By Guest Contributor Saul Hafenbredl
What are the major trends in business-to-education marketing that companies need to be aware of to stay one step ahead in a rapidly changing business environment?
CB&A’s annual Education Marketing Trends Report provides key insights that help companies succeed in selling to schools—and during a recent Expert Series webinar, the CB&A team highlighted some of the most significant findings from this year’s report.
Download the Report: 2022 Education Marketing Trends & Insights
As revealed in the webinar, here are five key trends in education marketing for 2022.
#1) Lead generation and increasing sales are the top two goals this year.
For the third year in a row, the survey identified increasing sales and generating leads as the top two goals of B2E marketers, ranking significantly higher in importance than other goals such as engaging and retaining customers, building brand awareness and establishing thought leadership.
“Lead generation is the top goal among B2E marketers this year,” said CB&A President and CEO Charlene Blohm. “Lead generation actually edged out sales as the top goal for the first time in the three-year run of our survey, which we thought is definitely worth noting. Building brand awareness slipped in importance a little bit, from 84 percent last year to 64 percent this year.”
Customer retention moved from the fifth most important goal last year to third this year. “I think that’s a reflection of all the sales growth that’s occurring in the education market,” Blohm said. “Having gained more customers, [companies] are placing more emphasis on retaining them.”
#2) Content continues to grow in importance, and it’s the cornerstone of effective B2E marketing efforts.
In 2022, 84 percent of B2E marketers plan to develop new content assets. That’s up from 76 percent in 2020 and 78 percent in 2021. Fully half of respondents rated content marketing as a “5” on a five-point scale of importance—and 53 percent said it’s an even more important strategy for them this year than in 2021.
“More than ever, content is the cornerstone of an effective education marketing strategy,” said CB&A Vice President Emily Embury. “To attract and nurture leads, you need high-quality content, and by offering content that’s of value to prospects, you’re able to further build those relationships you need to ultimately reach your sales goals.”
#3) Webinars have dipped in importance, perhaps because in-person events have returned.
Case studies are the most prized content assets for B2E marketers this year, with 76 percent of respondents characterizing them as important.
“Education leaders are highly influenced by the experiences of their peers when making buying decisions, and a well-written case study can be pretty compelling, especially during the consideration phase of the buyer’s journey,” said Saul Hafenbredl, Senior Director of Strategy and Business Development for CB&A.
Webinars, which had topped the list in the 2021 survey, fell back to the third most important content type this year. This might have something to do with the return of in-person conferences in 2022, as many B2E marketers had said they used webinars as a substitute for connecting with prospects at trade shows during the height of the pandemic.
#4) Conferences aren’t 100% back—yet.
“One of the most common questions we’ve been asked lately is: What is going on with conferences?” said Chloe Dechow, Account Director at CB&A. “It’s no secret that COVID and its continuance has complicated plans for conferences and events.”
Because of all the uncertainty still surrounding the pandemic, conferences have not fully returned to prominence as a core B2E marketing strategy, the survey suggests. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of respondents said events were not an important part of their marketing plans for 2022. One in five (21 percent) were ambivalent about the return of in-person events this year, and 11 percent characterized themselves as “not at all excited.”
Still, the news wasn’t all bad for conferences, Dechow noted: Sixty-three percent of education marketers plan to exhibit at conferences this year, and 34 percent plan to be a conference sponsor.
#5) The B2E marketing forecast is mostly sunny for the next three years.
“Despite the lingering effects of the pandemic, fully 86 percent of those surveyed said they had a good feeling about their company’s revenue growth in 2022,” Blohm said. That’s up from 78 percent of marketers who expressed optimism for 2021.
The outlook over the next three years is even brighter: 92 percent of B2E marketers said they were optimistic about the potential for growth in that time, and just 3 percent took a more pessimistic view.
For more insights, you can read the full report here.
Saul Hafenbredl is Senior Director of Strategy & Business Development for C. Blohm & Associates (CB&A).
Founded in 1991, CB&A is the most experienced marketing communications agency specializing in the U.S. education market. CB&A accelerates the growth of companies that provide products and services to K-12 school systems and higher education institutions. For more information about CB&A, visit www.cblohm.com.