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Podcasts Mission Admissions Episode 10
48 Minutes of Enrollment Management Gold!
Jeremy Tiers: [00:00:00] Hey everybody. This is Jeremy tiers from Tudor collegiate strategies, and you're about to check out the latest episode of the mission admissions podcast. A show that's designed to help higher ed become better recruiters, communicators, marketers, and. Each week, I'll introduce you to an industry leader or difference maker who will share helpful advice, tips, and strategies that will help you grow professionally and personally.
Mission admissions is part of the enroll five podcast network and is made possible by gecko. An engagement platform that makes it easy for your team to deliver a better student experience. I'm excited to share my latest candid conversation. So let's get started.
[00:01:00] Hey everybody. It's Jeremy Tiers and this is episode ten, of the mission admission podcast. We finally hit double digits. And I wanna start by saying a quick, thank you to everyone. Listening. Your support means a ton to me, almost all of my guests. This season have been leaders in difference makers who work in industries outside of higher ed, which is something I've done very intentionally with the hope that those of you who listen, can see, you can get all kinds of helpful tips and advice and ideas from people in other, in.
Today, we're flipping the script a little, like I did in episode five with Megan Tyler from Walford college. And I think you're really going to enjoy the conversation I'm about to have with Alison Terio, the assistant vice president for enrollment and marketing at Sienna college in upstate New York.
Whenever I get asked what the best of the best in higher ed or doing differently, Allison is one of the first people that often come to mind. [00:02:00] She truly is an elite performer and difference maker. In my opinion. and I've had the pleasure of collaborating with her over the years on things like staff training, different communication projects.
And we've actually done a couple conference presentations together as well. So welcome to the show, Allison.
Allison Turcio: Hi Jeremy. Hi everyone.
Jeremy Tiers: So I wanna dive right in, because I have so much that I want to ask you about today and pick your brain on, what are you thinking about for the last part of 2022, in terms of things you're wanting to either start doing that you haven't been doing or do differently, do more of do less of
Allison Turcio: the big thing on my mind is a really exciting project coming out of our strategic plan.
One of the things I'm tasked with is to create a student centered. Marketing plan. And so it's really flipping the script, right? Because if I look at our marketing plan, the last time we did it during our last strategic plan, it's really [00:03:00] institutional centric. It's what do we wanna say? Who do we want to reach?
Um, and so we're flipping it on its head and everything's gonna be. Driven by what students are looking for and how students wanna be communicated with. So we're really, we're really flipping it. And, um, even more exciting is I have 14, I believe colleagues working on it with me. I'm pulling in financial aid.
I'm pulling in enrollment managers, I'm pulling in admissions marketing team communications team. We all work with students. We all work on front lines with them and the more that we can stay connected to prospective students the better. So normally it would be the marketing team who goes off and makes a marketing plan.
Right. But we're bringing in the whole crew. I actually have some student interns who are working on it with us too. So that's my big, exciting project that we're tackling this fall.
Jeremy Tiers: How does that come about? Because I'm sure a ton of people listen, Would be like, Alison, this would be great, but like, I [00:04:00] can't even get two or three other people who I would argue need to be all in the same room, talking together all at once.
So just walk, walk us through. How does that all come about?
Allison Turcio: Well, part of it is that we already have those relationships with the communications team and the admissions team. And we work at them every single day because you know, everything they do is marketing and everything we do affects. Admissions and affects communications at the college.
So we work at those relationships in a personal level, not just a colleague level. And I think that's why when I go and I put the word out and I say, Hey guys, who wants to be in on this? People want to collaborate, collaborate. So you have to create that culture of that people desire to work together towards this end.
Jeremy Tiers: and I would argue that culture had to start somewhere. And so whatever you're comfortable sharing, where did that culture, or when did that culture start at Sienna? How did that culture start at SIE? [00:05:00]
Allison Turcio: Well, Sienna is a Franciscan college, and that's really at the core of Franciscan values is being in relationship with one with one another.
So I think in our mission and our history, they lay the playing field for it in enrollment and marketing in our division. I think Ned who's our vice president. This is the way he leads . And so we, we develop personal relationships with each other. We cross collaborate frequently on projects. His.
Leadership team consists of all the different areas. It's not just, um, admissions or not just financial aid. So we're sort of trained to work together. And I, I think it's just something that we work at though. Um, it's not something that you can take for granted. You have to really work at the team culture and develop that desire to work with one another.
Jeremy Tiers: Yeah. Intentionality is so important. I feel like I find myself talking about that. Not just when it comes [00:06:00] to collaborating with other offices. Even if you're listening and you're like, but I'm in a position of an admissions counselor, an associate director. I'm not at Allison's level. What am I supposed to do?
Still be intentional, right. About trying to spend time with people in those different departments that ultimately are gonna allow you to do your job, to the best of your ability,
Allison Turcio: your vice president, of whatever you are in charge of. Absolutely. So you can create collaborative relat. With whatever you are in charge of.
So if you're an admissions counselor, you are vice president of regional recruiting in new England, say that you are vice president of that. So within what's your realm within what's your control, whether you're seeing it happen across your organization or not, what's in your purview where you can develop those relationships and where you can, um, tag other people to help you on.
