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Image of a person sitting and looking at her laptop with a text on the left side showing COVID 19: Best Practices Uncertain Times Require Effective Communication for Students & Staff.

Coronavirus: Best Practices in an Evolving Environment


Gary Thorup

Update: 3/26/2020

Continue to build community & culture.

One of the biggest critiques of remote employment is the concern that community and culture that organizations work so hard to nurture, will begin to erode. MDT Marketing strongly believes in keeping our culture intact even during these trying times, so we want to share a couple ways that business teams can continue to build community from the safety of their homes.

Update: 3/25/2020

How can your institution calm the concerns of your prospective students who are unsure if now is the right time to enroll? Gary Thorup, VP of Operations, lays out how now is an incredible opportunity to be a guide for those who feel confused and uncertain about their future.

Update: 3/24/2020

Your institution has moved classes, admissions, and operations to online platforms but what about the budget? Should you be adjusting your advertising spend in the midst of this pandemic? Gary Thorup, VP of Operations at MDT Marketing, answers the question that institutes of higher ed have been asking recently.

Our recommendation – if you do not have to, we wouldn’t. Here’s why…

Update: 3/23/2020

Operational ‘musts’ in a rapidly evolving situation. Gary Thorup, VP of Operations at MDT Marketing, shares our two biggest recommendations that institutes of higher ed must apply now:

Update: 3/16/2020

Uncertain times require clear and effective communication.  Here are some guidelines that will ensure your institution is effectively communicating with your students, staff, and local community in the time of the coronavirus spread.

This is a live, evolving document.  Be sure to check back for updates.

  • Clearly Communicate: Your students, staff, and all parties related to the operation of your institute are thirsty for information on the status of classes and campus access. If their questions are not addressed, your institute will be inundated with questions and concerns.  Proactively addressing those concerns will demonstrate strong leadership and provide greater peace of mind to all.
    • Website: Create a clear link on the top of your website that links to information on the status of all institutional operations.  Make it stand out.  Make it clear how people should be engaging with your institution.
    • Email: Send emails out with updates.  Due to the rapid evolution of the situation, daily emails to students and staff may be wise.  Even if you have nothing new to say, daily emails will demonstrate that you are on top of the situation and are taking the lead in protecting them.
    • Text: If major updates need to be shared, a text message is a powerful way to quickly get that message out.  A link to the full content may be embedded in that SMS.
    • Content: Maintaining a matter-of-fact tone in your messaging is critical to express your firm grip on the situation.
  • Enhanced Nurturing with Prospects: MDT expects enrollment decisions to slow.  For this reason, it is critical to keep engaged with your prospects through enhanced nurturing campaigns that keep the conversations going and your institution on top of their mind.
    • 8 weeks of messaging: MDT recommends rolling out 8 weeks of ongoing messaging that keeps you in communication with your prospects.  It should employ a mix of channels and drive the prospect to proactively engage their admissions representative for support and guidance.
  • Transition All Operations Online (including classes and admissions):  Whether or not you will need to make use of fully remote operations, it is critical to begin preparing for it.  Beyond the health concerns, many public schools are now closing.  This will force many students and staff to stay home to watch their children.  Nobody expects perfection at this point, but you need to start somewhere.  If you do not have remote software tools in place, below are software options MDT is familiar with that can help get the job started.
    • Microsoft Teams (https://products.office.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software): MDT uses this software and can assist with configuration
    • GoToMeeting (https://www.gotomeeting.com): MDT uses this software and can assist with configuration
    • Google Hangouts (https://gsuite.google.com/products/meet)
    • Zoom (https://zoom.us/)
    • Bluejeans (https://www.bluejeans.com/)
    • Classes: if possible, rework your curriculums to prioritize the academic portions of your training and postpone the lab work until you have a strong protocol for on-site lab work.  Do not worry about the imperfections on this solution at the start; it is important to get something in place.  It will evolve as you build experience doing this.
    • Admissions: Keep appointments, but invite prospects to video-chat.  It is OK if admissions reps are home and have kids in the background.  Everyone realizes that we’re all doing our best to make do.
  • Look for the Opportunities: Whenever a door is closed, a window is opened. It is easy to see challenges in the face of an unexpected event, but these situations always create new opportunities.
    • Keep the Pipeline Open: Though it may slow, enrollments cannot stop.  As restaurants and retail stores close their doors, many of those employees will be reevaluating their careers.  They will be searching to insulate their careers from events like the coronavirus.  They will be looking to institutions like yours to prepare them for those careers.  Keep your campaigns live and your pipelines open.  Even if they are slow to enroll, your institution will be in good shape to enroll these prospects as the situation calms.
    • Alternative Avenues: Consider how this will force your institution to be stronger, better, and improve your relationship with students, prospects, and your local community. MDT will be sharing ideas on this as time goes on.

MDT Marketing is open and available to offer guidance and support.  Contact us today. (954) 764-2630