The Crisis of Confidence in Higher Education (and how CRM can help solve it)

Tim Hinds, Senior Strategic Marketer, KERN EducationEducation

Declining public perception of higher education

The public perception of the value of higher education in the U.S. has been in decline over recent years—currently at 48% compared to 57% in 2015—as reported by Gallup’s annual confidence in institutions poll.

The military (74%), small business (67%) and the police (54%) engender more confidence than does higher education.

This stems from a variety of issues, including rising tuition fees, growing student debt and doubts about the work-readiness of today’s graduates, which has led many to question the overall value of a higher education degree in today’s marketplace.

Compounded by the impacts of COVID-19, enrollment rates continue to drop rapidly heading toward the predicted 2025 enrollment cliff. Institutions are struggling to adjust by rethinking degree-only academic programming, potentially freezing tuition rates, supporting broader access to underserved communities through inclusivity, and adding levels of strategic marketing support teams with expertise and skills resembling those of their Fortune 500 commercial industry counterparts.


Moving to customer-centric business model and CRM

Over the next few months, KERN Education will address how higher education must begin operating as a customer-centric business model in a three-part series as depicted in the recent The Economist article “The Coming ‘Relevance Renaissance’ in Higher Education” by Brandon Busteed ( by adapting customer relationship marketing (CRM) and customer journey strategies Fortune 500 companies have been perfecting for years to earn back public trust and set the path for growth:

Part 1 – Fortune 500–level CRM foundations applied to higher education
Part 2 – Foster inclusivity, diversity and equity in college access in admissions and enrollment
Part 3 – Master marketing to Generations Z and K and understand a new generation of decision-making

Stay informed and join the discussion as KERN Education outlines the necessary steps and considerations institutions must take to survive and thrive in this era of great change in higher education from a CRM, inclusivity and generational perspective. Follow us on LinkedIn @TimHinds and Facebook.


About Tim Hinds

Tim is a Senior Marketing Strategist with more than 20 years of both omni-channel and customer relationship marketing (CRM) experience spanning multiple industries. As KERN Education business practice lead, he oversees the engagement and growth of KERN Education’s clients and partners.

KERN Education is an Enrollment Conversion Specialist and a division of KERN — An Omnicom Agency, located in Los Angeles, California.

Backed by a proven foundation of experience in higher education, CRM and multiple competitive acquisition industries, KERN Education offers a powerful agency partnership to its clients.

From engagement messaging strategies and social marketing to immersive video and dynamic microsites,   KERN Education specializes in converting enrollment for the Gen Z and K audience through a proven multi-touch program and Tribal Segmentation Messaging.

For more information or to schedule a higher education CRM needs analysis, please contact Tim Hinds, Senior Marketing Strategist, at 818-444-4208. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Plus, for the latest articles visit our KERN Higher Ed blogsite.

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