Higher Ed Growth’s Joe Laskowski on Compliance as the Game-Changer

By Shahnaz Mahmud for LeadsCon.com

Just say the word “compliance” and it’s enough to elicit woe-is-me looks from executives across the board. However, for Higher Ed Growth, it has essentially changed the way the company does business, all with the goal of sustainability in mind.
Higher Ed Growth is a sponsor of the upcoming LeadsCon Las Vegas Conference in mid-March. The company, which works to boost enrollment for colleges and universities, shifted its business model in 2013 after seeing the industry experience a major transformation to primarily call-verified prospects. They deployed proprietary and third-party technology solutions to ensure compliance and to provide a level of transparency to their clients that they feel was unprecedented.

“Today, we generate prospects for over 400 EDU brands via call center and Web forms using our end-to-end solution called Call Comply,” explains Managing Partner and Chief Marketing Officer Joe Laskowski. “We have the ability to customize each campaign based on the goals and attributes of the school. No two media plans look alike, and that level of customization makes for a better user experience and ultimately a better outcome for both the student and institution.”
The Uncertainty Factor
Legislation has called for greater compliance, and that continues to be the main challenge the lead gen industry faces or more to the point as Laskowski says, “the uncertainty that surrounds it.”

“We fully support a set of rules or guidelines to better police the industry, but it seems as though it is being driven entirely by those that do not understand the implications or for political gain,” he says. “As more and more governing agencies start to get involved, it becomes clearer that there is a lack of understanding about the overall industry and too much emphasis on a few bad apples. Let’s continue to focus on student outcomes and job placement, but let’s do it together. Cutting out the subject matter experts that are doing things the right way seems quite shortsighted and will ultimately hurt students.”

Laskowski joined Higher Ed Growth in 2011, which by all accounts was a happy accident. The conversation began as to how to potentially work together as business partners and ended with an offer to become a partner.

“It was a perfect match,” says Laskowski. “Four years later, myself and the other three working partners have a great relationship and all bring something different to the table. Together, we have grown revenue 10 times and catapulted our brand to one of the top EDU lead generators in the space.”

Beating to a Different Drum
Great relationships should be a no-brainer to the success of most businesses. But in an industry that sometimes can be transactional in nature, that is not always the case. Laskowski feels Higher Ed Growth beats to a different drum.

“I want to understand our clients and their business,” says Laskowski. “I want to collaborate on challenges and encourage mutual transparency. I want a partnership that breeds mutual success. Probably one or more times a month I pass on a campaign because we are being forced to run it in a way that we know will not work. Three months later we have cashed a few checks, and the client is not happy and moves on. No one wins. I’d rather not do that deal if our opinions and expertise are not considered.” This, he stresses, is the company’s philosophy – one that defines Higher Ed Growth and its culture.

This is something Laskowski hopes LeadsCon attendees will come to understand about Higher Ed Growth. Now in its fourth year of sponsorship for the conference, the company will be on hand to talk about their products and philosophy (and will have a caricature artist in its booth!). Higher Ed Growth will be showcasing its SAAS product, EduMaximizer. “This tech has really revolutionized the way call centers can manage multiple clients as well as how schools may interact with and manage multiple affiliates they may use to generate their prospects,” Laskowski explains. So educate yourself on Higher Ed Growth at LeadsCon Las Vegas.

LeadsCon.com Article Link: http://www.leadscon.com/higher-ed-growths-joe-laskowski-on-compliance-as-the-game-changer/

2016 Event Calendar

Higher Ed Growth is excited to be participating in the below 2016 conferences and expositions:


Innovation Education Summit
Hotel Terra
Teton Village, Wyoming
Jan 25-28, 2016


LeadsCon Las Vegas
The Venetian Resort & Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada
March 15-17, 2016


APSCU Annual Convention & Exposition
Rosen Shingle Creek
Orlando, Florida
June 5-8, 2016


Comply 2016
Dream Downtown
New York, NY
June 8, 2016


Call Center Week
Mirage Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, NV
June 15-19, 2016


LeadsCon New York
The New York Hilton Midtown
New York, New York
August 22-24, 2016


BMO Capital EDU Conference
New York, NY
September 15, 2016

EduMaximizer Video

How to Achieve Positive Student Outcomes by Leveraging Big Data

Student outcomes have remained a topic of significance within the higher education industry in recent years. The benchmarks for success have shifted beyond graduation to metrics such as gainful employment and student loan repayment.