Jeremy Tiers: such an important mindset, you know, and that's what it comes down to. I think at the end of the day, it's just [00:07:00] saying you're in control of your own world. Yep. Even if you're not in control of all these other things that might affect your world, how would you define the state of enrollment marketing in 2022?
Cause I know you've got lots of thoughts on this
Allison Turcio: scattered. I think enrollment marketing is all over the place. There's just so many levels of it happening. You know, when I go and I'm on social media and I'm seeing ads, colleges run ads, and for, and they're just use the words that they're using. I'm like, are these words that you think prospective students and families are using in connection with college, but then I'll see some people just kick, but you know, and they.
They're just really resonating with their audience and doing amazing. So I think it runs the gamut. And I think, um, the colleges that have that leadership support is really where it happens when I see a message that I feel like doesn't fit with, who they're trying to reach. I don't think it's the marketers.
I think that there's [00:08:00] someone who's pushing them to write in a certain way and present a college in a certain way. And that's a really tough position to be in. So I think we're scattered. I think that we are to be commended for the work that we're doing, because we're always pushing the envelope. I see you all out there doing it, and I commend you for it and keep doing it because we need to keep raising the bar for ourselves as an in.
Jeremy Tiers: Yeah, it's so important. As Allison said, I mean, just back to, again, being intentional, controlling your world, just doing everything you can to try to obviously move forward. And if you have leadership support even better, but really showing leadership. And I know you do a lot of this, so let's talk about it for a sec in those staff meetings.
If we want to call it that right. That you all have multiple times a month, correct me if I'm. You're sitting in there and you're analyzing data in real time. How do you get anybody in a [00:09:00] position of leadership or otherwise to say, all right, you want me to do something different? You want us to do something different?
Like why, why are we doing this differently? How do you explain that to somebody? And how do you take data as a way to support your argument?
Allison Turcio: Well, the da I think because we're already believers in data, it's a harder question for me to answer. When you see apps are down in this place. Okay. Let's talk, let's unpack it together.
There's no quick answer. There's no silver bullets anywhere. Right? So let's unpack that together. We know it's an issue. What's going on? What are we seeing in the marketing data? What are we hearing in the fields from the admissions counselors? What are the financial aid counselors hearing from those families?
What are the questions they're getting? It's the 360 view that you need? All the voices on. To be able to make the right decision to move forward. Right. So I think it's valuing the different perspectives that everybody brings to the table in order to make the best decision
Jeremy Tiers: define [00:10:00] student centered for me
Allison Turcio: to me, because I'm a writer first it's about language and it's about speaking to the students in a way that.
invokes emotion that inspires that connects that engages really it's more than moving them to action. It's more than getting them to sign up for something or getting them to apply. It's getting to feel something. And so to do that, you really have to put yourself in their shoes and understand them and talk to them all of the time, because what resonates will change.
So I just think that I. Attending to them, putting them first thinking through your decisions from their perspective, those are the schools that'll win.
Jeremy Tiers: I don't think I've met
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Jeremy Tiers: And I would argue what you just described is what I would call actual personalization. And I feel like when I have conversations, Allison, with so many people from admissions counselors who are brand new all the way up through VPs, it's Jeremy, we need to do more personalization.
I'm like great. Define for me what personalization means to you. And oftentimes, right. Nobody can do it. They know it's not. [00:13:00] While I'd get rid of dear at the start of an email and I put high, or I put their name in the subject line, or I, everybody does that. And while some of you may think of that as personalization, I would argue it's more about what Allison just said, which is how do you, through words, you've used through pictures, through videos, right?
Evoke some level of emotion. And then also find ways to get these students to talk to you about the emotions that you're creating and that other people are aren't creating and how they're feeling when they go through this college search process. I think you guys have done an amazing job with personalization.
So what are a few things, again, I'm not asking you to give away all the trade secrets, but like you do a lot of obviously emailing, texting, social, your, your understanding of just all of them, I think is better than most. So what are some key things that really you have found work well when it comes to personalizing all those different.
Allison Turcio: Well, we think of [00:14:00] it as personal versus personalized. And here's why, because yes, personalized to many people is a male merge. That's what you just said. You put their name in, you mentioned their high school. Maybe you mentioned their major, but like male merges have been around since like words started.
There's nothing special about a male merge. No one feels special by that. That's we all experience that all the time. Right? So let's let. That's bare minimum. Let's just put that out there. So how do you make something feel personal? Well, if it's an email, you make it feel like it was written only for them, or it's written in a way that asks them a question that makes them feel that you care about learning more about them in a really personal way.
Right. So as an example, how do you do this in. You can't email every single student that applies to you with a specific question about something you see on their app. Well, but you can to targeted ones because you know who your [00:15:00] best prospects in that pool are. So those ones, you take those out of the bulk email and you better be talking to them one on one and finding something really unique about their experience.
And you talk to them about. Put that experience or that thing that they do right in the subject line, but to do it to a larger audience, say they just applied to the college. Your, their application just became complete. We send out a message that says I have all of your materials. This comes from the regional admissions counselor, who is the one who will accept them or not review do the first round review.
I just, I see that all of your materials in you're complete. Is there anything else you want me to know about you? Because this is just numbers. This is surface stuff. Is there anything I need to know about you before I go look at all of your application materials and decide on merit scholarship amounts?
That's personal, right? That doesn't, even though it's a generic email and it goes to a lot of students, it still feels personal and it makes them feel like you care about knowing them personally. [00:16:00] And we do that is information that we value in the admissions process. So you have to value it before you buy, go and do it, or else you're just fake.
