Higher Ed Growth Acquires CalmCircle

Higher ed growth_calmcircle

Higher Ed Growth Announces Acquisition, Expands Higher Education Marketing Services

Equity interest acquisition of CalmCircle stress and sleep management platform for education

TEMPE, Ariz. — January 9, 2019 — Higher Ed Growth (HEG), a full-service marketing agency specializing in post-secondary education, announced today that it has acquired an equity interest in CalmCircle, an online stress and sleep management platform. CalmCircle’s research-based curriculum for postsecondary students will enhance Higher Ed Growth’s services and solutions for colleges, universities and education partners. Additionally, CalmCircle’s application in other high-stress environments – such as corporate workplaces and healthcare institutions – will allow HEG to expand as a global service provider across industries.

Expanded Services

Founded in 2007, Higher Ed Growth’s focus has been to help education partners overcome challenges in EDU marketing, streamlining compliance and driving quality student-to-school matches. The CalmCircle acquisition allows the EDU marketing firm to provide partners with greater support throughout the student education journey, including retention, to further drive graduation rates and better student outcomes.

“We’re excited to help our partners find success beyond enrollments,” said Joe Laskowski, Managing Partner and Chief Marketing Officer at Higher Ed Growth. “Countless studies show how closely related student well-being is to academic performance, retention and outcomes. We weren’t seeing anything in the marketplace that addressed this connection in a simple and comprehensive way, and we’re excited to offer the solution in 2019. This solution also has widespread use beyond students – corporate employees and healthcare workers can benefit immensely from the stress management practices CalmCircle offers.”

Stress & Sleep Management

The CalmCircle platform was developed in response to high stress levels and poor sleep quality commonly found in student and employee demographics. The guided practice features research-driven methods for reducing the psychological and physiological impacts of stress and developing healthy sleep habits. The program is customizable and includes breathing exercises, mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation techniques. Most sessions are five minutes or less to accommodate busy schedules.

“Higher Ed Growth has been a long-standing advisor for our company and helped drive technology innovation and strategic direction,” said Patricia Kinney, founder of CalmCircle. “This new alignment will allow us to provide mental rest and sleep support to students and those in high-stress environments on a much larger scale. Together, we can help schools and workplaces realize the many benefits that balanced and healthy environments can offer — from engagement and retention to the bottom line. Joining HEG, we look forward to making an even greater impact in education and to also head in some exciting new directions.”

CalmCircle Studies

A CalmCircle pilot program with Arizona State University showed that 84 percent of participating students experienced reduced stress and 41 percent noted better sleep quality. The program has similarly been integrated into primary and secondary schools with promising results – at one middle school, students saw a 32 percent improvement in sleep and 14 percent decrease in stress levels. In both programs, participants also noted a stronger sense of self-compassion, mindfulness, and ability to stay on task.

New Verticals: Corporate & Healthcare

CalmCircle has also proven successful for stress management and mental rest in the workplace. At one global company, 62 percent of participating employees stated that CalmCircle helped them manage stress. CalmCircle users also saw a 26 percent increase in efficiency compared to non-users. In addition to education and corporate services, CalmCircle will begin offering its product to healthcare institutions this year.

“We’re looking forward to bringing CalmCircle to a wide range of organizations that could benefit from stress relief,” said Eric Flottmann, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Higher Ed Growth. “The technology has been carefully developed to be easily accessible and feature minimal time requirements. Pilot programs have shown the benefits are clear and far-reaching. This product will also help propel Higher Ed Growth’s current technology and services to new territories in 2019.”

To read more about CalmCircle pilot programs or to set up a demo, visit www.calmcircle.com.

About CalmCircle

CalmCircle is an online platform offering a research-driven stress and sleep management program. The curriculum centers on mental rest, stress management and sleep support. CalmCircle was initially developed to teach healthy habits to today’s heavily taxed college student and was a featured partner in the Huffington Post Sleep Revolution College Tour in Spring 2016. The company’s mission is to help users develop lifelong skills and maintain mental balance in everyday life, high-stress environments and other events – from the classroom to the workplace. The company has expanded to bring mental rest and stress relief to the education industry, corporate workplaces and healthcare institutions. To learn more, please visit www.calmcircle.com.

