you talkto them, you can see their how di they...

...talk about the way they collaboratedwith other team members and crossfunctional or how a they are. Theycurious about other things like I'll. Ask those kind of questions like whatelse are you interested in digit warkening, ITZ, Pat Search, Yeah Lik?What have you learned recently, just just to kind of suss out theircuriosity? I love it. What are the some of the benefits of having a team oftshape marketers in times of transition when someone resigns or your forced tolet someone go? Oh, this is this is one of the kind of the side benefits. I trynot to look at it as the main benefit, but it's a huge benefit. So if you'vegot cross training, I always try to build. When I come into a new role, I'mtrying to build up a team, I inherit some of the team members that existedbefore. What I'm trying to do is reorganize us. So number one there'soverlap. So if somebody goes on vacation, we don't just not send emailanymore because they're no longer ther katter out for a week right. So thebenefit is that there's some cross...

...functional training and if somebody'sot on vacation, we can still move forward. I try to build this engine ofcontinuous improvement, I'm a strong believer in like agi methodologies,where we're moving quick and I don't care. If you get it wrong, you just. Weneed to move faster and always be getting better. So if repeating thesame mistakes, that's a problem so tshape allows that to happen Han. Ifind that the different personality, if you can connect on different levels and collaborate, for example, in Seo,you can jump in you can be in a conversation. You can jump in and youunderstand it. I love it. I love it because highered markting departmentsare trying to do so much now in adding brand new functions. I think many headshave defaulted to hiring specialists to fill those functional gaps at theirinstitutions. A email marketers, like you, mentioned social media marketersmarketing analysts, but there's often no inherent advancement plan in placefor those specialists in reality, they're often just small teams, onewithin this larger department. How does hiring tshape marketers help createmore natural advancement paths at your...

...institution yeah. So that's a greatquestion: What I've done in the past so I'll look at what soi'll make anassessment of here's the team I have and then, if, if I need to elevate I'mlooking at two things, do I need to elevate this position within theorganization, so they know that we meen business, for example, data n analytics.So I created one of the first positions I created at this new role was adirector of marketing analytics and optimization, because I want the entireteam, my team, but also the broader institution, to understand that thatwe're serious about it. We care about data, driven decisions or data, informdecisions, that's another conversation, so the ability to to have somebody whocomes in and what I've found is a lot of these. So the way I've hired, thatis, they have a little bit of different background, but then they went deep inmarketing atalytics, but they have exposure to digital marketing in thepast. So they've gone deep, but they have. I can see in their careerprogression that they've had exposure to other things. So that's that's,maybe- and maybe that's on the resume...

...thing as I'm looking the higher. Butwhat I found, though, is like high the high performers, the talented folks.They don't want to be in a box they're always looking for growth, they're,always looking to learn new things, and I don't want to put them in their boxand say Nope, that's where you stay, because I hired you for this role. Theyhave to own that and I make that clear to the team you have to own your world.This is what you own. This is what you're responsible for. Ultimately, butwhat else are you interested or we could hear the problems I'm trying tosolve? If you can help me solve them, I would love to elevate somebodyinternally to help solve it. So I always leave those those things open. Ifind that it helps, retain and get get the team excited, but to your point,there's natural progression so as the industry evolves and has a new channelor go don't want. If snapchat somehow becomes this massive thing I don't needto. I shouldn't have to hire some kind of specialist for that or other changesin the industry or a new channel opens up or paid search dust completely dies.My hope is, my team is built strong enough that we can adapt to that it'llbe a little rocky of certainly paid...

...search, dives, but Mi'm trying to build this resilientteam to where we can adapt and be Nimble. I really love that Approachanand I'm going to take that that bag, an give back to what you mentioned beforeabout the difference between data driven and dad informed. What did youmean by that? So data driven means. We look atnumbers and we just rereact to them the way. What I found is people justeliminate all gut and experience from it date in for means we're makingdecisions grounded in data. You can always measure everything right, so ifI'm, if I've launched TV in a new market and I'm trying to measure direct,so let's look at brand search- is that increasing in tha in that DMA? Are wegetting additional traffic in that DMA and that we isolated it's excludedfaculty in existing students? Sometimes you don't know like we just looked at.I looked at data this past couple weeks and it's not always clear and so dateinformed, is more of it's informing our decisions, but it's not driving everysingle decision that we make awesome,...

...really good distinction. I think peopleoften stick in a functional lane where they're comfortable the lane, wherethey naturally excel. Let's say you have or have ininherited a bunch of. Ishaped marketers on your team, great talents, but specialist, often in asingle function. How do you intentionally create an environmentwhere your team feels confident in the value they're adding but they're bothencouraged and expected to be openly vulnerable in their areas of weaknessin order to help turn them into more tshaped marketers? So it's a toughthing to do, depending on how long and and depth of an expert they are andwhat they do. They've been doing it for a really long time. They may not meanit's really hard. One of the things that I do that I implement, as I like,to get everybody in the same room, all functional experts and if I'm doing aquarterly planning or even just a tea meeting where we talkabout the different areas, and then I...

...will try to. I will pinpoint differentteam members on the team. If somebody's trying to solve a problem, I sometimeswill help connect the dots for them if they have a hard time doing it so I'llpoint out, for example, like the h example I mentioned, where media so fordoing, media buying and traditional media and traditionally digitalmarketers, having been a heavy digital worker myself, we don't give credit tolike the traditional TV. Okay, well, we'll ti spend it because we can'ttrack it and all of this. But if we're having that conversation I'll try tohave that paid search person in the room and talk about that connectionlike this will impact your brand search most likely or impact other things, sosometimes it's just getting them all in the same room and connecting adots forthem. Additionally, what I like to do istraining and learning a's. Certainly, if we're we're in education, we shouldbe increasing our own education, so I try to facilitate learningopportunities for that such good stuff, an Aran thanks so much for joining ustoday. What is the best place for...

...listeners to connect with you if theyhave any followef questions, so I'm on Linkedon, just Aran Angel on Linkeinand that's probably the BS best place right now. I do respond to twitter, soyou could also hit me up there. It's at Aaron Edgel. In fact, I'm arnangleverywhere. Try to connect with me. Andi'll respondbe happy to do that. He's a really good one to connect with folks highlyrecommended awesome, Aarin thanks again so much we're joining us today welcomespleasure, be with you attracting today's new post. Traditional learnersmeans adopting new enromant strategies: Keeliks educations data drivenenterprise, wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges anduniversities thrive in this new education, landscape and Helex has justpublished the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook, with fiftypercent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's mostpressing andromant growth challenges download it today for free at Helocs,Educationcom playbook...

...you've been listening to enromentgrowth university from helics education to ensure that you never miss anepisode subscribe to the show in Itunes were your favorite podcast player.Thank you so much for listening until next time.

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