Jeremy Tiers: I agree. And, and you know how I feel about. I want to understand from your point of view, then why do so many people, not just enrollment, marketers, but admissions leaders, and sometimes even just admissions counselors struggle with what you just said, because they were like, wait a sec, Allison, you're talking way too much on their level using words that maybe aren't as professional as they should sound.
And my argument always is. No, you're actually more relatable and believable, which is what your target audience needs you to be. But like, talk to me about how do you, if you were giving advice to somebody, right. Cause you and I are on the same page with that, how do you get them pass this idea of it's not wrong to do that.
It's actually exactly what you need to do. If you want it to feel more.
Allison Turcio: I promise no one ever has written back to us and said, this sounds so unprofessional. So I'll tell you [00:17:00] all that right off the bat. And we've sent hundreds of thousands of messages like this out and not one person has said, I can't believe how unprofessional S college is.
Listen. We all have amazing things to say about our schools, right? Every single one of you have amazing students, amazing faculty. No one can hear us if we're not speaking in their language though. So it's about being heard. Everybody wants to elevate the story of their school. So you wanna be heard, you have to speak in their language when they don't hear you and they're ignoring your emails.
I always think to myself, if they're not opening these emails, they're not doing what they want to. It's not that they're. that they're doing something wrong. We're doing something wrong. They're we're not getting through, they're not listening to us. Um, but it's on us, not them. Um, when a lot of people might brush it off as, ah, teenagers, they're just not paying attention.
They're on Netflix. They, so they don't care. I, yeah, that's a reality. But. We still [00:18:00] have to make our message be heard. And how do you make your message be heard if you're not using their language and you're using all this higher ed speak and not feeling relatable to them.
Jeremy Tiers: And you and I have talked over the years, right?
About the importance of making different communications that a college would send way less promotional. If we want to call it that and way more about building, you know, or creating an opportunity for a relat. explain your point of view. Why is that so important and just, what are some ways Sienna continues to do that, that you found work quite well?
Allison Turcio: Well, building relationships is important because that's just, it's who we are, to be honest, it's what we value at the college. So we. Try to put it into our marketing and our admission strategy. You know, a lot of colleges, we're Catholic princess in college. So a lot of schools like us. I know you're all out there.
Liberal arts, small, um, maybe religiously affiliated. You really struggle cuz everyone wants your. You to fulfill [00:19:00] the mission, right? The best way to fulfill the mission of the college is to be it . So we, we show everybody what it means to be Franciscan by building these relationships and having this at the core of our marketing and a mission strategies.
We that's the best way to show people. What the experience is gonna be like is by actually doing it and not just talking about it. It's not just these fluff words that you're throwing out to them. You're actually showing them what it's like to be there. So I think, I think because it matches who we are.
That's why it's so important. That's, that's what we're all about.
Jeremy Tiers: Yeah. I know. You've revamped your communications over the years. And so you've done
Allison Turcio: audits all the time. You mean never stopped
Jeremy Tiers: absolutely. And to that point, right? An audit. Of yourself, your communications, your department, if you're a leader, your staff, it should be ongoing, right?
It should never stop. Have you always had that mindset [00:20:00] in terms of, you know, you've been in your role now for a number of years? Was that something that you brought in with you or was that something that you developed in terms of just that ongoing process and not saying like, this is a once or twice or a year thing.
Allison Turcio: That's funny. I'm not sure if it came from me, if it was trained into me by being in this culture at Sienna, I don't even know which is which anymore, but we do have that mentality of everything. We look at everything, anew, everything. We're trying to think about the student mindset. There is not anything that gets sent out ever.
That's just a. We sent that last year. Send that again. We did this on this date. So pass it out again. Never, we just don't.
Jeremy Tiers: What does your president have to say about all of this? Just totally hands off or, you know, how is senior, senior leadership above, even in your case, you know, Ned, who's your VP. [00:21:00] How does that all factor into this?
Or is it Jeremy that person's singing the same tune that the rest of us are singing, which is why this continues to be so easy, so to speak.
Allison Turcio: Yeah, our, our president just doesn't get into those kinds of details with us. He. Trusts us. He gives us that support and lets us run. I mean, and it means the world to have the president's backing in the way that we do.
And we report to the provost and she's amazing. She's the same way we get wonderful support from her, you know, and we're performing. So perhaps it's easy for them to do that. And if we weren't, they'd have to take a different stance with us. But I think that's one of the reasons that we're performing is because we question everyth.
it doesn't matter what worked last year, what didn't work last year, you have to relook at everything. You have to reanalyze everything. You always have to look at the data you can't just take for granted because something worked before it's going to work again.
Jeremy Tiers: [00:22:00] And to your point, I think you answered my next question, which, which I just love about you.
Right? Which is, I know Sienna has the largest four classes on their campus right now in the time that you've been there. Correct me if I'm wrong, obviously you've been performing. How do you keep performing? And to your point, I think it's, you keep analyzing, but anything you would add to that?
Allison Turcio: Well, I just hate to lose.
I hate to lose. I'm not. So we're always, we're always trying. I think we're, we all have a bit of a competitive spirit too with us, but we believe in Sienna. That's part of it too. I mean, we are true believers. We are proud of the college that we're working at, which makes it easy to be hungry. To keep doing this for the college and keep bringing students here because we believe in the experience that they're gonna have and what they're gonna go do in the world after.