About Higher Ed Growth

Higher Ed Growth (HEG) is a full-service marketing agency specializing in post-secondary education. HEG merges innovation and experience to develop technology and marketing programs that support client enrollment goals and meet changing regulatory needs. In addition to lead generation, it offers fully managed Master Vendor Services, compliance monitoring, white label software solutions, inquiry management, and analytics – with the ultimate goal of boosting enrollment and retention numbers for clients. HEG was named one of the Best Places to Work in 2015, 2016 and 2017 by Phoenix Business Journal. The company was also featured as an Inc. magazine Best Workplace 2017 and on its list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in 2014, 2015 and 2016. For more information, visit www.higheredgrowth.com.

Speech Technology Magazine Feat: Quality Assurance

Higher Education Growth: Improving Quality Assurance with Call Recordings

By Theresa Cramer, Editor of Speech Technology Magazine


Company: Higher Ed Growth

Higher Ed Growth (HEG) develops services and solutions that help the right students be matched with the right colleges and universities. This means better student outcomes and success.


Business Challenge

Agents often have phone conversations with students. These calls play an important role in enrollments, but agents must adhere to strict Telephone Compliance Protection Act (TCPA) compliance guidelines and processes for efficiency. There are many opportunities for errors and compliance missteps throughout the EDU lead lifecycle — particularly during phone calls. The company needed a more efficient way of dealing with this challenge.


Vendor of Choice: CallMiner

CallMiner is a Massachusetts-based software company that develops speech analytics software. It was founded in 2002 and headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, with offices in Florida and the United Kingdom.


Quality Assurance: The Problem in Depth

Higher Ed Growth (HEG) develops services and solutions that help the right students be matched with the right colleges and universities. The company says this leads to better student outcomes and success.

“HEG is always looking to increase the quality of EDU leads and so much of the process hinges on the agent phone call and agent-student interactions,” says Eric Flottmann, chief operating officer at Higher Ed Growth. “In 2013, we were lacking the ability to analyze and derive actionable insights from call recordings. At this time, our call recordings were reviewed manually, which placed a considerable strain on our time and internal resources. Automated systems and better Business Intelligence around our calls would give us the opportunity to develop better, more efficient processes and drive higher quality leads for our education partners.”

Later, the company’s needs changed a bit. Flottmann says, “In 2018, HEG sought to further improve its average Quality Assurance (QA) score across the thousands of EDU agent representatives nationwide.” *


Quality Assurance: The Solution

For both challenges, the answer for HEG was CallMiner.

“We initially chose CallMiner for its ability to capture dialog and sentiment of agent-student interactions and automate agent scoring based on findings,” says Flottmann. “Equally important, its Eureka product would also automatically store all call recordings and provide resources for agent training purposes, which would strengthen compliance for our education partners.”

Implementing sophisticated software is never a small task, but it can be made easier with the help of  experienced professionals. “The CallMiner implementation process had a number of stages that allowed our team to work alongside their team and then also take more and more of the reins over time,” says Doug Peterson, quality assurance associate at Higher Ed Growth. “We were completely supported throughout the entire process. For instance, after the initial build-out in early stages, we weren’t seeing the desired results just yet; their team tackled listening to numerous call recordings after transcription with us to ensure the tweaks made to categories were working and increasing correct category hits. We learned a great deal over this process, and all tweaks and changes eventually brought us to an impressive 80-90% accuracy range of transcription.”


Quality Assurance: The Outcome

So what does success look like for HEG? “HEG uploads about 100 hours of call recordings daily to CallMiner in order to get a robust audit of our calls,” says Peterson. “We now utilize dynamic categories within CallMiner to flag a variety of quality points — from recording disclosures and approved language to contact verification.”

Prior to CallMiner, HEG was unable to track compliance by individual agents. Now, it can not only track compliance and other performance metrics to the agent level, it also had the data to set reasonable performance targets and better coach agents to achieve them.

Now that call recording was automated, Flottmann says, “The early results of this effort were overwhelmingly positive. Automating our QA Process streamlined our efforts and improved our throughput for manual review by 10x right away. There was also plenty of room for growth.” This allows HEG to more accurately and fairly reflected individual agent performance, improve quality and prevent future issues.

HEG says the analytics team was able to apply lessons from one client to another. For example, if a compliance violation occurred on one account, Higher Ed Growth was able to build safeguards against similar violations into the monitoring program for all accounts.

“The cost savings from pushing back non-compliant leads more than offset the additional cost of the third-party monitoring company,” says Flottmann.

