The Complex Student Journey: Insights from NYU's Enrollment Marketing with Joey Schmidt

The Complex Student Journey: Insights from NYU's Enrollment Marketing with Joey Schmidt
by
Shelby Moquin
on
May 31, 2024
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About the Blog

In the latest episode of the Confessions of a Higher Ed CMO podcast, host Jaime Hunt sits down with Joey Schmit, Associate Vice President of Global Enrollment Marketing and Communications at NYU. They delve into the intricacies of mapping the student journey and the transformative power of design thinking in enhancing the student experience. This episode is a goldmine for higher education professionals looking to create more cohesive and student-centered experiences.

A Vibrant New York Campus Experience

Joey Schmit’s journey to his current role at NYU is as dynamic as the city itself. With a background in film and media from Arizona State and experience working with Disney, Joey found a way to blend his storytelling passion with a career in higher education marketing. His path eventually led him to NYU, a place he describes as innovative, non-traditional, and truly global. NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai offer a unique and diverse environment, contributing to Joey's rich experience in enrollment marketing.

The Genesis of a Student Journey Mapping Project

Joey’s team embarked on a comprehensive project to map the student journey, driven by the need to support students not just in enrolling but throughout their time at NYU. The project started with two key questions: How to create a nuanced understanding of the first-year experience, and how to shift the power dynamics by involving students and other stakeholders in the design process. With the help of IDEO, a leader in human-centered design, NYU set out to gather and analyze student data through immersive methods such as shadowing, pop-up installations, and diary studies.

Immersive Research and Design Principles

The research phase revealed the fragmented nature of student communications and services, often described by students as a "tsunami of services." Joey emphasized the importance of starting with humility and curiosity, aiming to deeply understand students' needs and experiences. This approach led to the development of guiding principles like “just-in-time over just-in-case” and “dialogues over monologues,” which now inform NYU’s communications strategies.

Collaborative Efforts and Challenges

Bringing various stakeholders on board was crucial. Joey highlighted the importance of involving skeptics early in the process and aligning on questions rather than just goals. This inclusive approach ensured that voices from all levels of the institution were heard and that the solutions developed were holistic and effective.

Measuring Success and Celebrating Wins

Measuring the success of such projects involves traditional metrics like retention rates, as well as more innovative measures like reduced call and email volumes to student services. Joey also stressed the importance of celebrating both successes and learnings, even when certain initiatives don't pan out as expected.

The Power of Storytelling in Higher Education

Both Jaime and Joey agree on the critical role of storytelling in higher education marketing. Combining data with compelling narratives makes the information more memorable and impactful. By continually elevating student voices and experiences, institutions can foster a more empathetic and effective approach to student engagement.

Key Takeaways

  • Human-Centered Design: Incorporating design thinking principles can transform student services by making them more responsive and tailored to actual needs.
  • Inclusive Collaboration: Engaging a diverse group of stakeholders, including skeptics and frontline staff, ensures a more comprehensive understanding and better solutions.
  • Empathy and Active Listening: True empathy goes beyond being nice; it's about deeply understanding and addressing the needs and challenges of students.
  • Continuous Improvement: Regularly revisiting and refining processes based on feedback and data is essential for ongoing success.

Listen + Learn More

To dive deeper into the strategies and insights shared by Joey Schmit, listen to the full episode on the Enrollify podcast network. Explore the vibrant discussions on higher education marketing and student experience design to stay ahead in the ever-evolving landscape of enrollment management.

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