So I think we're true believers, and that's a big piece of this.
Jeremy Tiers: What motivates you every day when you get up,
Allison Turcio: besides my kids [00:23:00] and setting a great example for them, my team, I mean, I want to be here for my team. I wanna be present for my team. I want us to do the best we possibly can. That's what we, I get to work, get up and get to work with amazing people here at Sienna and especially in enrollment and marketing and my own team that works with me on the marketing specifically, I get out of bed and I'm happy to come to work on Mondays.
I'm happy to come to work every day. And I think if you don't feel that way about higher ed, it's not gonna. A good match for you, but I get out and I am like looking forward to seeing the faces that I'm gonna see in the office. When I come in, they're the best. I can't imagine a better team to be working with.
What's the hardest part of your job then? the hardest part of marketing is that everybody has an opinion and so that, but they should, whenever we see any, I have opinions too, when I [00:24:00] see stuff in my feed and I see stuff on TV. Of course I have an opinion. I have a reaction as you should. The hardest part about marketing is being able to filter those opinions and take what feedback is important and valuable and take what feedback is.
Valid, but maybe not impactful for your audience. So I really think being able to manage all of those perceptions and all of those opinions coming in, cuz marketing is visible. So everybody has an opinion about what marketing should be doing, how it should be looking. what it should be saying. And I think managing those expectations and those perceptions are really difficult sometimes in this position.
Zach Busekrus: Hey, I'll Zach here from role fight. If you like this podcast, chances are you'll. Other in RFI shows too. Our podcast network is growing by the month and we've got a plethora of marketing admissions and higher ed technology shows that are jam packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks that are all designed to [00:25:00] empower you to become a better higher ed professional.
Our shows feature a selection of the industry's best as your hosts. Learn from Mickey Danes, Jeremy tier Jamie hunt, Karen Meyers, Jamie Leason, and many, many more. You can learn more about the enroll five podcast network at podcasts dot enroll, five dot. Our shows help higher ed marketers and admissions professionals find their next big idea.
Jeremy Tiers: I totally agree. And you know, the old adage, right. Leadership is hard. Yes. Yep. It is. I mean, I don't know any single person in a position of leadership anywhere, right. That says this is easy. Because it involves other humans, right? Yeah. And, and other humans are all different.
What do you think are key traits that make you an effective leader then in 2022?
Allison Turcio: I never think I'm perfect. I never think I'm there. I am always looking for better ways to engage my team [00:26:00] better ways to do what I'm doing. Learning. I am constantly learning I'm in a doctorate program right now that really pushes me to think differently and to gain new perspectives.
So it's just sort of that hunger and knowing you've never got it. Leadership is something that you have to. Taken to action. It's not a position just because I'm labeled assistant vice president of enrollment in marketing does not make me an effective or good leader. It doesn't even really make me a leader.
I really think leadership is a practice and not a position
Jeremy Tiers: I would argue. And tell me if you disagree. You are able to show vulnerability as a leader that a lot of leaders, for whatever reason aren't comfortable in doing, has that always been easy for you in terms of saying, for example, Nope, I'm not right.
You know? Nope. You know what? We should have done this instead. like, but, but that's hard for a lot of people, [00:27:00] Allison. So like being vulnerable easy for you never really had to work at or no, that's something I've had to work at and I'm still working at.
Allison Turcio: I am horrible at it. I have to work at it so hard. I it's something it's like going to the gym every day.
It's a muscle that you have to train you. You do have to have that vulnerability. I hate to be wrong. I hate to say I made a mistake and I was wrong, but you have to be able to admit mistakes and show that. And as a leader, I think you have to be able to. Any mistake that's made on your team, whether you were involved in it or not, you are involved because you are the leader.
So you have to be able to take that flack if there's any on behalf of your team. And you're the one out there in a visible way, it says, no, we got this wrong and I'm sorry. And here's how we're gonna fix it in the future. So, no, it's, doesn't come. Does it come naturally to anybody? I wanna meet that person.
Yeah. And I think that's what it's saying. I was wrong.
Jeremy Tiers: well, and I'm not even saying you're right. That's [00:28:00] hard for a lot of people, but I think back to vulnerability, right. I would argue I'm a very emotional person. I have no problem admitting that. I, I talk about that all the time with people. I think when you are, you know, whatever, that would be more emotional than average.
Right. I think maybe it does become easier, but to your. I keep going back to mindset and this idea of when you're always trying to be your best self or trying to realize, wait, I don't know everything. Whether I have a VP title or a admissions counselor title, but I want to learn more. I want to figure out what I'm doing.
Well, I want to figure out where those opportunities are. You have a completely different mindset that I think opens you up to constructive criticism or whatever you want to call it. And that can be hard, but like, I talk about it all the time. Like Allison, I'm sure you've got your people. I have my people who call me on my crap all the time.
Like, that's a circle for me. Like I have three or four people. My beautiful wife is one of them who, when I need to be called on my crap, call me on my crap. [00:29:00]
Allison Turcio: Doesn't mean you like to be called out on your crap though. No, it's not, absolutely not. No. I hate that feeling. You know, that feeling in the pit of stomach that you get, because you know, you're wrong and you, or, you know, something's off and it doesn't fit.