Like all quality assurance programs, HEG’s is on-going. Peterson says, ”It’s been five years since initial implementation with CallMiner, and we’ve made a lot of improvements during this time. We implemented a few new strategies with CallMiner this year that improved the average QA score across all agents by 8.5 percentage points. Considering there are thousands and thousands of agents in our system nationwide, this was a significant improvement.” *


*Note from Higher Ed Growth: This is in reference to EDU leads processed via our systems and all agent representatives from our education partners. 


Click here to read the full article on Speech Technology Magazine.

Infographic: Top Online Degrees & Certificates in 2018

Infographic: Top Online Degrees, Certifications & Today’s Distance Learner

Workforce trends are changing at lightning speed as technology advances. Postsecondary students and current employees must keep pace, and higher education can help propel them forward in new ways.

This progression, however, may not look like the traditional degree path of the past. EDU institutions are rethinking programs and building upon (or in many ways, breaking) the traditional four-year mold to meet quickly changing student and employer needs.

Online degrees are proving to be one of the most successful alternative pathways, and this phenomenon is reflected in data. Higher Ed Growth’s SIMPLE solutions and technologies have captured enrollment data from hundreds of its postsecondary institution clients nationwide for the 2017-2018 school year. Here are the top online degrees and trends, as well as a look at how distance learning addresses the nontraditional student of today and the workforce of the future. Click the infographic below to enlarge. 


online degrees 2018 HEG Infographic

CECU 2018: Student Success Takes Center Stage

CECU 2018_ Joe Laskowski Next Gen of EDU Marketing


This op-ed is written by Joe Laskowski, Managing Partner and Chief Marketing Officer of Higher Ed Growth, a full-service agency that specializes in the post-secondary education industry and CECU member. Laskowski was a CECU 2018 speaker.

The 2018 CECU Convention & Exposition was held in Orlando in early June, encapsulating everything that the organization does best: bringing together top Higher Education institutions and sector leaders in a thoughtful forum to exchange expert insights and best practices. As a longstanding sponsor, Higher Ed Growth helped lead conversations around the next generation of EDU marketing, attended inspiring keynotes and connected with colleagues. Based on these important talks, here our top takeaways from CECU 2018.

There is renewed focus on vocational schools and technical programs. The conference saw a groundswell of support for trade schools as one of the most effective solutions to the growing skills gap.

Keynote Speaker Seth Mattison, a renowned expert on workforce trends and generational dynamics, spoke to the connection between the future of work and this next generation of students. Institutions hold a valuable piece of the puzzle. It’s important for the industry to have a willingness to rethink degree programs — even education as a whole — to meet quickly changing student and employer needs. Vocational programs, in particular, are uniquely positioned to rectify a shortage of skilled trade and specialized workers and reshape entire industries. Mattison underscored that the time to act is now.

Offering vocational insight from a military perspective, Congressman Brian Mast gave another inspiring CECU 2018 Keynote. Mast spoke to his 12 years of duty in the United States Army and a life-changing event in Afghanistan. He also covered what came next after his decorated military career, and that was education.

Mast is a modern-day student success story and shining example of what can happen when institutions offer alternative pathways and tailor programs toward adult learners, veterans and those with other “non-traditional” qualities. Mast earned his bachelor’s degree at Harvard Extension School while volunteering with the Israel Defense Forces, declaring candidacy for US Congress in Florida’s Eighteenth District, and raising a family. Harvard Extension School is a fully accredited Harvard institution that focuses on affordability and flexibility; it offers open enrollment and a wide range of self-paced programs from four-year online degrees to skill-specific certificates. Such options are invaluable to vets — as are other flexible trade and technical programs. In his CECU 2018 speech, Mast thanked the vocational school sector for providing so many relevant job opportunities to military veterans through training and education.

Innovative industry partnerships have the opportunity to amplify student success rates — especially in such vocational programs.

There were many discussions with leaders of marketing, service companies and CECU member institutions on how to best leverage resources to create mutually beneficial partnerships. From apprenticeships to coding boot camps, there are myriad career education models gaining traction.

Apprenticeships are one model taking the spotlight and may soon evolve beyond traditional trades and take a foothold into industries like law and health care. With the current administration calling for the expansion of apprenticeships over the next five years, this important conversation is sure to continue and develop. The specifics around new federal initiatives and potential legislative reforms set forth by the Department of Labor Apprenticeship Task Force have yet to be unveiled; the EDU industry and private sector can begin to take the lead on shaping the structure of such partnerships and strategies. Identify business goals and align programs to drive the development of a next generation, highly skilled workforce.

Success in new EDU models all starts with enrollment marketing. Schools must develop the right student base for successful outcomes, especially in new degree programs and postsecondary learning models.

