Jenzabar’s Acquisition of Spark451 Is An Expected Fit

Rebekah Russell |

Former Analyst

Top of Mind: Jenzabar’s Acquisition of Spark451 Is An Expected Fit
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On April 13, 2022, Jenzabar announced that it had acquired higher education marketing and technology firm Spark451. Established in 2011, Spark451 provides enrollment marketing support, creative design services, and data analytics exclusively for higher education. Spark451 works with over 70 institutions in the United States and maintains offices in New York, North Carolina, and Virginia.

No significant leadership changes are anticipated from the merger; Spark451 leadership will join the Jenzabar leadership team and maintain its current team structure. Tambellini spoke with Jenzabar and Spark451 regarding the acquisition. The decision signals a firm commitment to relationship building and institutional support for the entire student lifecycle.

Jenzabar’s acquisition aligns with the growing focus of higher education technology companies on recruitment and enrollment activities. Technology companies have executed a significant number of acquisitions and mergers to align technologies across the functional landscape.

Prior to COVID-19, higher education institutions faced increasing enrollment pressures and the rise of new student expectations for personalized and multi-channel communications. Today, those pressures are even greater, with many institutions seeking to increase traditional student enrollment and continuing education students. With the acquisition of Spark451, Jenzabar adds several years of industry experience in robust enrollment strategies and other services.

While this acquisition adds expertise and a service partner for Jenzabar, Tambellini does not expect any immediate changes to the company’s product line. Over time, analytics and tools from Spark451’s service offerings could be integrated with Jenzabar One Student. In the immediate term, however, this acquisition provides Jenzabar with an additional offering for current customers and provides an additional tool for institutions seeking enrollment support.

The most interesting aspect of this acquisition is the strategy it highlights. Over the past several years, Jenzabar has experienced market growth among institutions with 2,500 students or less and not-for-profit faith-based, medical, and specialized institutions. The acquisition of Spark451 adds a tool to Jenzabar’s arsenal to increase appeal and ROI for larger institutions. Additionally, Spark451’s creative and enrollment-focused services increase the value of partnership with Jenzabar for its current customers.   

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Rebekah Russell |
Former Analyst
As a former analyst, Rebekah Russell researched and published in the student and CRM technology space, concentrating on platforms that focus on recruitment and admissions, student retention and engagement, advising, financial aid, and student management. Coming to Tambellini from Western Kentucky University, she has served in various roles at the university, including student engagement and retention, parent and alumni programming, information technology administration, and most recently, as AVP for budget, financial planning, and analytics.

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