Schools are being held accountable for student success, and the bottom line for students is now the bottom line for schools. Higher Ed Growth has been working to examine big data with the intent of better understanding student outcomes and the role higher education institutions play in achieving them. Let’s look at four metrics that can assist in redefining the priorities of student outcomes by leveraging big data:

1. Pre-Enrollment

Prior to student enrollment, schools can be proactive in performing a competitive analysis to discover its strengths and weaknesses compared to similar schools. In examining data, if a student is more likely to enroll when they have been matched to one competitor versus another, schools can optimize their campaigns accordingly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also provides data that can help analyze and update current programs to better fit job demand, both nationally and regionally. This includes developing new academic programming and removing those that are no longer relevant in the workforce.

2. Enrollment

Data transparency between partners is necessary during all points of the student lifecycle to understand success events and factors. The student lifecycle extends beyond contact and enrollment to graduation and job placement; schools should use a customer relationship management (CRM) system to track all touch points of the student journey. In exploring this data, schools may find surprising trends to help with their marketing efforts, such as a difference in enrollment rates when comparing prospects wishing to change their career versus those hoping to advance their career. This data will help both schools and partners target their efforts toward high-intent prospects.

3. Graduation

Schools should be constantly improving their programs to increase graduation rates among their students. To do this, the student education lifecycle should be tracked via a learning management system (LMS). This data should include information from student participation, credit hours, student profiles, student success, and course quality. Schools should measure and analyze this LMS data as a tool for student outcome modeling by creating a predictive model for success events, such as graduation rates or student loan repayments. This predictive model can help in identifying patterns of success, which schools can use to adjust and improve curriculum.

4. Post Graduation

The focus on student outcomes means that schools are now looking beyond graduation to factors such as job placement and loan repayment to measure student success. This information, however, is currently not being gathered by enough institutions. Schools should focus on gathering this information through government and third-party resources. This data can also be obtained by maintaining relationships with students after graduation. Accessibility to greater data sets gives both schools and partners the ability to improve upon the student lifecycle, from enhanced marketing efforts to helping students find jobs in their desired career after graduation.

Schools and their marketing partners need to focus on defining, measuring, optimizing and predicting student success. Institutions should define what a success event looks like and gather and measure data to determine success at each stage of the student lifecycle.With that data, optimizations and enhancements can be made, and eventually, a model that predicts success at any stage of the student lifecycle. By utilizing external sources and consolidating data, schools and their partners will contribute to redefining student outcomes and the overall education infrastructure.

LeadsCon Article Link: http://www.leadscon.com/achieve-positive-student-outcomes-leveraging-big-data/

Educating Clients through Transparency

Educating clients about your developmental process is vital to success. At Higher Ed Growth, our process puts schools, data providers and call centers on the same page with the shared goal of increasing transparency. In our industry, transparency can be demonstrated in several ways, such as providing accurate information to consumers, clients and partners.

Here are five key points that can help you reinforce transparency in your business:

1. Share Your Process

Sharing your lead generation process with clients demonstrates your qualifications while building trust. Trust is of the upmost importance when it comes to managing partnerships. When sharing information, it is imperative to stay in constant, open communication when setting expectations. Outlining important points such as how you gather, call, transfer and optimize data allows your clients to understand what is involved in your process.

2. Focus on Data

Providing data to clients exposes significant value to both parties. Detailed data allows companies to improve upon marketing methods in order to deliver quality, high-intent leads that will convert. Data sharing is a two-way street – just as you would expect clients to share conversion data with you, share your findings and optimizations on that data. Furthermore, sharing conversion data at a campus, program and lead level is invaluable to showing you are a respected partner.

3. Provide Recordings

Make 100% of recordings available to your clients; this allows both parties to work together to enforce compliance. Ensuring your client knows that these services are easily accessible increases transparency. A compliance-focused process reduces errors and keeps all parties effectively communicating on expectations and outcomes. Access to reporting, from contact to enrollment, assures your clients that you are fully compliant with sharing information.

4. Disclose Landing Pages & URLs

You should be prepared to provide information about where your leads are coming from. Whether it is short forms or landing pages, clients need this data so they can audit for compliance as needed. Any landing pages and URLs that are used to generate leads should be shared with clients to confirm your sources are valid and compliant. Tracking prospects throughout the entire lifecycle on the web also adds value for optimizations.