With ever-changing lead generation tools and enrollment marketing best practices, these topic sessions were certainly well-attended at CECU 2018.

More than 46 million new workers are needed by 2025; the ever-present question is how to reach and market the right programs to the students who will become the future workforce. Social media, for one, was highlighted a great deal as it continues to be a strong platform for driving awareness and reaching target audiences. In fact, there was an overall increase in social media lead volume and conversions in 2017. However, the channels and rules of engagement continue to change year after year. Social marketing strategies, as a result, must be nimble and data-driven.

Data-based decision-making was a common thread in all marketing discussions — from determining student intent to conversion metrics. It’s clear that third-party partners will continue to play an important role, filling gaps in marketing needs with new technology and analytics products.

Rounding out the marketing conversation was a review on student success from a marketing compliance perspective in the EDU Lead Gen — The Next Gen CECU session. Interpreting the regulatory environment can be difficult and is an important step in developing strong marketing programs. The last few years have been filled with change, speculation and consolidation for both education and lead generation.

From the regulatory landscape to emerging new trends, there’s a great deal that can happen between now and CECU 2019 in New Orleans. More importantly, there’s a great deal that industry leadership can do to shape the future of postsecondary career education when we all come together.


Gamification in EDU Contact Centers: Agent Leaderboards

Games have been an integral part of life throughout history as a way to pass the time in an entertaining, engaging and rewarding way. So, what if we took those same game elements and placed a similar structure around tasks to drive desired behavior? Could work become “fun”? Engaging? Drive results?

That’s the idea behind “gamification” in the EDU contact center. And this is why it works.

Driving Behavior to Drive Better Outcomes

In order to drive better outcomes, one must look first at what drives behavior. Contrary to popular belief, humans are not solely motivated by financial means. In fact, gamification experts point to three main drivers of behavior as the most reliable predictors of engagement.

Mastery: The act of mastering a new skill or becoming an expert in a given field. In the EDU contact center, this may include earning an award or new certification, leading a project on a given topic or reaching a higher rank within the company.

Autonomy: Motivation can come from working within a structure that offers “meaningful” choice, ample opportunity to reach goals on one’s own volition and participation in activities that are somehow tangible in a real-life context. In the workplace, it’s important to clearly communication the game “rules,” or the many steps one can take to reach the top of the leaderboard, for example. These actions should then have a direct result on the ability to earn an extrinsic reward, like a raise or a contest.

Relatedness: There’s an intrinsic need to “matter” to others and have purpose. In work environments, employees are driven to be a part of a team, strive to earn respect from colleagues and be highlighted by leadership for their efforts. For EDU contact center agents, in particular, a sense of purpose may also come from making an impact in the lives of students.

Further supporting intrinsic motivation, the sheer act of participating in “gameplay” in and of itself is enough to activate the brain’s reward center, according to neurological studies.

Developing a Gamification Structure within the Contact Center

Taking into account the three intrinsic motivators, it’s important to create a well-designed structure to properly engage employees. At its core, a game has challenges, feedback and levels. In the contact center, challenges may look like internal contests. Feedback may take the form of agent scoring and one-on-one meetings with leadership. Levels may be determined by rank on agent leaderboards and providing agents with expanded capabilities, accordingly.

Agent Leaderboards Drive Outcomes in the EDU Contact Center

From a leaderboard on the wall to quick-hit sales SPIFFS to drive momentum, there are many familiar game mechanics at play in sales and marketing environments. Gamification in the EDU contact center is especially effective when placed around repetitive tasks and important KPIs, such as:

  • Conversions and/or transfers
  • Customer-reported satisfaction
  • Number of calls per hour
  • Average call handling time (AHT)

Agent leaderboards are one of the most effective and time-tested models. One study showed leaderboards successfully motivated employees “when performing tedious and cumbersome tasks at work.” In addition to feedback that activities became more enjoyable, leaderboard results pointed to enhanced productivity. Another business case study showed similar results with increased performance. Leaderboard standings centered on KPIs, such as the number of deals signed and contracts closed. Based on early leaderboard results, the company projected an overall 2%-3% increase in profits, adding another $1.5 million to their bottom line.

Leaderboards become even more effective when integrated as part of an agent dashboard or online platform. Providing instant feedback and a visual representation of individual progress, agents are able to see results in near real-time and are empowered to change behavior quickly to better compete with peers and climb to the top of the leaderboard. Gamified agent platforms amplify those key motivators: mastery, autonomy and relatedness.

