Global education provider gets schooled in marketing

What started as a simple lead generation campaign at a Toronto language school became an exciting renewal of the sales and marketing teams and, ultimately, its reinvention as a new private career college.


Higher education

Company size



2017 – 2019


Advice and training
Plan implementation

What We Delivered

Marketing operations and business development advice

Marketing strategy

Help with technology selection

Sales strategy

Website development

Social media marketing

Email marketing

Lead generation

Sales lead follow-up

Search engine optimization

Marketing training

Social medial training

Sales training

The Challenge

“We need more leads.”

International schools often rely on costly educational agents to attract students. When the Toronto office of an international education provider wanted to take control of their lead generation themselves, they came to lizoke Marketing to develop an online campaign.

The Ah-ha Moment

“More leads don’t always equal more sales.”

We focused the campaign on the local market. It was bringing in leads, but none of them were becoming students. A quick investigation revealed the causes. First, the school had no customer relations management (CRM) software, so there was no systematic way to follow up with those who were interested. Second, the school had nothing to offer their leads following initial contact to nurture their interest. Third, the sales team lacked the customer service skills to inspire confidence and connection during phone and email contact.

The Hard Conversation

“Let’s fix the real problems.”

A few weeks into the campaign, I recommended that we pull the plug. Sure, the numbers looked great, but the school was wasting money if interest never led to enrollment. The school’s leadership needed to make investments in key areas such as technology and training if any lead generation efforts were going to pay off in business growth.

The Solution

“Marketing needs to be strategy-first.”

At this point my role shifted from doing the work to setting the strategy. I helped the school choose an appropriate CRM; develop a full marketing plan; and create new offers, such as a free “student for a day” program, that would nurture leads towards registration. I also trained the marketing and sales teams in their core competencies, such as social media marketing, lead follow-up and how to run an effective school tour.

The Outcomes

“From baby steps to big wins.”

After 18 months of training and coaching, the marketing and sales teams understood their responsibilities, were using modern tools and could measure and report on results. We had expanded the lead generation campaign beyond the GTA to Central America, South America and Asia.

In a gesture of confidence, head office decided to expand the Toronto branch. Then, when a new opportunity arose, senior leadership relied on me and my external team to help create a new private career college from scratch, including developing a website, collaborating with consultants to obtain government approvals and offering advice on global marketing operations.

Connecting the [marketing] Dots

“An outsider makes change easier.”

Most of my clients come to me knowing something isn’t working, but they struggle to give their challenges a name. They need a neutral third party to uncover the true problem, make innovative (and sometimes initially unpopular) suggestions and provide on-the-ground support that gets results.

The small investment my clients make in an external advisor provides momentum for growth and justification for the change. They get a reassuring ally and senior team member who moves the business forward by both seeing the big picture and sweating the small stuff.