5. Stay Client Focused

New clients may not know about your industry, so explaining your process in detail will set realistic expectation for both parties. Existing clients might be familiar with your current process, but continue to share updated procedures and improvements with them. Use your distinguished skill sets to better serve your clients, and encourage and invite feedback to embed transparency into a natural and seamless process.

A successful and productive partnership is composed of many elements, but the most important is delivering honesty and openness. Establishing trust and confidence will set the foundation for a long-lasting, successful partnership. When everyone is transparent, problems are solved more efficiently, higher performance levels emerge and together companies improve upon current business practices, benefiting everyone.

LeadsCon Article Link: http://www.leadscon.com/educating-clients-transparency/

Technology and the Changing Education Landscape

In 1965, Gordon Moore, Intel’s co-founder, predicted the exponential growth of technology will double every 18 months. While rapid changes are redefining the metrics for education and the lead generation industry, advances in technology are also transforming curriculum, learning and teaching.

Let’s take a look at four game-changing innovations that will affect the future of the digital age:

1. Wearable Technology

We are seeing an explosion of these types of gadgets on the market, including Google Glasses, Muse and Keyglove. This device revolution increases the user’s ability to interact, allowing hands-on experience and real-time interaction to create a dynamic-learning environment. Consumers and suppliers alike should consider the major benefits these devices offer in the higher education industry.

2. Adaptive Learning

Adaptive learning tailors coursework and promotes individual learning needs by breaking free of the one-size-fits-all method of teaching, allowing for more personal interaction. This form of teaching uses interactive tools within higher education and the workplace to fill gaps between traditional and online work. Furthermore, this technology promotes efficiency, and adaptive platforms provide real-time learning at a large scale.

4. MOOCs

Online education has progressed at a rapid pace over the past decade with more advanced technology, and MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) are arguably one of the most significant innovations. They have transformed school systems to create accessible education options teaching real-world skills, and continue to grow and show improvements in making higher education more affordable and accessible.

5. Social Media

Social media provides a platform for users to find new ways of interacting outside of the classroom and workplace. By sharing relevant information through these channels, users are more in control of their own content and better able to delve deeper into new layers of education.

Powerful changes in technology have altered the way we live and conduct business. Utilizing the advances in technology will benefit organizations and students by helping them better prepare for now and, more importantly, the future.

 

LeadsCon Article Link: http://www.leadscon.com/technology-changing-education-landscape/

Higher Ed Growth Pledges to Support Imagine America Foundation

Tempe, AZ – April 15, 2015 – For the third year in a row, Higher Ed Growth, a full service-marking agency in the higher education industry, is proud to announce its commitment to support the Imagine America Foundation (IAF).

Higher Ed Growth`s Gold Level contribution to the 21st Century Workforce Fund will support IAF`s expanding research agenda and scholarship programs, giving colleges the resources they need to enroll and graduate more students.

The Imagine America Foundation has worked with career colleges since 1982 to provide scholarships for graduating high school students and adult learners, as well as award programs for military service members. To assist with these efforts, the 21st Century Workforce Fund plans to raise $10 million by 2018; IAF has already raised $5.8 million towards the goal.

“The Imagine America Foundation continues to do a wonderful job in helping students in this underserved market. We are pleased to have been introduced to this organization a few years ago and look forward to contributing well into the future,” says Joe Laskowski, Managing Partner and CMO of Higher Ed Growth.

Higher Ed Growth assists both non-profit and for-profit colleges and universities. Current engagements include both regional and national universities seeking aggressive approaches to enrollment. Additional information about Higher Ed Growth is available by visiting http://www.higheredgrowth.com or by contacting press@higheredgrowth.com.

 

Industry’s Shifting Focus to Student Outcome

Student retention continues to be an increasingly important topic for both universities and colleges. In recent months, significantly more attention is being paid to the role that higher education institutions play in achieving student outcomes, and the students are counting on necessary improvements to enhance their education. Both gradual large-scale changes and smaller reforms will lay the foundation for a reinvigorated, modern school system.

Government oversight and regulation have created uncertainty in the space. Several for-profit schools have been fined and remain under public scrutiny for non-compliance to legislation. As a result of negative press and government action, for-profit schools have been stigmatized unjustly as entities that rely on deceptive marketing and recruiting tactics. School policies should ensure that institutional improvements are the number one priority, and this begins with understanding the student lifecycle from initial contact to job placement.