Benefits of Gamification in EDU Contact Centers

The benefits are vast. EDU contact center gamification elements, like leaderboards, are an opportunity to give agents a greater sense of accomplishment and provide positive reinforcement on a daily or more regular basis than that of more traditional work structure. In a broader sense, they can also act as a marker to identify low-performing agents. In addition to performance and profits, gamification in EDU contact centers also brings cultural benefits, like increased agent satisfaction and retention. It’s an easy way to make enrollment experiences more meaningful and effective for EDU agents and prospective students.

Read the Full Article: http://www.leadscon.com/blog/gamification-in-edu-contact-centers-why-agent-leaderboards-work/

Higher Ed Growth Co-founders Named to Sun Devil 100 Class of 2018

Tempe, Ariz. – April 25, 2018 – Two co-founders of Higher Ed Growth (HEG), a leading full-service marketing agency specializing in post-secondary education, were named to the “Sun Devil 100 Class of 2018.” The Sun Devil 100 celebrates the achievements of Arizona State University alumni who own or lead innovative businesses across the globe. Sponsored by the ASU Alumni Association, award recipients represent “innovation, growth and the entrepreneurial spirit.”


Sun Devil 100 Class of 2018_Eric Flottmann

Sun Devil 100 Class of 2018 awards for CEO Frank Healy and COO Eric Flottmann.


CEO Frank Healy and COO Eric Flottmann, both of whom are ASU alumni, were amongst those honored at the Tempe campus induction ceremony on Wednesday, April 25, 2018. This is the second Sun Devil 100 nomination for Healy.


sun devil 100 class of 2018

COO Eric Flottmann and wife, Cindy Flottmann, with ASU’s Sparky.


To be considered for the Sun Devil 100, alumni must own or lead a company for a minimum of three years. The business must also generate revenues upward of $250,000 within a calendar year and operate in a manner consistent with the ASU Charter. Of those meeting these criteria, the ASU Alumni Association selects the top 100 fastest-growing companies for the yearly Sun Devil 100 list.

Founded in 2007, HEG’s growth has also earned it a spot on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing companies in the nation three times in recent years — 2014, 2015, 2016.

For a list of all honorees from the Sun Devil 100 – Class of 2018, visit https://alumni.asu.edu/sun-devil-100.

About the ASU Alumni Association – Sun Devil 100 List

Sun Devil 100 celebrates the achievements of Arizona State University alumni who own or lead successful, innovative businesses across the globe. Spanning industries and locations, ASU entrepreneurs possess a history of enterprise, vision and leadership. This special awards program was instituted to invite these innovative leaders back to campus for a celebration in their honor. The Sun Devil Class of 2018 is an elite group of talented business leaders who exemplify the spirit of ASU as the New American University. For more information on the ASU Alumni Association and the Sun Devil 100 Class of 2018, visit https://alumni.asu.edu/sun-devil-100.

About Higher Ed Growth

Higher Ed Growth (HEG) is a full-service marketing agency specializing in post-secondary education. HEG uses proprietary technology to deliver targeted enrollment leads to for-profit and non-profit education clients. In addition to lead generation, HEG offers inquiry management, white label software solutions, and compliance monitoring – with the ultimate goal of boosting enrollment and retention numbers for clients. Phoenix Business Journal named HEG as a Best Place to Work in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The company was also featured as an Inc. magazine Best Workplace 2017 and on its list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in 2014, 2015 and 2016. For more information, visit www.higheredgrowth.com.

Higher Ed Growth Supports Scholarships for Phoenix Nursing Students

Scholarships for Phoenix Nursing Students_V3

Tempe, Ariz. – April 17, 2018 – Higher Ed Growth (HEG), a leading full-service marketing agency specializing in post-secondary education, donated funds to the East Valley chapter of Forty & Eight, Arizona Voiture 1466, which directly contributed to 10 scholarships for Phoenix nursing students in the local community.

Forty & Eight began in 1920 and is an organization that supports American veterans and veteran-associated programs for child welfare and nurse training. Since 1955, its Nurses Training Program has donated nearly $33 million in scholarships and activities to support more than 54,000 students in obtaining their nursing degrees. In 2017, the organization awarded $410,000 toward more than 1,000 nurses in training, graduating nurses, and those seeking undergraduate and graduate degrees.

