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We are working with Knowledge Universe in their search for a top-flight Manager, Acquisition Marketing based in Portland, OR.

Knowledge Universe is a leading global education organization with a network of up to 3,000 locations worldwide, employing over 40,000 education professionals, operating early childhood education centers, international schools, colleges, large on-line schools and school management systems, which together touch over 300,000 students daily.

KU employs proven teaching methods, rigorous curricula, passionate educators and sophisticated educational technology to serve a wide range of learners from infants and toddlers to primary and secondary students, and adult learners.

Providing world-class educational resources and infrastructure, with well-recognised brand names, Knowledge Universe owns and operates pre-schools, schools, colleges, products and services in key education segments – early childhood, primary/secondary and higher learning – and supports our institutions and businesses through the use of proprietary technology in learning management systems.

This is what learning looks like from Knowledge Universe on Vimeo.

From the company’s job posting …

Can you find anyone anywhere using the latest acquisition techniques? Can you find people who don’t even know us, and convince them they NEED us? Are you amazing at the sales funnel, from driving inquiries and tours at our centers, to helping our Center Directors convert their tours to enrollments?

We are currently looking for a Manager Acquisition Marketing who will be responsible for driving results across all acquisition channels including SEM, Affiliate, Lead Gen, Partnerships and other tactics.

You need to be a student of all things acquisition, have an amazing sense of data, analytics, and what to do with them, be able to build a killer forecast, and have fun while doing it! You need to be able to articulate an acquisition strategy, build the business case to prove the value, and present the plan to numerous groups across the organization.

The Manager needs to be obsessed with metrics, constantly looking for ways to optimize our programs with a focus on driving enrollments. They need to understand how media channels effect each other and how the channels can best work together to achieve our business results.

They come from a background that focuses on acquisition and need to understand SEM, Direct Response and targeting methodologies. They need to think like a retailer constantly refining, optimizing, testing, and reporting. They need to be 100% on top of their metrics and able to shift course quickly to maximize an opportunity.

The Manager’s day should start by logging into their dashboard to see results from the previous day, reacting to what they are seeing and spending time getting it to where they want it and thinking about what comes next. They will ultimately be responsible for driving leads and enrollments, sourcing potential partners, setting up success criteria and corresponding tracking, and helping to scale all efforts.

One of the coolest Portland marketing jobs around …

HARRY’S COMMENTS: Knowledge Universe is home to two of my favorite ecommerce executives, Burt Rosen and Matt Arnzen. Burt is KU’s VP of Marketing, and Matt is the firm’s Digital Marketing and Web Technology Director. They’re both the kind of really smart, business-oriented mentors I’d want my own child to work for.

If you are a bright, hypothesis driven, rising star in the areas of customer acquisition and online lead generation, this role at Knowledge Universe offers the perfect next step in your career.

Knowledge Universe (“KU”) is the nation’s largest childhood education company whose mission is to help children grow up to lead productive lives. In essence, KU is all about starting kids on the right path to get a great education, and the firm offers a structured curriculum for small children in addition to providing daycare and childcare solutions. KU is America’s largest childcare provider, with more than 2000 locations across 3 brands. Its brands include KinderCare , CCLC, and Champions before and after school programs.

Industry Overview

The US child care services industry has roughly 53,000 commercial facilities with combined yearly sales of $20 billion, plus ~21,000 facilities run by nonprofits with combined revenue of approximately $13 billion. The industry is forecast to grow at a high rate through 2015, with key growth drivers including demographic shifts and the expansion of employer-sponsored programs.

Demand is driven mostly by growth in the youth population, as well as by employment and income. The profitability of child care facilities depends on good marketing and lean, efficient operations. Large companies have economies of scale in advertising and administration, whereas smaller providers compete effectively in local markets by owning convenient locations. The industry is quite fragmented; with the top 50 companies generate less than 20% of revenue. Knowledge Universe’s share of this market is roughly 3%.

Knowledge Universe’s Typical Customer

KU tends to target double income families, given that its services can range between $1000 and $1500 per month per child. The typical KU couple has 2 children, and they want childcare with a structured curriculum. During my kickoff call, Matt shared a ton of information about the company’s underlying economics, along with the trends in timing affecting customer enrollments.