Higher Ed Growth works with over 300 public and private higher education institutions and has seven years of longitudinal student data to analyze for student outcomes. In looking at this data, it is clear that utilizing and combining external-marketing strategies with associated parties is instrumental in determining where improvements should be made.

The student life-cycle data points now include all marketing channels, school tenure and employment outcomes. Schools, along with their partners, must ensure marketing tactics are in line with one another. Marketing strategies should be agile and highlight adaptability, allowing the school to respond to changes in public interest and demand. By coordinating seamless interactions across all marketing channels, marketers are able to execute superior brand experiences that deepen customer loyalty and strengthen brand awareness.

In addition to examining marketing strategies, Higher Ed Growth has found that there is not enough data being shared among schools and partners to make informed, data-based decisions and optimizations. Schools should be willing to partner with their marketing agencies to leverage big data in to make improvements as both parties benefit from the flow of information. Furthermore, transparency is needed to fully understand success, events and factors; school and agency cooperation are imperative for future success.

As the industry continues to focus on reviving our existing education system, there are many alignments that schools and marketing partners need to consider. Improved marketing tactics, utilizing external sources and consolidated partnerships will lead to better understanding and improvement upon the success of the student lifecycle.

LeadsCon Article Link: http://www.leadscon.com/industrys-shifting-focus-student-outcome/

Short-Term Certificates May Offer Alternative to Graduate School

By Kelsey Sheehy for U.S. News

March 18, 2015

A graduate degree is a great way for students to add to their skills and advance in, or even change, their career – but it’s not the only way.

Professional certifications and short-term certificate programs, like those offered at community colleges, allow students to add specific skills and specializations to their resume for a fraction of the time and tuition required for grad school.

“Certifications, as you progress in your career, are all about making you more employable,” says Tom Darling, national director of workforce education at Pearson, an education services company.

This is especially true in fields such as information technology, which is increasingly certification-driven, he says.

“There are literally hundreds of certifications you can get, whether it is networking, security, maintenance, programming,” says Darling. “Employers want someone with those skill sets.”

Aviation and electronics are two other fields where adding a certificate can give employees a boost, according to the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.

There’s a premium on certificates in these fields because employers tend to first look for work experience in job seekers.

“The further you get from graduation from college, more and more the college degree is a check box,” he says. “‘Do you have a degree? Yes.’ The box is checked. They’re going to increasingly look at your experience.”

Certificates and industry certifications also show employers that a candidate is continuously improving their skills, says Maureen Crawford Hentz, director of talent management for A.W. Chesterton Co., a global manufacturing corporation headquartered in Massachusetts.

“I love to see achievement of certificates and industry certifications,” Hentz says. “As a recruiter, these are things I know to look for.”

Graduate degrees are still “very valuable,” she stresses, noting that they show a candidate has in-depth knowledge in a particular area.

While doctors and lawyers have a clear path that requires graduate school, the path for others is less clear – and can get even muddier when students want to switch careers entirely.

“If students with a degree in political science or chemical engineering decide that they want to move to a career in business and become a financial analyst, they’ll be better served by going to graduate school and doing an MBA,” says Elaine Vincent, an admissions coach at My College Planning Team, which counsels students on finding a college and funding their education. Vincent previously served as a college and graduate student adviser and admissions and enrollment professional at several colleges and universities.

“Take those same political science or chemical engineering graduates and imagine that they would like to move to careers in renewable energy or as game designers. A 12-month certificate would be the best choice,” Vincent says.

When the path isn’t so clear, prospective students should start with their end goal in mind, says Eric Flottmann, chief operating officer of Higher Ed Growth, a marketing agency that helps community colleges and universities recruit students.

“In my mind, the most important question is ‘What career do you want to end up in?’” he says. “Then figure out the best tactical way to achieve that.”

Don’t try to figure it out on your own, though, says Darling, from Pearson. Instead, network with people who have the job you aspire to hold in the next five to 10 years, he says.

Even better: talk to someone who hires for the job your hope to have.

“Those who hire in that field will be able to give you good guidance of what is preferred and what actually gets someone hired,” he says.

Prospective students considering a certificate program should also research whether that program meets the requirements of their employer, says Eric Allen, president of Admit.me, an online community for college applicants, and founder of the admissions counseling firm Admit Advantage.

Allen also advises students to look at total return on investment, rather than just cost.

“Cost is only one side of the equation, so the candidate needs to determine what the potential return is on the time and money invested,” he says, adding that this will help them determine whether a certificate program or graduate degree is the best move.

