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Working with Agents & The ICEF Agent Barometer Findings

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This presentation was given at the 2016 CAIS National Leaders Conference in Vancouver BC.

This session offers an introduction to education agents by answering key questions: Who are they? How can they help you and the student? How can you support them?

This session presents some of the key findings of the 2015 ICEF Agent Barometer with a particular focus on those results most relevant to the Canadian K-12 sector. ICEF's Sarah Mines and Caroline Levesque share also insights on:

- Where agents plan to send students in 2016
- What agent’s concerns are for the year ahead
- What agents see as the most effective marketing strategies for educators
- What institutions need to provide in terms of support for the agents they work with

This seminar is designed to help educators build their reputation and relationships with agents and assist in developing strategies to market themselves and their destinations more effectively to agents worldwide.

Published in: Education
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Working with Agents & The ICEF Agent Barometer Findings

  1. 1. PRESENTATION Working with Agents & The ICEF Agent Barometer Findings Caroline Levesque & Sarah Mines , ICEF
  2. 2. icef.com | 2 INTRODUCTION What we’ll talk about ICEF Barometer findings A closer look at agents Best practices in working with agents A few words on marketing
  3. 3. icef.com | 3 Barometer ▶ Online survey developed in partnership by i-graduate & ICEF ▶ Established in 2007, the ICEF Agent Barometer has tracked the opinions of agents across the world for 9 years ▶ The 2015 study ran for 3 weeks during October ▶ 1,671 agents responded from 110 countries
  4. 4. icef.com | 4All materials strictly copyright © i-graduate 2015 Number of partner institutions 18 288 286 197 112 124 104 60 53 19 47 283 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 1 2-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 81-90 91-100 More than 100
  5. 5. icef.com | 5All materials strictly copyright © i-graduate 2015 Number of students placed per agency 7% 7% 7% 6% 6% 22% 19% 9% 4% 3% 6% 3% 2% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25%
  6. 6. icef.com | 6All materials strictly copyright © i-graduate 2015 Recruitment by programme 9% 20% 24% 30% 31% 51% 54% 54% 55% 57% 62% 62% 74% 77% 80% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Other University: Distance Education/Online Learning Work & Travel Programs Internships Work & Study Programs Vocational Diploma/Further Education Secondary and High School Certificate/Foundation Pre-Masters/Postgraduate Qualifying Program (PQP) Diploma University: Foundation MBA Programs University: Graduate/Postgraduate University: Undergraduate English Language Programs
  7. 7. icef.com | 7All materials strictly copyright © i-graduate 2015 Number of student placed by programme 5,274 1,505 4,744 7,108 7,761 8,286 8,811 9,546 11,678 12,540 16,202 20,217 32,692 40,386 148,690 0 50,000 100,000 150,000 200,000 Other University: Distance Education/Online Learning Internships Pre-Masters/Postgraduate Qualifying Program (PQP) Work & Study Programs Certificate/Foundation University: Foundation Vocational Diploma/Further Education MBA Programs Diploma Secondary and High School Work & Travel Programs University: Undergraduate University: Graduate/Postgraduate English Language Programs
  8. 8. icef.com | 8All materials strictly copyright © i-graduate 2015 Best study destination for Secondary and High Schools Canada 28% UK 24% USA 20% Australia 13% Other 9% Country Rank 2015 Rank 2014 Rank 2013 Rank 2012 Rank 2011 Rank 2010 Canada 1 3 3 3 3 3 UK 2 1 1 1 1 1 USA 3 2 2 2 2 2 Australia 4 4 4 4 4 4 New Zealand 5 5 5 5 5 5
  9. 9. icef.com | 9 Best study destination for Undergraduate Study (University) USA 34% Canada 18% Australia 18% UK 17% Other 13% Country Rank 2015 Rank 2014 Rank 2013 Rank 2012 Rank 2011 Rank 2010 USA 1 1 1 1 1 1 Canada 2 3 4 3 4 3 Australia 3 4 3 4 3 4 UK 4 2 2 2 2 2
