The Educated Marketer


The Traits That Separate Good College Recruiters from Great College Recruiters

by Leah Peters | Dec 10, 2015

 |  college recruitment, inbound marketing


Making sure you’re on the cutting edge of student recruitment marketing.


Between Good and Great

Mark Twain said that the difference between the exact right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightening and a lightening bug.

For our purposes, the difference between good marketing and great marketing is the same: between a bolt of lightening and a lightening bug. Both are pretty incredible, if you think about it, but while a lightening bug captures the attention of a few people for a while, an impressively timed bolt of lightening can really make an unforgettable impression.

Anyone, with enough determination and hard work, can be good at what they do -- but to be great takes something more.

Getting to Great

Of course, becoming great at what you do isn’t just a matter of following a list or a formula -- if it were, everyone would be great! (Or else no one would be.) While it’s not possible to give a formula for greatness, it’s true that truly great marketers have some traits that set them head and shoulders above the rest.

Here they are, in no particular order:

Creativity…and then some

Good student recruiters are creative. Great student recruiters understand that creativity only gets you so far -- it has to be wedded to analysis. Great student recruiters combine stellar creativity with a rigorous commitment to analytics. They know which metrics to pay attention to and which to ignore. They’re out-of-the-box thinkers who keep tabs on what actually gets results.

Collegiality…and collaboration

Good college marketers work well with others and are respected by their team. Great college marketers inspire trust and foster creativity, independence, and courage in their team. They’re not hiding out in their office busily being the boss. They’re out there, sleeves rolled up, working as a member of the team.


A good student recruitment marketer enjoys what she does. A great student recruitment marketer loves her work, thinks about it often (if not constantly!), is constantly inspired by what she sees around her and is endlessly scheming and dreaming about how to make things better.

Compassion…or empathy

Good higher education marketers know who their ideal prospective students are. Great higher education marketers know what those ideal prospective students are worried about, what they’re excited about, how they spend their time, and which words they’re likely to use to ask questions about the college admissions process. A great higher education marketer exhibits extraordinary empathy vis a vis the prospective student.


Good student recruiters are willing to try new things. Great student recruiters can’t wait to dream up new strategies. They’re never content with they way things are being done or the way they have been done. Great student recruiters are restless and forward-thinking, never content with what’s hot now -- they’re always looking to what’s going to be next.

Capable of Change

Good college marketers come up with impressive campaigns, but great college marketers understand that even the best campaign can go awry. Great college marketers are flexible, always ready to make necessary changes at the last minute.

Contemporary…and cutting-edge

Good student recruitment marketers keep apprised of trends in higher education marketing. Great student recruitment marketers help set the trends in higher education marketing. They know that traditional outbound marketing is, well, on the way out, and that, these days, it’s all about inbound. Great student recruitment marketers aren’t doing what they’ve always done…they’re ready to take a new angle, try something new, go out on the edge.

That’s what makes them great.

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