Right. I hate getting that feeling, but you have to, I think as a leader, you have to just move on with it, like carry it with you. Um, because you have to. You have to have that moment. I, I agree with you. I don't find it easy to be emotional. I'm actually pretty S SOIC. I don't know if it's the new Englander in me like that Hardy new Englander kind of thing, but I find it hard to be emotional.
So I. I have to work at it because I know it's important because it does help me tap into that vulnerability and that makes you more relatable and that makes you able to be able to engage with people more. And I think it's hard to reach any audience you're trying to reach if you're not vulnerable, because you have to be vulnerable to be able to say, I don't know the best.
My audience knows the best. As
Jeremy Tiers: a [00:30:00] leader, right. I would argue your audience is the people you manage. Yeah. Mm-hmm to that point, right? I just, I see so many people, Allison, when I talk with them one on one at the senior level saying, Jeremy, why do I want to open up like that? And be like all warm and fuzzy with my staff.
And I'm like, Because that's how you get people to trust you believe in you. All of these other things that I would argue as a leader are super important for anyone listening. Give me some thoughts, just cuz I know this is something I get asked a lot and I know you've dealt with it as a leader. When you have somebody that you manage come in and they bring ideas to the table and they're all excited.
Right. And you have to shut it down and you know, all right. either a, it's just not a good idea. And you have to explain to said person why it's not a good idea or B it's actually a great idea, but like, it doesn't fit somehow in the strategic plan, the short term, whatever. Like how do you navigate that conversation as a leader to where that staff member doesn't walk away, feeling defeated, dumb, [00:31:00] whatever the appropriate word is, and they don't want to keep bringing you other new ideas in future.
Allison Turcio: Hm. Well, I hope I don't make my staff feel this way, but I try really hard. Definitely not to. I think the main thing is that everyone's on the same page about the higher strategy in our approach. So I don't get a lot of ideas that are completely off the mark because everyone has this understanding of what we're trying to do here.
So I think that's really the core piece, but if, if someone's coming to me with an idea and maybe. Maybe, I think it's bad, but maybe it's not bad. I kind of am of the mind of let them try to run with it because how do, how do I know? I don't necessarily know best. Um, I might not be the audience, so it might be my perceptions and my experience and my.
Opinions there, but maybe to the audience, it's the exact right thing. So I'm of the [00:32:00] mind, um, to let someone have some leeway and let them test something out before I say no, unless I have data that says, Nope, this is just not the right thing. We've tried it before. And then that's the answer, right? You have the numbers to show, but if I don't have data, let's get some data and find out what the answer is.
Jeremy Tiers: why is higher ed struggling right now with so much staff retention? You know, I don't
Allison Turcio: think people leave just because of low pay or just because of benefits or something like that. I think people leave jobs when they're not feeling fulfilled and we really need to, to start looking at the employee experience in higher ed, because we ask our employees to pour themselves into our student.
And we, as leaders need to pour ourselves into our employees or the people that we're leading as well in exchange of that. Right. Because how can you have an amazing student experience if you're not having an [00:33:00] amazing employee experience? So I think it might be different for each employee. So I don't think that there's any silver, but bullet here in higher education.
I just. Think that we might not be attending to the relationship and attending to the professional growth, um, and attending to making sure people feel fulfilled in their roles and feel valued in the way that we should.
Jeremy Tiers: Yeah. Again, I keep going back to intentionality for whatever reason, as I'm listening to you talk through a lot of this and, and I just don't see enough admissions counselors being intentional with the questions they ask.
For example, prospective students, leaders being intentional with their staff. any of you listening, who are in a position of leadership, right? When you're having those one-on-one meetings with your staff, it's not just about saying, Hey, Allison, how's it going? Good. Hey, Allison, you know, how'd that project go last week.
It went, well, you need to get context and be more intentional with your staff too, because sometimes you're just gonna have staff who, for whatever reason, no matter how good a leader you are, are just afraid [00:34:00] to bring things up or scared to say something where they're like, uh, Allison's gonna be mad at me.
If I say. And I always tell staff members like, that's your red flag. If you're getting one and two word answers, you either a need to ask better questions or B, right? If your staff can't answer those questions, right, you need to dig in a little more, but you know, I love that you AB test stuff and we we've talked about this, you know, over the years, um, greatest accomplishment when you've AB tested that you're willing to share.
Allison Turcio: No, not using templated emails, get rid of the.
Jeremy Tiers: Did that surprise you when you did the AB test, how it came out or was it like, uh, I think I knew it was gonna come this way, Jeremy, but it, it really just reiterated what I maybe at the time, either didn't want to believe didn't think was as big a deal. Like you tell me,
Allison Turcio: I knew it would come out that way, but it's hard to let go of.
You know what it goes back to what you were talking about earlier about the professionalism. It makes it feel when you have a little branded template in there, it makes it feel a little [00:35:00] professional also makes you feel good about what, how you're portraying or branding the college. But this is not a branding moment.
This is a relationship moment. So it's really going back to what the big project I'm working on this year. It's really that switch from institutionally driven decision making to student decision making. Yeah.
Jeremy Tiers: How do you deal with failure? Not well, , we've established that I
Zach Busekrus: don't, I don't like to
Jeremy Tiers: lose. I don't like to lose either.