  10. 10. icef.com | 10 Best study destination for Graduate/ Postgraduate Study (University) USA 34% Canada 18% UK 18% Australia 17% Other 13% Country Rank 2015 Rank 2014 Rank 2013 Rank 2012 Rank 2011 Rank 2010 USA 1 1 1 1 1 1 Canada 2 4 4 3 3 4 UK 3 2 2 2 2 2 Australia 4 3 3 4 4 3
  11. 11. icef.com | 11 15% 16% 16% 16% 14% 12% 7% 6% 5% 7% 74% 77% 78% 79% 80% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% UK (1000) Australia (955) New Zealand (636) Canada (1034) USA (n=1088) The same Less than the last 12 months More than the last 12 months How many students do you expect to place in next 12 months – Traditional markets
  12. 12. icef.com | 12 15% 25% 22% 23% 21% 24% 20% 20% 21% 19% 18% 18% 16% 14% 13% 7% 7% 8% 6% 7% 4% 8% 8% 5% 4% 4% 3% 4% 3% 4% 78% 68% 70% 71% 72% 72% 72% 72% 74% 77% 78% 79% 80% 83% 83% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Other (85) Certificate/Foundation (561) Secondary and High School (618) Pre-Masters/Postgraduate Qualifying Program (PQP) (574) Vocational Diploma/Further Education (544) University: Distance Education/Online Learning (200) English Language Programs (1003) Internships (319) University: Foundation (674) Diploma (638) Work & Study Programs (346) Work & Travel Programs (266) MBA Programs (714) University: Graduate/Postgraduate (860) University: Undergraduate (907) The same Less More How many students do you expect to place in next 12 months – by Programme
  13. 13. icef.com | 13All materials strictly copyright © i-graduate 2015 Overall attractiveness of Study Destinations in 2015 81% 14% 26% 30% 31% 33% 42% 44% 47% 49% 49% 57% 59% 62% 71% 71% 77% 78% 83% 83% 85% 85% 89% 90% 91% 93% 93% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Other (106) Indonesia (486) Philippines (493) Thailand (491) India (556) Hong Kong SAR (482) South Korea (525) Russia (562) UAE (530) South Africa (590) Malaysia (604) China (637) Singapore (612) Japan (599) Netherlands (613) Malta (672) Italy (700) Spain (693) Switzerland (715) France (769) Ireland (798) New Zealand (850) Germany (823) UK (967) Australia (1005) USA (1027) Canada (1035)
  14. 14. icef.com | 14 CHART Main concerns before departing What are the main concerns, complaints, and questions from students and parents before departing? 55% 53% 41% 41% 24% 21% 11% 4% Base No: 1,117
  15. 15. icef.com | 15 CHART Main concerns before and after departing What are the main concerns, complaints, and questions from students and parents before departing? 55% 53% 41% 41% 24% 21% 11% 4% 28% 19% 15% 37% 41% 25% 21% 2% Base No: 1,117 BEFORE DEPARTING AFTER DEPARTING
  16. 16. icef.com | 16 INFOGRAPHIC Ideal marketing + recruitment strategies for international education MARKETING PLAN INSTITUTIONAL COOPERATIONS ALUMNI ADVERTISING FAIRS + EXHIBITIONS INTERNET WEB + SOCIAL MEDIA EDUCATION AGENTS GOVERNMENT ORGANISATIONS
  17. 17. icef.com | 17 What is an education agent ? An individual, a company or an institution that provides educational advice, support and placement to students wishing to study abroad For you – a person or an organization abroad that markets your institution, generates inquiries and qualified applicants Agents
  18. 18. icef.com | 18 Why education agents are important ? Agents are a low risk, low cost way of getting involved in international student recruitment activity They provide fast, direct access to specific local markets In some countries, 60 to 80% of international students go through agents Their contribution in terms of student numbers are significant They do not just provide quantity, but also student quality Agents can save work & time for admissions departments
  19. 19. icef.com | 19 What agents do for you ▶ Represent you on a year round basis ▶ Provide you with reliable local market information ▶ Advise and support on a targeted local media plan ▶ Provide you with a local infrastructure ▶ Improve your “application -> admission” conversion rates ▶ Pass on post-study feedback (positive/negative)
