Core Digital Practices + AI Grow Executive Education Efficiently


Rebuilding digital marketing fundamentals and harnessing AI and other martech lowered costs and created new revenue in Executive Education.

A leading private university sought to increase enrollment in its unique Executive Education programs. While designed with impeccable, relevant quality, and taught by experienced leaders renowned in their fields, the programs underperformed even before pandemic disruptions.

Arcalea’s analysis enabled remediation of foundational gaps across platforms and programs, creation of new revenue sources, and the rebuilding of critical infrastructure. As a result, non-productive spends were eliminated, and Cost Per Lead (CPL) was improved across the programs, and cut by half or more in multiple targeted programs.

The Challenge

The brand needed to reach prospects more effectively, with messaging that leverages unparalleled program quality, value, and ROI against competitors with greater reach and Share of Voice (SOV).


Arcalea began by analyzing the fundamental structures and configurations of platforms and data, identifying opportunities for immediate corrections and mid to long-term infrastructure rebuilding. Assessment of advertising platforms revealed structural disconnects in keyword strategies, including global keywords that blocked query matches, redundant keywords that favored low-converting instances, and ad configurations that effectively blocked AI advantages. Platform features that drive effective ad placement were not exploited, leaving cost-effective elements such as ad extensions, snippets, and audience configurations unused. Arcalea developed a comprehensive remediation list in order to increase efficacy and efficiency through 1000s of synergistic changes, carefully adjusting to preserve value from interrelated parameters.

The key value within Executive Education programs lay within each highly-specialized and targeted program, including curricula, professors, and targeted verticals. Because Executive Education programs were marketed as a whole, keywords and targeting could not leverage individual program value. By creating program-specific campaigns, keywords, messaging, and targeting, each program’s value can now be effectively communicated to specific targeted prospects. A byproduct of the previous aggregate marketing was the inability to allocate by program; for example, if a $50,000 ad spend went to the Executive Programs suite, 1 program could receive $40,000 while the remaining programs would receive small allocations. Separating marketing efforts by program permitted tailored allocations and approaches for each program by priority and efficacy.

Finally, analysis revealed gaps in customer data necessary to effectively address prospects: quantifying pipeline volume, identifying who they were, and locating their funnel position. Arcalea recommended an Identity Resolution strategy to de-duplicate customer data and address the incomplete customer data infrastructure. While the immediate goal is the validation of existing customer data, the longer-term goal is the efficient use of all existing data systems working together toward a complete view of the customer journey. Equally important, understanding which users are in which positions along the customer journey allow for more precise messaging (right message at the right time) and better lookalike audience expansion in Programmatic, Search, and social media advertising.


As a result of rebuilding campaigns with contemporary fundamentals and high platform utilization, inefficient structures were modified, replaced, or deleted. With large increases in spend, natural inefficiencies of deeper recruitment were minimized. As spends increase, the low-cost conversions are expended, leaving conversions that require 3x-7x the separate contacts and sometimes multiple times the conversion (acquisition) cost. However, individual targeted programs within Executive Education experienced Cost Per Lead (CPL) reductions greater than 50%. As spending increases, data capture, tuning, and experimenting will continue, uncovering significant opportunities to further optimize individual programs.

Moving Forward

As the optimized efforts have begun to create quantifiable customer data, planning for rebuilding the overall customer data infrastructure is beginning. As the brand approaches a full customer view, the ability to accurately target and message multiplies. Prospects, leads, and revenue will continue to grow with data maturation, leading to greater leveraging of the unique program value proposition.




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