“We’re proud to contribute to Forty & Eight’s scholarship program and support Arizona nursing students in their chosen degree and career paths,” said Frank Healy, president and CEO of HEG. “Higher Ed Growth helps thousands of nursing students find the right schools and enroll in the right degree programs each year. Forty & Eight is a way for us to continue this mission, support the local community and bring attention to a degree program with great demand.”

Nurse practitioners are one of the top 10 fastest-growing occupations in the country, according to recent projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The field is expected to grow 15 percent by 2026 and is a result of an aging population, longer life expectancies and increased rates of chronic conditions.

The East Valley Forty & Eight held its Nursing Scholarship Award Ceremony on April 14, 2018.


About Forty & Eight

Founded in 1920, Forty & Eight is a charitable honor society of American veterans. Its official name is La Societe des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux, derived from the French railway experience of US troops in WWI. Forty & Eight programs include Nurses Training, Child Welfare, Flags for First Graders, Carville Hansens Disease Center, VA Voluntary Service, and support for American troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. To learn more, visit the Forty & Eight National Media Kit at http://www.fortyandeight.org/national-media-kit.

About Higher Ed Growth

Higher Ed Growth (HEG) is a full-service marketing agency specializing in post-secondary education. HEG uses proprietary technology to deliver targeted enrollment leads to for-profit and non-profit education clients. In addition to lead generation, HEG offers inquiry management, white label software solutions, and compliance monitoring – with the ultimate goal of boosting enrollment and retention numbers for clients. Phoenix Business Journal named HEG as a Best Place to Work in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The company was also featured as an Inc. magazine Best Workplace 2017 and on its list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in 2014, 2015 and 2016. For more information, visit www.higheredgrowth.com.



LeadsCon 2018: The 5 Top Trends

By Joe Laskowski

At Higher Ed Growth (HEG), we always look forward to the month of March because it means connecting with industry leaders at LeadsCon 2018 in Las Vegas. As a longstanding sponsor and presenter, HEG enjoys taking part in meaningful conversations around trends and the future of lead generation. LeadsCon acts as a true barometer of the industry, providing attendees with valuable insight year after year.

From the Higher Ed Growth team, these were the five biggest trends at LeadsCon 2018.


Transparency Remains a Top Topic

Regardless of the presentation or topic, transparency was top of mind at LeadsCon and for good reason. Transparency is much more than an expectation; it’s now a requirement for success.

When it comes to the lead buyer–seller relationship and the advertiser-publisher relationship, the conference underscored the critical need for trust and transparency. One thing Higher Ed Growth has always stressed is sharing data between partners. It not only supports these goals, but also strengthens outcomes. This is especially true for student success metrics in EDU marketing. Connecting the dots between marketing channels and enrollment data offers a wealth of insights and allows EDU marketers to properly optimize future campaigns.

Higher education institutions, in particular, are showcasing a steadfast commitment to transparency. Schools are more focused on the link between the transparency of its marketing partners and quality leads than ever before.

Quality Over Quantity

When it comes to the quality-versus-quantity debate, industry leaders are overwhelmingly choosing quality. Companies seem to be focusing more on conversions and success metrics, even if it means scaling back slightly on volume to ensure high-quality leads. New, sophisticated business intelligence tools and analytics are proving that results are driven by the right leads, not more leads. Overall, those organizations who deliver quality will be given more opportunities to expand on business relationships.

Shifts in Content Marketing & SEO

Lead generators are dedicating more resources to SEO and content marketing than they have in recent years. With strategic content for every stage of the lead lifecycle, such practices can generate low-cost, high-quality leads. When done properly, content marketing practices boost SEO and place resources toward the top of search engines. Companies that can optimize their sites with useful content will benefit. We can expect to see new and original campaign concepts in order to attract visitors and overcome a saturated market.

New Facebook Lead Generation Ads

Facebook recently introduced lead generation ads aimed toward collecting lead information in a low-friction environment. The social media innovator’s new initiative streamlines contact forms for better conversion rates and quality. Some advertisers have even reported a 56 percent reduction in cost per lead using Facebook lead ads. We’re sure to see more and more companies testing Facebook for their digital campaigns.

Actionable SMS Campaigns

Like email, text messaging isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. For advertisers, SMS campaigns are growing in popularity – especially for re-targeting campaigns aimed at leads who have expressed interest but have not completed the sales funnel. Lead generators are utilizing text messages to spur action in a mobile-dependent culture.

In Higher Education, text message campaigns have also been shown to boost student outcomes. In fact, one study showed that a segment of community college students in STEM programs who received text reminders had a 10 percent higher chance of staying on track in their program. SMS campaigns are impactful. With TCPA compliance in mind, we may see SMS campaigns expand and play an even bigger role in enrollment marketing, as well.