Due to the sensitive nature that information, I can’t share it here – although it’s extremely interesting and makes plenty of sense. Clearly, what the numbers say is that customer acquisition is a key driver of profitability for any company in this industry.

Translation: Lead gen is one of the most strategically sensitive functions in the company. That’s because KU is a national brand with a very local focus. Everything is tied down to individual locations. KU’s landing pages (seen here) offer prospects a form to complete, and the completed lead forms are routed by KU corporate to the appropriate Center Administrator to schedule a center tour. Currently, KU spends millions of dollars per years on PPC and bids on more than 200,000 keywords.

For this position, other important initiatives include:

Affiliate marketing: A fair portion of KU’s leads come from affiliate partners, and there are third-party sites that feature KU’s individual Center content to bring leads directly into KU’s CRM system.

Data mining: For this role, we’d like to have someone who can combine data from disparate sources to tell a single story. Additionally, such data might be coupled with KU’s analytics information to assess where drop-off points are in the lead generation funnel. Beyond that, the company has a biweekly meeting about growing the business, where members from Finance, Operations, and Marketing discuss KU’s opportunities to grow the business. In this role, you will have an opportunity to contribute your analysis to the discussion and build an acquisition forecast to drive the business forward. Additonally, you’ll need to know how to build a forecast and how to deliver against it. Moreover, you’re responsible for identifying gaps in the forecast and presenting and executing plans to fill the gaps.

Organic local search: Although KU uses an agency for organic search, this position will manage the agency relationship and determine ways to improve KU’s spend. Ideally, you would have a very solid knowledge of local digital marketing like Yelp, Google+ Local and, Yellow Pages. KU’s product is the local center, and its version of comparison shopping engines is Yelp or YP.com.

That’s where the rubber hits the road.

We filled this position a few years ago with an extremely talented candidate who has since moved up in the world. This is your chance to pick up where he left off. This is a fantastic opportunity for both personal and professional growth, and it will allow you to study at the feet of two Marketing Masters, Burt Rosen and Matt Arnzen. It’s a fantastic way to take a step up in your career.

However, this won’t be an easy job to get. You’ll need to have a simple, teachable point of view on customer acquisition budgeting, planning, and execution. And of course, you’ll need to be an analytics whiz. There are only 5 people on KU’s online marketing team, yet they handle a large budget and wield huge impact, both internally and externally.

To get this job, you’ll need to be an A-player. If that’s you, then please apply below.


  • Become a trusted, “go to” resource for the Businesses on all things acquisition including strategy, tactics, metrics, measurement, optimization, agency management
  • Accountability for all media metrics including leads, CPL, enrollments, CPE and SEO
  • Responsible for owning leads and enrollments driven through the web and call channels and working with web team to optimize the web sites to achieve most effective conversion
  • Working closely with marketing leads to quarterback effective integration of plans/programs across digital channels
  • Aggregator and presenter of best practices in all things digital and acquisition
  • Develop relationships between acquisition channels, web sites, email, CRM and other digital channels
  • Lead and consult on acquisition with all brands
  • Partnership sourcing and managing

Success Metrics/Measure

  • Program conversion
  • Lead volume
  • Tour volume
  • Enrollment volume
  • Quality of leads definition, implementation and tracking
  • Conversion training and ownership of the conversion funnel
  • Brand perception

Ideal Candidate Profile

  • 5 – 10+ years digital media and acquisition
  • Strong working knowledge of all acquisition tactics
  • Proven success
  • High comfort with web analytics platforms (Adobe suite is a HUGE plus)
  • Strong project management skills
  • Experience with high touch, highly experiential brands
  • Proven leadership ability – up, across, down
  • Integration of offline and online channels
  • Highly flexible, nimble
  • Must be willing and able to define and articulate strategy and to get their hands dirty
  • Can play a trusted advisor role and advise brands on acquisition strategy
  • Extremely adept at all acquisition metrics and funnel analytics
  • Salesforce.com knowledge is a plus

Applications for this position are being coordinated by Allan Seibert. To apply, CLICK HERECandidates, please be sure to email Allan for a packet of market research and company / competitive intel that will differentiate you in your candidacy. Due to the intensely competitive nature of this search, thorough preparation for these interviews with this proprietary material is strongly recommended.

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