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Recruiting Intelligence

Perceived Value: Online vs. On Campus

What are your students willing to pay for an online education?

Here is what you are really after: given your brand reputation, the demographics of your student cohort and the potential to create a new service delivery model, what should you offer and how much should you charge for it?

Let’s get that answered!

Our primary message: custom research into what your student cohort is willing to pay for your brand on campus or online is invaluable. An important part of innovation is the upfront market research that points your team in the right direction.

Below we review some new pricing research that offers insights and a conceptual approach to getting this type of data for your institution.

The context: During a high school Zoom graduation ceremony we watched this past week (my niece got her paper!), the valedictorian shared the experience of his last day in high school in March this year – a day like any other, except that at the end of it, the principal quite suddenly told everyone there would be no school the next day. A mundane day that suddenly marked the end of all he had worked for. No celebration, no Senior Week pranks, no high fives, just, head home and, as it turned out, don’t return.

His comment at the close of his valedictorian graduation speech: Don’t ever doubt that the world can change in an instant.

Across the globe, students and institutions shared that experience. How will all those valedictorians and all their friends make decisions going forward. College? Job? Remote learning and a job?

Read on for pricing research perspective to get you thinking.

And watch this space over the next few weeks as we dive into the doing that is prompted by the thinking. We’ll be sharing detailed case studies of some of the successful digital marketing work we’ve been doing for a variety of institutions around the world.

Yes, even during a pandemic, especially during a pandemic, digital marketing will connect you with your target audiences. We will show you how and give you benchmarks to help you evaluate how you are doing.

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Investing in Growth, Looking Beyond Fall

Your institution’s mission has not changed.

Despite all that is swirling around us, you are still in the business of helping people improve and achieve. You are still helping them understand what to learn and how to learn it.

Resilience is Built

Many institutional leadership teams are demonstrating the very resilience their mission statements say they will instill in their students. Others are suggesting business as usual with little change to their operations beyond physical distancing practices.

Investing in adaptation and innovation builds long-term resilience. This is what students are doing by investing in their educations – building resilience.

What is the story we tell students and parents? “Take the risk. We know it is a lot of money, but you’ll be better off in the long-term.” We tell students to invest in a 4-year growth plan, and we reinforce it along the way, “Don’t be deterred! Finish in 4 years!”

Are academic leaders following that same advice to build resilience for their institutions? Or are they crying poor, just like the students they are trying to convince to spend savings and take on debt for future gains?

Here’s the thing: institutions rarely stick to their own 4-year plans.

Example: Enrollment marketing initiatives often start with 3-5 year plans. The team acknowledges that real returns won’t materialize in years 1 or 2. And then, turnover in senior administrators and other outside factors suddenly defund the growth plan and little to no progress gets made. The planned investment halts after just 12 months.

I’m sure you’ve seen this happen all too often.

What To Do?

Develop the vision. Build the buy-in. Invest in the execution. Stay the course.

We will be adding a new set of research and resources available to our Intead Plus members over the next 8 weeks to help you do just that.

Read on to take a look at where forward-looking institutions are making these investments for longer-term growth (case studies are available).

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Connecting the Dots for Enrollment Success

Let’s pause for just a minute or two and take a few deep breaths. The pace of all that is going on, right?

With this post, we are going to connect a few dots. Reconfirm the why’s and how’s of what we are doing in the enrollment management arena.

Right now, we see civil unrest around us that is the expression of communities not understanding each other. Lack of cultural understanding, lack of connection, lack of empathy, all leading to severe consequences. This is an age-old struggle and we, in the education sector, pour our hearts into changing the underlying factors that contribute to the mess we find ourselves in.

Getting our work right really does matter. Education IS such a huge part of moving our communities in the right direction.

For most of us, maybe all of us, recent events make it crystal clear why we do this: every mind opened, every cultural connection built, is a win.

To achieve loftier goals, the academic institution must remain economically viable. And we need the students to enroll.

We know, looking ahead, more dramatic change is coming as we navigate various immigration decrees and virus news. We’ve all been working really hard to maintain the pace and make smart decisions. So, let’s just pause and reflect for a moment and connect some dots.

In short, the process is: view the data, assess the tools, make a plan, execute. Sounds simple, right ; -)

Our Intead Plus library of recruitment content and worksheets has supported so many. It’s out there if you need it. Below we review our process with some helpful lists to get you thinking, considering.

This is such an important time to plan and act.

Often, as the team here begins our projects with a new client, institutional leaders apologize for the many silos across their campuses that hold information and work far too independently. We are often tasked with gathering the necessary information and bringing as much unity to the siloed teams as possible.

Deep breath.

And again.

Getting our important work done the best way: There are so many approaches and so many adjustments that are necessary as circumstances and the people involved shift. All of our talents for listening, embracing and connecting ideas, all of this is needed from all of us.

There are underlying processes to how we do enrollment marketing that are essential and consistently required regardless of the circumstances. These processes adapt as situations change. 

Knowing where your processes stand, and which dots might need more attention has real value. Read on and consider whether your enrollment management system’s dots are functioning holistically.

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Going out of Business: Many Institutions are Struggling. Notice Any Red Flags?


If you follow the trends of higher education, you’ve no doubt heard the prediction that 50 percent of the country’s colleges will be bankrupt in 10 to 15 years. And that perspective has been touted for the past 20+ years, so…we need to take it with some salt.