Like I'm with you there, you know me well enough to know that. Yeah. And I know that about you, but, but I know everybody right. Has things because we all fail. Like there are things I screw up every day, but like, what do you do? Just any way, you know, if somebody's listening, going, like, I need a better way to deal with these things that aren't working.
Maybe don't beat myself up so hard or just find a better way to move forward. Just what advice would you give them?
Allison Turcio: One know that we're all beating ourselves [00:36:00] up so you're not alone. And that we've all been there because we've all done something wrong. We've all made mistakes. So one know that you're not alone.
And two find your person. Is it at another college or is it on your team? Who's your person you can go to and talk it through with, I've got a few of those and they are tremendous. For my personal growth and my mental health. Um, and three, how you gonna fix it? Because I don't think you can move on. I think it eats away at you until you start to think about how would I do it differently.
Jeremy Tiers: I find myself telling a lot of people leaders again, brand new emissions counters. I said this last well, two weeks ago now at a training workshop I did where a person was in like their second. You know, you gotta play out scenarios in your head to me, right. Especially stuff that you know is gonna happen.
Yeah. Like if you're listening to this right now, whether you're a leader or you're, you know, you're an admissions counselor, you're gonna be, if you're not already in the [00:37:00] middle of right. Fall, traveling, going to high school visits, college fairs, all of that, you know what the common scenarios are, you know, you're gonna have some high school visits where zero people show up, you know, you're gonna have some where a huge amount of people show up, or you have like 12 people waiting in line to talk to you.
And you're the only person at that college fair. What are you gonna do? And to your point, I don't think enough of us think those things through sometimes. And so then when it doesn't go the way we want, we're sitting back here, beating up ourselves, going, well, what could we have done differently? And I think, you know, again, it's all right.
Well, you, how are you gonna approach that situation next time, knowing there will be a next time, right? Any of you listening? No, like there are just common things you're going to deal with year in and year out. No matter how long you are in higher ed. What, um, what else, basically right now in your job, are you just trying to, either, if you're an a, you want to be an, a plus at it, if you're a, B, you want to be an a, [00:38:00] like, I don't care how small it is, but I've always admired how much, I think you are open to tweaking things personally and professionally.
Like, what are you trying to tweak right now? If you're willing to.
Allison Turcio: well, we're trying to te tweak our entire marketing strategy right now. So that's a big thing to, to, to take a bite out of. Right. But what
Jeremy Tiers: about you personally?
Allison Turcio: Me personally, my thing is better balancing. I really need to be better at turning off work when I enter my home, because I carry it with me, my whole drive home, I'm turning out ideas, I'm doing this and then I get home and I need to get it out.
And, um, I need to turn that off and just be present with my family. And that's really my, my struggle, the, these blurred lines between family and work and all through my life. And. Ideas come to me at all times, snap like this. And I don't know why it happens that way, but I feel like I need to do a better job of just balancing [00:39:00] that out and not letting things from work consume me when I should be spending time with my family.
It's hard. I mean, it's really hard. Somebody. Yeah. It's not. Yeah. Yeah. I feel you. I need to let it go. That it's not the end of the world. It's not life or death here and it's not at that level that I should walk away from my family right now and not be present with them. Yeah.
Jeremy Tiers: Well, back to, you know, what I asked you earlier, which is, you know, what motivates you when you get up every day, right?
I've found myself and, and I've worked with you, you and your colleagues enough, you know how I start, you know, a lot of these trainings that I do with staffs and, you know, I've changed it up even since the last time I saw you. And now I've really gotten into this idea of like, we all don't define our why enough, like, why do we do what we do?
Right. And I think a lot of people struggle with balance when they don't have their Y defined. So they're trying to figure out, you know, when I do have frustrating [00:40:00] times when I do feel like I can't separate work from home, like, you know, and my why's changed, I tell people all the time, like, of course my why includes my family writing includes some other things too, but just, I, I just think for anybody listening, if you literally don't have a defined, why, like, if somebody came up, if Allison and I met you and we said, Hey, what's your why?
Like, how are you gonna answer that? Right. And I find a lot of people don't have a, you know, actual substantive answer to that.
Allison Turcio: Well at higher ed, you need one, right? I feel like you have to believe in what you're doing here. I believe in higher ed, I believe that it can be a difference maker in our country and in the world.
I believe in Sienna specifically, I believe in our students, I believe in our faculty and I'm, I'm a true believer in all of that. I think higher. At times is misguided, but has the potential to be so powerful in changing people's lives. And that, that's my why. And I think for this kind of industry, it's not surface stuff.
This is deep stuff. This is emotional [00:41:00] stuff. You gotta find your why and your reason, and you, if you're not feeling connected in that way, then maybe it's not the right fit for you. And that's okay. Go where you are gonna feel fulfilled, but I hope that there's also more people out there who haven't yet discovered this amazing industry, because there's so much to love about working in higher ed students being the top of my list, but maybe there's people who aren't here yet and they might love it.
So come try it.
Jeremy Tiers: yeah. Well and making a difference, you know, I mean, yeah, it it's a hundred percent part of my why as you well know, and, and I think you, you said a lot of very powerful, impactful stuff there. So I really hope the audience, you know, tries to unpack that for themselves. what are a couple of things that you're willing to share?