LeadsCon 2018: Renewed Lead Gen Confidence

In recent years, there has been an underlying sense of uncertainty from LeadsCon attendees due to an ever-changing regulatory environment. Marketers weren’t sure where new guidelines would land and how they might impact compliance and bottom lines.

In 2018, however, there was a renewed confidence amongst lead generators and other industry leaders. With quarterly Consumer Financial Protection Bureau funds redirected toward the deficit and other news, signs point to a calmer period with regard to new or tightening regulations. For LeadsCon 2018, it meant conversations could center less around “what might happen” and more around “what can we make happen together.”


Read the Full Article on LeadsCon: http://www.leadscon.com/leadscon-2018-transparency-other-top-takeaways/

AZBigMedia: Phoenix as the Silicon Valley of EdTech

How did Phoenix become the Silicon Valley of EdTech?

By Stephanie Morse, AZBigMedia

Phoenix has become a hotbed for education technology — or EdTech — startups in recent years with more than 50 companies in the Valley.

Over the last several years, EdTech startups in Arizona have garnered national attention and captured millions of dollars in venture capital from states across the nation. The success of existing EdTech companies, improving entrepreneurial ecosystems, school choice environment and strong universities has created a large and growing cluster of EdTech companies in Phoenix, according to local leaders.

“A lot of people in this industry actually call this area the Silicon Valley of education technology,” said Frank Healy, CEO of Higher Ed Growth, an EdTech startup in Tempe.

EdTech in the Valley rose to the national scene with success of the Apollo Education Group in the 1980s and ’90s. The company started the University of Phoenix, a for-profit college with online and in-person classes focused on providing higher education for adults.

“I think the amount of money the Apollo group was spending really created the EdTech space here in Phoenix,” said Healy, who worked with Apollo at the University of Phoenix before starting Higher Ed Growth. “Because of the dollars they were spending, all the businesses flocked here.”

Recent successes

The more recent success of Blackboard, a learning management system, and Parchment, an online digital credential service, has continued to draw attention to Phoenix and attract other EdTech companies.

Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, said these businesses created a clustering effect in the area, allowing startups and companies to share resources and expertise.

“Companies tend to congregate around companies of the same industry,” Zylstra said. “They get to share supply chains and you end up with a workforce that’s knowledgeable about the industry. All of those are key factors to the development of an economic cluster such as we’ve seen grow here in Arizona.”

Zylstra also said Arizona’s improving entrepreneurial landscape has continued to grow the EdTech industry in the Phoenix area. The increased focus on startups and the growing number of accelerators, incubators and coworking spaces has helped Phoenix attract more startups in EdTech and other fields.

“All of the things that were conducive to growing entrepreneurial companies, generally speaking, are applied to EdTech equally and created the spike of activity that we have now,” Zylstra said.

Companies in California, New York and Massachusetts, however, still receive 78 percent of all startup investment funding in the United States, causing funding challenges for some startups in Arizona, including those in EdTech.

“I would say the one flaw or challenge we have in our entrepreneurial ecosystem is capital and that’s not unique to EdTech,” Zylstra said. “We only have just a few venture capitalists town. You can count them one hand, unfortunately. We have two very good angel groups, but when you make that next hop beyond angels, they are few and far between.”

Outside help

The lack of funding and venture capital in Phoenix caused EdTech and other startups to have to look outside of the state for investments, which can prove to be more difficult.

“Entrepreneurial companies are able to get capital,” Zylstra said. “It’s just a measure harder, because when you’re seeking the funding outside the community, there’s more effort that has to go in.”

Despite these challenges, EdTech in the Valley has captured more than $100 million in venture capital during the past several years, according to EdTechAZ. Zylstra said companies have received funding from people and groups in Texas, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and California.

“Entrepreneurial companies have to go outside the region to raise money and that’s where the leadership qualities and models that exist here are helpful,” Zylstra said. “People know that Phoenix and Arizona are sort of a hotbed for these kinds of companies. It allays some of their fears about investing outside of their own territory.”

Industry leaders also said the education environment in Arizona fosters creativity and encourages innovation in education, including looking at technology for solutions.

“Arizona has been one of the more progressive, open states in looking at creative solutions to help students, including technology,” said Leslie Sobon, vice president of marketing and customer experience for Edgenuity, an EdTech company in Scottsdale.