Still, we have seen an uptick in closures and mergers of late. This is worth looking at because, there is some truth to this prediction and we’d be fools to simply say, “Never gonna happen.”

There are plenty of industries that have gone through these kinds of retrenching or refocusing. In the world of Mergers and Acquisitions, any business is broken down on paper for its assets and liabilities. Assets are considered for liquidation – the idea of “selling off the parts.” This is happening in academia as well. Harsh but true: profitable departments or schools within an institution are being “adopted” by other stronger institutions while the rest of the weaker institution is shut down.

Before we all consider our college diplomas to be rare antiques, is there any way to safeguard against this trend?

Below, we share some perspective on different options being considered and some resources you may want to access for a deeper dive. Here’s one of them: Our non-traditional student recruitment ebook: Quality. Cost. Convenience. The extended edition on Intead Plus gives you marketing planning insights, sample personas along with case studies from nine very different institutions.

Next week we'll be talking about long-term vision and growth. But before we get there, we need to understand a bit more about where we are now.

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

(Read on)

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New Global Research: 2019 Edition


Intead’s Research Advisory Board has been guiding our latest work to help inform you of your next student recruiting moves. You can thank them as you pass them in the Nafsa convention hall this week. Meet them HERE.

The data, the infographics, the student insights…so much to consider, evaluate. Our ultimate goal: figure out how it all informs the marketing and recruiting plans of our clients.

I was just in New York City with Unibuddy (Nafsa booth 433) for their well-attended mini-summit. This peer-to-peer student conversation platform is really taking off and proving itself valuable as a recruiting tool. In the coming weeks, we will be releasing a report on our findings from an analysis of 200,000 student conversations. Great insights about powerful messaging by region.

For those of you here at Nafsa this week, I’ll be presenting alongside Hillary Dostal from Northeastern University at 2:30 on Wed, 5/29 in WCC Room 207A. Seen the promo video? It will bring you a smile in just 45 seconds…

 

Below, we share our insights on what kind of market research we think is most valuable at this point in global recruiting, given all of the many headwinds impacting our work. Intead Plus members have access to all of it.

With budget cycles coming to a close for 2019 and just firing up for 2020, now might be a good time to consider the value of the investment in Intead Plus.

[Read on…]

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Promote Your University’s Micro-Strengths!

In international student recruiting, reputation means a lot. Reputation often influences where students across the globe want to apply and study. But there are reputations, and then there are reputations.

Are you making the most of your academic micro-strengths?

Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Top Universities just released its annualQS World University Rankings by Subject and you should really be paying attention because students read them and use them. These rankings carry weight. QS even mentions in this particular ranking that the list is developed each year because of “high demand for subject-level comparisons.” (And the search tool they have online is really kind of fun to play with ... #datanerds ;-)

This is an opportunity for your institution to shine in the eyes of these prospective students--especially if your institution has a lower overall rank, but really strong academic programs in particular areas of study. These program or subject level rankings are your micro-strengths! And QS helps you promote them.

Bottom Line: Students don’t just look at the reputation of the university as a whole; they are also looking into the reputation of the specific programs they are interested in. Your opportunity: market your strongest programs. While QS university rankings may have their flaws, they are widely used by international students. Examining the criteria of these rankings can help determine what kind of data your prospective international students will find attractive. [read on...]

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The Global Allure of Middle America

The heart of America seems to be catching the hearts of more prospective international students. A blog we published in 2013 highlighted the fact that Ohio universities have been growing their international student population twice as fast as California or New York universities for the four years prior to the article. (There’s some good data there; that blog post is worth a look.)

Since then, many Midwest institutions are stepping up their investment in world class international recruiting efforts that focus on core differentiators: affordable tuition and living costs, great international student services, a perception of a “safer” environment and American students who speak English without an accent (yes, that is a selling point). 

So here’s the pro tip: universities in the middle of the country interested in attracting international students need to play up the academic programs that make them strong and different and not always go head-to-head with competitors on the coasts where touting business and engineering is always the thing. Consider agribusiness and water/environmental science. Why, you ask? Emily is about to take us through the rationale — and the data tells the story. With so much to consider, I hope you know that we are here to help you figure all this stuff out.

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Marketing Your University: Education Outcomes

  

This week we want to compare your university education to roasting a chicken. No, really.

We want you to consider a lesson learned in the grocery industry about marketing. What in the world would your international student recruiting plans have to do with roast chicken you ask? Perhaps not quite as much of a stretch as you might think.

Here at Intead, we are always looking at what industry does, how it markets, what it tracks. And we apply those lessons to academia. It keeps us on our toes.

Bottom Line: Supermarkets learned a while back that advertising focused on cooked meals attracts customers better than showing raw ingredients. For university enrollment, focusing on jobs and outcomes is critical in today’s academic marketing. The message resonates with students and parents alike. So you might want to rethink all those images of happy students on the quad, or engaged in classrooms. The ascending career needs to be present, and perhaps even dominant, in your advertising.

We will be discussing these approaches to academic marketing at the upcoming AIRC and ICEF conferences in December. Are you going? We’d love to meet you face-to-face instead of keyboard to screen! There are still a few slots left for our 3rd annual ICEF Pre-conference Global Marketing Seminar for Education Institutions.

More on using outcomes in your marketing below.

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