If students choose the certificate route, there’s nothing stopping them from pursuing a graduate degree down the road, or vice versa, says Hentz, with A.W. Chesterton Co.

“I’ll take a great MSME-PE all day long,” she says, referring to a candidate with a master’s in mechanical engineering and a professional engineer industry certification.

“From an employer’s perspective – this one at least – graduate degrees and certificates are apples and oranges. But what I really love to see is a nice fruit salad.”

Trying to fund your education? Get tips, news and more in the U.S. News Paying for Community College center.

 

Article Link: http://www.usnews.com/education/community-colleges/articles/2015/03/18/short-term-certificates-may-offer-alternative-to-graduate-school?page=2

LeadsCon 2015 Recap

Every year, LeadsCon brings people and companies together to attend the premier lead generation conference. Hosted in Las Vegas with more than 3,000 attendees, LeadsCon provides unlimited opportunities to network and connect with the best in the industry, and Higher Ed Growth (HEG) was among them.

HEG had the pleasure of attending and sponsoring the event, and its team members were active throughout the conference that represents the future of lead generation. As the show came to an end, HEG was excited to return and share the latest in trends and discussions that were highlighted throughout the conference.

The industry continues to focus on the latest within accountability, compliance and technology, but the future is in consolidating partnerships based on common goals. The team at Higher Ed Growth enjoyed an overall informative and productive show, and is looking forward to next year’s conference.

Strategic Partnerships

In the past, relationships between clients and vendors were focused solely on buying and selling leads. This has shifted in recent years as companies, lead generators and service providers work closer together. These connections are creating strategic partnerships built on trust, transparency and shared goals. Finding a balanced, open partnership can increasingly improve your company’s overall performance.

Eric Flottmann, our CFO appreciated the collaborations he experienced while attending the conference: “I am excited to see this trend continue, because it elevates the work we do as a company and as an industry. One thing I noticed is a new spirit of cooperation among the various organizations that operate in lead generation in general and in higher education specifically.”

Quality & Compliance

Within the lead generation industry, compliance will continue to be a priority. In response to increased standards, companies have shifted to focus more on quality over quantity. To succeed today, vendors must work smarter and more efficiently. In 2014 for example, fewer prospects were generated overall but at a higher average price point and with better conversions.

Meghan Prudencio, director of media, explains, “Lead generation companies care more than ever about providing quality inquiries to their clients. They are eager to learn what methods convert, what data sources perform and what traits valuable prospects share.” The companies that are pushing for more data and optimizing accordingly are seeing improvements in revenue, conversions and reputation.

Technology

Technological advances are constant in the lead generation industry as companies adapt the way they reach and communicate with prospects. This continuous improvement is vital to remaining competitive. At LeadsCon, there was an increased focus on discovering the best-in-class technologies that companies had to offer.

Kolin Porter, director of product innovation said, “Schools, aggregators and vendors were all searching for technology solutions in order to improve the quality of their products and services.” During LeadsCon, Porter shared HEG’s new proprietary products that their clients and partners will be able to leverage in order to facilitate a more efficient and compliant inquiry generation process.

The industry continues to focus on the latest within accountability, compliance and technology, but the future is in consolidating partnerships based on common goals. The team at HEG enjoyed an overall informative and productive show and is looking forward to next year’s conference.

 

LeadsCon Article Link: http://www.leadscon.com/leadscon-2015-recap/

3 Parts to Tracking a Lead Throughout Its Life Cycle

Lead generation marketers need data in order to make strategic decisions and boost conversion rates. And the best kind of data comes from tracking a lead throughout its entire life cycle. From Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to Close Rates, there are different stages in the buyer’s journey and milestones that every marketer should benchmark and […]

Higher Ed Growth Honored at Forty & Eight Nursing Scholarship Award Ceremony

  Tempe, Ariz. – May 6, 2016 – Higher Ed Growth (HEG), a leading integrated marketing agency specializing in post-secondary education, was honored with a Certificate of Appreciation at The East Valley Forty & Eight Nursing Scholarship Award Ceremony on April 30. Forty & Eight began in 1920 and is an organization that supports American […]

Taking Virtual Steps into a New College Classroom

Students are beginning to experience higher education in a very different way. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) tools are continuing to enter the marketplace, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making personalized learning even smarter and more engaging. What will the classroom look like in the next 5-10 years? What kinds of programs are […]