Arizona is one of the top three states in the nation for school choice, according to the Center for Education Reform’s 2017 Parent Power Index. Both Sobon and Zylstra said this created an environment open to embracing technology in the classroom.

“From a policy standpoint, we’re a leader in offering choice,” Zylstra said. “We’re a top state in the nation for offering choice in K-12, which led to the whole charter school movement. That was highly disruptive.”

Chartering a course

Sobon directly credited charter schools for helping Edgenuity grow because they are often innovative and more open to change.

“Certainly, what has helped Edgenuity is school choice,” Sobon said. “The ability for charters who are always more experimental to some degree has been part of our initial success.”

EdTech leaders also said Arizona State University and the other higher education institutions in the state help create this creative environment. ASU was recently ranked the most innovative university in the nation for the third year in a row by U.S. News and World Report.

“Having the strength of the university, especially with ASU, has helped,” Sobon said. “The higher-ed industry, and the companies and universities serving that, has helped as well just as an incubator and an understanding of looking at education from creative solutions and an open perspective of, ‘How can we make it better?’ or ‘How can we look at the classroom and make it more receptive to teachers and students?’”

Sobon said this creativity trickles down into the K-12 space, creating a more innovative environment overall.

“I think that comes from a lot of those factors, like having a university that’s really leading the charge in innovation around education,” Sobon said. “Overall, that all seeps down into the K-12 space.”

Sobon said the education environment in Phoenix is crucial for EdTech, because the industry is focused first on the classroom.

“It’s much more about the education environment here,” Sobon said. “Education begins with academic goals for the student more than it is looking at it from any sort of business perspective. We really focus on the classroom perspective first.”

Read the Full Article: https://azbigmedia.com/phoenix-become-silicon-valley-edtech/


CallMiner: Common Call Center Compliance Issues

By Robert Stanley, Sr. Manager, Marketing Operations for CallMiner

Call centers are constantly under pressure from regulatory compliance concerns. With a variety of regulations impacting call center operations across many verticals, and those regulations frequently in a state of flux, it can be challenging to stay on top of the latest regulatory requirements, particularly when regulatory changes require changes to the technology call centers rely on or to standard operating processes.

As a result, there are a variety of issues related to compliance that companies tend to overlook. To gain some insight into the most common compliance challenges today’s call centers are facing and the call center compliance issues that often go overlooked, we reached out to a panel of call center leaders and asked them to answer this question:

“What’s the biggest thing companies overlook when it comes to call center compliance issues?”

joe laskowski

Joe Laskowski, Managing Partner and Chief Marketing Officer at Higher Ed Growth and LeadsCouncil board member, was another featured industry leader.

“One of the biggest things companies overlook when it comes to call center compliance is automation. When it comes to call center inquiry generation, many steps can and should be automated in order to reduce errors, call handle times and compliance missteps.

  • Short form lead data often requires agents to complete the same form fields over and over again. There is great opportunity for human error – and in turn, violations. With automation, fields can be pre-populated and streamline this commonly error-prone process.
  • TCPA disclosures should automatically be shown, read and include all brands to ensure the highest compliance for clients. For those in the higher education industry, this means each school name should be included in order for permission to call the prospective student.
  • Call recordings should automatically be stored once the call has completed. Such recordings should also be retained for seven years, as call centers are responsible for internal audits and the audits of their clients. It’s also important that catalogued recordings be delivered in real time.

Quality contact center software is integral to automating compliance. With the ability to combine scripting and search results into one seamless process, it means data collection is more compliant. In addition, call mining and call grading software solutions can help marketers get as close to real-time audits for compliance as possible.

Read all of the contact center compliance tips on CallMiner.com: https://callminer.com/blog/20-call-center-pros-reveal-biggest-things-companies-overlook-comes-call-center-compliance-issues/ 

A Look into the Status and Impact of the Higher Education Act

Despite needing to be updated every five years, the HEA expired in 2008. Since this expiration, the 2008 HEA has been extended while Congress works through amendments and changes to the Act. To date, there has not been consensus on the reauthorization. Why is that and what is the current status of the HEA?

CallMiner: Aspects of Improvement Within Call Center Regulations

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LeadsCon 2019: The Top 5 Trends

By Joe Laskowski March is always an exciting time at Higher Ed Growth (HEG), as it means the team is heading to Las Vegas for LeadsCon. We always look forward to the opportunity of LeadsCon to connect with other leaders in our industry and learn from one another, gauging where the future of lead generation […]