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Sparkroom Helped Higher Education Institutions Save More than $60 Million in 2014

January 28, 2015 Digital Media Solutions

Millions of Invalid Third-Party Inquiries Were Automatically Rejected or Returned

During the 2014 calendar year, Sparkroom school partners saved $62,841,900.36 in media spend through a combination of automatic rejections and inquiries returned to vendors after initial contact attempt by the school admissions offices or call centers.

According to Sparkroom data, higher education institutions rejected or returned just over a quarter of inquiries generated by third-party sources in 2014, including:

  • Duplicates: An inquiry from one student prospect that has been received multiple times by the same school within a set time period is called a duplicate. “The most sophisticated marketing automation systems, such as Sparkroom Marketing Software, integrate online and offline marketing data to identify duplicates regardless of source,” explains Al Huizenga, director of product at Sparkroom. “Marketing automation should also allow for custom routing and rejection rules to ensure duplicate inquiries are managed in the most efficient manner based on unique school requirements.”
  • Filter rejections: Inquiries that do not meet the stated requirements of a school are automatically rejected. Filters can include accurate contact information, minimum education requirements, geographic targets and more. Kim Kelly, managing director of marketing services at Sparkroom, recommends schools maximize the use of filters by identifying their target audiences through data (incorporating prior school performance, global education data and third-party demographic and behavioral information), then customize filters to ensure they are sourcing the student prospects most likely to enroll in their programs.
  • Validity and compliance check rejections: Neustar, iDatafy, LeadiD, BriteVerify, PossibleNow and other business intelligence (BI) sources offer industry-leading databases that can be checked in real time to ensure inquiry legitimacy. Data points such as name, phone number and address can be verified, inquiries can be checked against fraudulent and recirculated inquiry lists and inquiry origination details can be identified. “We work with schools,” says Liz Dye, director of marketing analytics at Sparkroom, “to evaluate how each BI source can impact their inquiry flow in order to evaluate the potential return on investment – in time and money – before recommending the approval of any long-term contracts.” Dave Wengel, founder and CEO of iDatafy adds, “BI data sources are like ingredients…the right combination can produce something amazing. But there is no perfect recipe for every marketer. Sparkroom takes the time to make customized recommendations, blending data sets to provide actionable campaign decisions that result in better marketing spend.”
  • Returned inquiries: “Even with the aforementioned layers of validation, some inquiries are not a match,” states Kelly. Inquiries deemed invalid, such as those who say they never requested information, are frequently returned to third-party vendors for credit. “Automated integration between school CRMs and lead management or marketing automation systems,” explains Huizenga, “allows for easy, real-time scrubbing of returned inquiries. Sparkroom even lets you automate your vendor invoices, based on reconciliated delivery volume, to make sure you only pay for inquiries that meet your criteria.”

“The true power of marketing automation is in its ability incorporate information from disparate sources to make real-time, data-based decisions that save money and simultaneously enhance performance,” states Dye. In addition to saving media dollars, automated cleansing of inbound inquiries helps schools address compliance and operational efficiency issues (less time spent on inquiries that don’t meet requirements means more time spent talking with the prospective students most likely to enroll). Third-party inquiry providers benefit from automated cleansing because they receive real-time information regarding the performance of their campaigns.

About Sparkroom
Sparkroom is a leader in performance marketing, providing fully transparent, analytics-based strategies that achieve marketing objectives. Sparkroom provides marketing services and marketing software, the combination allowing for improved efficacy of marketing campaigns. Sparkroom Marketing Services include vendor inquiry management, paid search, marketing analytics, award-winning compliance monitoring, email marketing, SEO, social media solutions, mobile advertising, performance-based display advertising and pay-per-inquiry (PPI) TV, radio and print campaigns. Sparkroom Marketing Software integrates marketing data, automates processes based on performance and provides robust, multidimensional reporting and analytics. Sparkroom is owned by Nelnet (NYSE: NNI) and is part of the Nelnet Enrollment Solutions family for brands. For more information, visit

About the Author

Digital Media Solutions

Digital Media Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: DMS) is a leading provider of technology and digital performance marketing solutions leveraging innovative, performance-driven brand and marketplace solutions to connect consumers and advertisers. DMS proprietary technology solutions, significant proprietary media distribution and data-driven processes help large brands steadily acquire more customers. For more information visit

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