A Simple Philosophy: Listen to Agency Clients and Their Data

When you come from a communication background, it’s a bit of a no-brainer to think listening should be at least half of any conversation. As a journalist, I asked questions, listened to the answers and tried to leave myself completely out of the story. Even in relationships, I tend to listen first, share second. We take a similar approach at ESM Digital with our agency clients.

Start by Asking Questions

At the pitch and during onboarding for new schools, we ask a lot of questions. But even before we meet a potential client, we’ve compiled a small mountain of info on the university, its students and programs, and the people we hope to work with.

We ask questions. And we listen.

The goal is to find out what your goals are. Maybe your foray into digital marketing is relatively new and you need a soft intro. Or maybe you have some very specific enrollment goals and a small window to reach them. Sure, we’d like to offer you a long-term integrated marketing strategy that involves the full spectrum of the higher education digital marketing services we offer. But if your only goal is to promote a campus open house, you probably don’t want to sign a year-long contract with all its bells and whistles. We’re not going to try to sell you a fancy steak dinner when all you really want is a nice piece of fresh fish.

Build a Relationship

The best relationships are built on a foundation of good communication. The give-and-take of talk and listen is especially vital at the beginning. I won’t know what you’re thinking if you don’t tell me.  Tell me what you want and we’ll figure out together what the best approach is for your institution, its students and all relevant stakeholders.


We consider the ESM Digital team to be a partner to the schools we work with. But we’re not silent partners! We actually have a lot to share and say. That’s why we meet frequently, email a lot, and keep clients in-the-loop with regard to industry news and insights. It’s also why we built out an interactive dashboard called ESM Central that allows you to see what’s happening with your campaigns whenever you want. We’ll explain what’s going on and walk you through the important metrics for your unique key performance indicators, but it’s right there for you to see any time you want to take a look without us. We’ve got nothing to hide!

Listen to What the Numbers Say

In my story-centric world, I try to pull out compelling narratives from wherever I can; even from numbers. And the numbers tell us a lot. Your data don’t just speak to individual metrics on single campaigns. When we watch them over time, we discover patterns and trends that can help us (almost) predict the future. We make decisions on your account based on what’s happening in your account, but also bolstered by knowledge garnered from years of marketing for higher ed experience.

If you want a partner that will listen to your full story so we can share the very best parts of it with current, former and future students, contact ESM Digital today. We’d love to have a conversation.

~Linda Emma