Tips tricks specific to either email texting social media, again, that just stuff that people, if they wanted to change tomorrow and they can get past this idea of, okay, it's not gonna make me less professional. It's gonna be more student centered. [00:42:00] Like what are some quick email texts, social media tips, tricks that you're willing to share.
Allison Turcio: So super short email. That's my, I, I don't know how else to say. I think we get, we overthink and we wanna say too much in a single message. I promise you, you only need a sentence or two to get through what you wanna say, and it's probably going to resonate. The simpler you keep it. And the more clear you keep your text.
So that's my number one tip for copywriting, which sounds like a big want wa I'm sure if you're on the receiving end, but it's really hard to peel back and cut out what your copywriting is. So that's my big tip on email is cut. Cut the, cut your copy, make it short and sweet. Don't feel the need to add in all the.
When you're in person with a student, that's when you start talking to them about what matters to them. And then you fill in all the stuff about your college, about the things that are specific to them. You don't need to say all the [00:43:00] things in one email, and you definitely can't say all the things in one text message, right?
So don't even bother with that on text message. My number one tip with text is make sure they know it's a real person that they can text. That you're not just some bot shooting out reminders and messages to them. Tell 'em it's a real person. They answer you when you. Ask a question and tell 'em a real person will answer you.
And you'll be surprised at the amount of engagement you'll get on the social media side. I can't take any credit for this. This is totally my team. They are posting, um, video and reels to the actual newsfeed and they're killing it. The data is off the charts, so you don't need to save the reels just in the one pocket for reels.
They post it to the feed and they get a good traction there. Lots of
Jeremy Tiers: engagement. What kind of content are they posting on reels? That's really re.
Allison Turcio: They did some stuff. I mean, we've just had orientation week. So they had a gr lots of great students center stuff. One of the [00:44:00] things they did that made me laugh was they started to ask our student body who's the Saint with the most school spirit.
So that was a really fun one, but it's really been student voice. Type of stuff. And that's something that we're testing. Um, for TV spot. This fall actually is entirely student voice driven commercial. We did not write a script. We did not storyboard anything. We took actual footage and interviews of students.
Talking about Sienna, that they were talking about Sienna for completely different reasons. They never thought that this would end up in a commercial. They were maybe just doing an interview. Um, that was for the commencement video, or they were doing an interview for a specific program that was being highlighted for something.
And then the footage is all re stuff. That's captured real. We don't set anything up. It's just what Dave, my awesome videographer goes out and he just captures actual moments happening. And so we've combined those two things and that's what we're gonna test. So. I guess the big moral of the story is that authenticity piece, [00:45:00] right?
I think the more stuff you're chucking in chucking into chucking into an email, it makes it seem fake, makes it seem too scripted. So short and sweet text message, make them know it's a real person that's authentic. And then test in your content. Again, authenticity, real students, their voices, the way they.
Jeremy Tiers: I don't think, you know, and this is a perfect example. So I really hope somebody takes that last point. You just made around just utilizing your current students more. They're your number one asset. Any of you listening? I don't care if you work with traditional or non-traditional students transfer grad, like whatever it is you need to every single year, not once a year, like ongoing back to the stuff Allison's been talking about this entire episode, constantly be trying to think what can we do differently or better?
Right, but it's based off again, feedback straight from our target
Allison Turcio: audience and on what you're producing. So not just what is in the content [00:46:00] you're using, but we are now when we produce a video, when we write an email, when we write a text message, we're now showing it to students, tell us what you think of this.
So the student should be part of your feedback loop too. Not just the, um, content generation they should be in on that feedback, feedback loop. And. Just get out there and go get them. My team was out there hustling at the club fair with all the students on Friday, they had a table. We gave us some stickers.
We gave out these posters about Sienna, easy things that did not cost a lot of money that attracted them to our table. Then they, then they would take their phone out, do the QR code and sign up to work with our office. We gave them different ways. They could be on camera. They can. Do videos do photos from behind the scenes.
They can intern with us. They can be one of our students that we bounce ideas off of. So give students many avenues to get involved with you and then get out there. You have to be among the students. If you want to use the students in your marketing. Yeah. [00:47:00]
Jeremy Tiers: It is so much fun to talk with you and just catch up in 45 minutes, you know, which believe it or not is how long we've been talking already.
goes by so fast.
Allison Turcio: It's kind of like when you call me from the road and we were supposed to have a five minute chat and we talk for like an hour, right? Yeah. Yeah.
Jeremy Tiers: But, but again, I encourage all of you, right? Allison said this earlier, right? Have your people, I mean, I bounce stuff off Allison all the time because I value her opinion and believe that, you know, she can help me do things in my day to day better.
And, you know, it's finding those people, right. For each one of us, I've been ending every episode, Allison with two things, right. The first is a signature question that I've been asking everybody. So I just want your answer to what is one important piece of advice somebody's given you at some point in your life?
Allison Turcio: there's so many. I feel like I get advice all the time because I'm one of those people that just soaks it up. The first one that came to mind. The first one that came to mind is that it's okay to make a mistake. But I think it, that might [00:48:00] have come to mind cuz we talked a lot about that today, but that it's okay to mistake and that when you make a mistake, you actually should shout it from the rooftops.
It's not something that you should keep quiet, especially among your team. It's something you should tell everybody because then they won't make that mistake and they will help you to be better. So shout the mistakes from the rooftops and own.