  20. 20. icef.com | 20 What agents do for parents & students ▶ Agents constitute a trustworthy and accountable local contact ▶ They give local language advice to students - and parents! ▶ Good agents can suggest an optimal institution / student match ▶ They provide valuable counseling services ▶ Agents deliver useful added-value services
  21. 21. icef.com | 21 How to select agents. Some key questions: ▶ What geographical area do they cover? ▶ Company history - how long have they been in business? ▶ What is their company structure & number of staff? ▶ How many students do they handle each year? ▶ Where are they sending students? ▶ What other institutions do they represent (#, type, location)?
  22. 22. icef.com | 22 How to select agents. Some key questions: ▶ What is their promotional and marketing strategy? ▶ Are they members of an association? ▶ What professional standards do they follow? ▶ Can they provide references?
  23. 23. icef.com | 23 Agent contract: a written agreement is necessary ▶ Define respective roles & responsibilities ▶ Review business plan: marketing, communications and budget ▶ Give key performance indicators: quantity / quality ▶ Outline exact compensation model ▶ Exclusivity: if and when ▶ Dispute resolution guidelines ▶ Duration of contract including termination clauses
  24. 24. icef.com | 24 Train your agents: ▶ Provide comprehensive information ▶ Conduct regular agent training ▶ Produce an agent manual ▶ Create a web-based agent portal ▶ Have a regular contact person ▶ Organize familiarization trips (FAM)
  25. 25. icef.com | 25 Support your agents: ▶ Keep in touch with regular communications: email, social media, apps, and phone ▶ Provide regular updates on new developments: email blasts, newsletters ▶ Always respond promptly ▶ Provide them with your marketing plan and budget, and provide marketing support ▶ Set up timely reviews and assessment
  26. 26. icef.com | 26 Some words on compensation ▶ Commission is based on international student tuition ▶ percentage based commission (10-20%). ▶ set fee per head ▶ marketing fee over a defined period ▶ More important is the total invoice paid at year-end (actual dollars) ▶ Double-dipping: what is it and when is it okay? ▶ Payment procedures should be clearly stipulated and strictly adhered ▶ Important: student fees should always be received before the student arrives
  27. 27. icef.com | 27 Motivation and Incentives ▶ Financial: commissions & bonus ▶ Non-financial: ▶ FAM trips ▶ Scholarships or bursaries ▶ Marketing materials and support ▶ Best is a combination of both financial and non-financial ▶ Providing a product and service that is client / student- centric
  28. 28. icef.com | 28 CHART Top 10 criteria in marketing for institutions How important is this criteria in terms of marketing for institutions? 86% 86% 88% 88% 88% 88% 90% 90% 91% 93% 24-HOUR TURNAROUND ON ADMISSIONS DOCUMENTS (1009) AVAILABILITY OF AN ONLINE APPLICATION SERVICE (1026) PARTICIPATION IN AN AGENT INCENTIVE SCHEME (1002) REGULAR VISITS BY YOU AND/OR YOUR STAFF TO THE EDUCATION INSTITUTION (1019) HAVING GUARANTEED ENTRY TO SPECIFIC EDUCATION INSTITUTION PROGRAMS (1015) AGENT TRAINING WORKSHOPS ORGANISED IN THE DESTINATION COUNTRY (1030) FINANCIAL SUPPORT SCHEMES, INCLUDING SCHOLARSHIP/BURSARY SCHEMES (1023) PROMPT PAYMENT OF COMMISSIONS (1029) AGENT MANUAL WITH FEES AND INFORMATION (1035) QUICK RESPONSE TIMES TO ENQUIRIES AND APPLICATIONS AND REGULAR COMMUNICATION UPDATES (1030) Base No: 1,117
  29. 29. icef.com | 29 In Summary ▶ Select agents carefully, ensure that they are of quality ▶ Only appoint agents suitable to your institution ▶ Ensure that they are part of an integrated marketing plan ▶ Invest sufficient time and resources right from the start ▶ Communicate regularly with and support them effectively ▶ Review requirements and contracts Agents
  30. 30. icef.com | 30 TEAM Collaboration Caroline Levesque Business Development Manager ICEF, GmbH clevesque@icef.com | icef.com Sarah Mines Sales Director Canada ICEF, GmbH smines@icef.com | icef.com

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