5 Key Education Marketing Trends for 2022

Market Insight
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?

#1) Lead generation and increasing sales are the top two goals this year

For the third year in a row, our 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 marketing continues to grow in importance, and is 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 back 100 percent – 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 uncertainty still surrounding the pandemic, conferences have not yet 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.


About the author

Saul Hafenbredl is the Senior Director of Strategy and Business Development for C. Blohm & Associates. Driven by a “focus on what matters” philosophy, he directs marketing communications campaigns across CB&A’s client family. Saul helps account teams turn strategy into results, and he’s the primary point of contact in high-stakes communications scenarios. His background in account services gives Saul an advantage when it comes to forecasting challenges and opportunities. Saul’s leisure interests often lead him outside: plodding along with his yellow lab sidekick, reading in the backyard, captaining the family pontoon boat or looking for the nearest hiking trail.

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