Optimizing Growth Strategy with Intent Marketing and Strategic Portfolio Planning

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Case Study

Optimizing Growth Strategy with Intent Marketing and Strategic Portfolio Planning

How EAB revitalized program development and marketing at Balsa University’s College of Business


Balsa University is a private university located in a metropolitan area in the South. Their college of business enrolls approximately 620 students across certificate, master’s, and doctoral programs.

The Challenge

Balsa’s College of Business began to experience enrollment declines after years of strong, steady enrollment due to outdated marketing tactics and a disjointed program development strategy.

Quick Facts

Institution: Balsa University* (a pseudonym)

Institution Type: College of business at a small private university

Location: Metropolitan area in the South

Enrollment: Enrolls approximately 620 students across certificate, master’s, and doctoral program

EAB Partnership: Adult Learner Recruitment

Early Impact Highlights:

+121% increase in completed applications

+150% increase in admitted students

The Solution

Building on their undergraduate work with EAB’s Enrollment Services, Balsa partnered with EAB’s Adult Learner Recruitment in 2019 to support their growth goals for the College of Business. EAB helped Balsa recruit best-fit students and grow applications through personalized, intent-based marketing. EAB also worked with Balsa to identify programs with the highest growth potential and refresh those programs to meet student needs.

The Impact

EAB’s campaigns doubled application and admit volume for the 2020 cycle, while EAB’s strategic market and portfolio planning services helped Balsa restructure their business admissions requirements and curriculum for future terms.

Deploying Data-Driven Targeting and Student Journey Marketing

How EAB Revitalized Balsa’s Marketing and Recruitment Strategy for the 2020 Cycle

Before EAB Partnership

Limited Staff Capacity

Balsa’s one-person marketing
team lacked the resources to
execute comprehensive

Lower-Quality Leads

Although leads grew over time, lead quality was low as Balsa struggled to identify right-fit prospects

Poor Conversion Rate

Balsa failed to convert leads into applications due to an outsized focus on top-of-funnel metrics

With EAB Partnership

Crafted Student Personas

EAB developed in-depth student
personas to inform targeted
marketing strategy

Determined Best-Fit Students

EAB used test taker targeting
and identified prospective
students in key geographic areas
to find right-fit prospects

Launched Personalized Marketing at Scale

Designed highly responsive,
multichannel campaigns based
on student personas and intent

Impact of EAB Campaigns


Prospective students reached
via digital ads


Applications influenced by
EAB campaigns in 2020


Admits influenced by EAB in 2020

2020 Enrollment Results: Fall Applications and Admits More Than Doubled

fall applications enrollment results

Building a Roadmap for Ongoing Growth

EAB Market Insights and Program IQ helped Balsa optimize programs for future growth.

Balsa’s portfolio challenges:

  • Determining which programs represented the greatest opportunities for growth
  • Identifying curricular changes to make programs more competitive
  • Building consensus around changes to their program portfolio

Early Impact

Generated list of high-potential programs to guide strategic updates to Balsa’s program portfolio and investment of marketing budget

Surfaced key competitive advantages to better position programs and inform improvements to program webpages

Reached swift consensus and identified next steps, including immediate program improvements and strategies to grow alumni engagement and employer partnerships

EAB’s Approach

Custom Labor Market and Competitor Analysis

EAB analyzed local and regional employer demand and competitor enrollments to identify programs with highest growth potential

Audit of Application

EAB recommended updates to program prerequisites based on best practice research

Assessment of Competitive Advantages

EAB performed competitive analyses to identify Balsa’s key differentiators to highlight in marketing

In-Depth Workshop with Key Stakeholders

EAB presented actionable next steps to Balsa’s Board of Trustees

"We’re in a really good position right now. A lot of this can be attributed to EAB."

Executive Vice President, Balsa University

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