Jeremy Tiers: Last thing, some fun, rapid fire. I'm just gonna give you a handful of things and I just want whatever pops into your brain right away.
Okay. Oh, okay. Biggest guilty pleasure.
Allison Turcio: Bravo TV,
Jeremy Tiers: biggest guilty pleasure TV show on Bravo, TV.
Allison Turcio: any real Housewives that exist.
Jeremy Tiers: Favorite outdoor activity you love to do in the winter in New York, ski jeopardy are the price is right. Price is. Better pickle ball player, you or your husband?
Allison Turcio: Oh, my husband. I hate to admit that though.
Jeremy Tiers: And how many games are the New York football giants knowing they won [00:49:00] one last night. How many are they gonna win this year?
Allison Turcio: Oh God, I hope more than one. I'm just so happy for the one. I don't even wanna think about it. Can't I just bask in the glory for one week, Jeremy, without thinking about next week, I'm hoping for five, at least.
Oh, but last night was quite a nail biter. I had to close my eyes when they went for the extra too.
Jeremy Tiers: well, listen, I, I thought I was gonna be more stressed watching the Minnesota Vikings yesterday and you know, they, uh, they showed up and, and did quite well. So I'm hoping it's a lot more blow 'em out
Allison Turcio: this year too.
My dad's a Vikings fan, you know, I did not know that. Well,
Jeremy Tiers: people eaters, I did not know that I love. Well, thank you for being on today and sharing so much. If people want to follow you, connect with you on social email, like what are you comfortable sharing? What's the best way to get ahold of you? All of the
Allison Turcio: things, any way you can find me let's connect.
I just wanted to say, you know, we're talking about. Find your people, Jeremy and I will be your people. I will be one of your people. So yes, please connect me on Twitter. Allison Terio. Just my [00:50:00] name on Twitter. My email address is a Terio sienna.edu one N not two. It's not the color of Sienna. Um, it's the city in Italy.
And any other way, LinkedIn, I'm very active on LinkedIn. Please find me there. I'm I'd be thrilled to connect with you. I love to make higher ed buddies. So please let me be one of your people.
Jeremy Tiers: So good to chat with you. I look forward to the next time. Thanks for sharing.
Allison Turcio: Thank you.
Zach Busekrus: Hey, I'll Zach here from Enrollify. I hope you enjoyed this episode of mission admissions with Jeremy Tiers. If you like this episode, do us a huge favor and hit that follow and subscribe button below. Furthermore, if you've got just two minutes spare, we would greatly appreciate you reading a rating and a review of this show on apple podcast.
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About the Episode
The what's what...
In this episode, Jeremy has a conversation with an amazing marketer and leader, Allison Turcio, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing at Siena College. There’s so much in here that will provide value for you regardless of your title or role. The core of their chat revolves around what it means to truly be student-centered and collaborative as an entire enrollment management division. They also chat about intentionality, leadership, staff retention, dealing with failure, dealing with change, what motivates her, the importance of constantly looking at data and evaluating and questioning what’s working and what’s not, tips and tricks for emails, texting, and social media, plus Allison shares her greatest A:B test accomplishment. Enjoy!
This episode is brought to you by Gecko - a student engagement platform offering multiple modules to help institutions better engage with students and lighten the load for their staff.
Mission Admission is a part of the Enrollify Podcast Network. If you like this podcast, chances are you’ll like other Enrollify shows too!
Our podcast network is growing by the month and we’ve got a plethora of marketing, admissions, and higher ed technology shows that are jam packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks all designed to empower you to be a better higher ed professional. Our shows feature a selection of the industry’s best as your hosts. Learn from Mickey Baines, Zach Busekrus, Jaime Hunt, Corynn Myers, Jaime Gleason and many more.
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About the Podcast
An expert in communication, relationship development, and leadership, Jeremy Tiers has quickly become a recognizable name and speaker in college admission and enrollment management circles. He is the Senior Director of Admissions Services for Tudor Collegiate Strategies and leads their efforts in partnering with colleges and universities across the country. Colleges and Universities rely on Tudor Collegiate Strategies (TCS) to train their admissions staff, help them personalize enrollment communications, and to increase engagement from prospective students and their parents during all stages of the college search process.
Allison Turcio is Assistant Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing at Siena College. She leads college-wide marketing, market research, and enrollment communications efforts. Her work has won numerous awards and has presented at the American Marketing Association’s Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education and other conferences. Allison was selected for the Albany Business Review 40 Under 40 and Siena College’s Excellence in Administration award in 2020. She is working on her doctorate degree at Northeastern University and holds a master’s in Communications and bachelor’s in English.
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Gecko is a student engagement platform that offers customizable modules designed to compliment your institutions CRM and SIS. Gecko's plug and play modules enable your team to deliver memorable student experiences at scale while lightening the load on your team. Some of their key offerings include a cutting edge Events module, Chatbot, Cloud Call Center and many more. If you want to level up how you engage with prospective students without disrupting your current processes or ripping out all of your tech, you need to check out Gecko.learn more
Jeremy Tiers, a well-known speaker in college admission, enrollment marketing, and leadership circles is your host for Mission Admissions. Join him every other week as he sits down with industry leaders and difference makers from both inside and outside of Higher Ed. You'll walk away with advice, tips and strategies you can apply in your day-to-day life.
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