Do you use market research to inform your enrollment marketing strategy? If not, you should be.
Without market research – data-driven, quantitative and qualitative research on what your market is saying and thinking about your school or college – your marketing outreach, ads, and printed collateral most likely are shooting in the dark.
Ask yourself these six questions to determine if your school needs market research:
1: How often do you sit in a meeting and debate why enrollment is going up or down or what people are really saying about your school’s reputation?
Market research can help put to bed these debates using data collected straight from the audience rather than relayed through anecdotal stories.
2: Do you know why some of your applicants are not enrolling in your school?
Market research is invaluable for understanding what prospective families value most in making their decision – and what they value most about your school. It also reveals their pain points – those decision-making and decision-changing issues, such as price, location, program, etc. Once you know what your prospects’ pain points are, you can address them in your messaging.
3: Do you know if your advertising is conveying the right message?
Market research helps define the right themes in a marketing plan focused on increasing enrollment and help you better understand brand awareness and perceptions among prospective families.
Knowledge is power. The more you know about your audience and what they respond to, the more strategic and effective your marketing will be.
For example, say that market research reveals that your market is deeply interested in STEM programs and places a great deal of value on STEM offerings at a school. That’s terrific news because your school has amazing STEM programs! If your marketing (print, digital, social, website, talking points during admission tours) are not touting your STEM programs, you are missing a key, genuine, application-inspiring opportunity to connect with your market.
4: Are you satisfied that you are keeping up with the changes in your prospective families’ decision-making priorities?
Markets change and shift. What may have been priorities for your market 10 or 15 years ago, such as a half-day preschool program, may no longer be relevant if your current market is overflowing with dual-career families in need of full-day preschool with lunch offerings.
Market research gives you the intel you need to reposition or refresh your brand to address what’s important to your market’s priorities to drive greater enrollment.
5: Have you recently studied your current families to see how you might enhance their experience with your school?
You might be missing out on key information to drive enrollment and retention. Annual surveys to first-year families on how their year is going (and what they thought of the admission process) give you invaluable insight on what to do (and not to do).
Your market is external and internal. By asking your current parents to share their thoughts and reflections, you get great information and build your most important marketing tool: positive word of mouth.
Read more about how to hone your school’s word of mouth.
6: Do you know if there is the potential to extend your addressable market and appeal to more families?
Few schools today can rest on their waiting list laurels. Schools always are looking for the best students who will be a great fit. Market research can identify potential markets and provide insight on what resonates with that market.
Are you toying with a new tuition strategy (or other challenge)? Once again, market research is a great place to start.
If you answered “sometimes, often or always” to question 1 and “no” to any one of questions 2 through 6, your school would benefit from market research.
Download our free market research guide that explains the ins and outs and how-tos.
Need more proof that knowing what perceptions and assumptions are driving your market can guide your marketing strategy? Check out InspirED’s post on “Why Parents Choose Private Schools.”
Why are parents choosing your school? Kalix can help you find the answers. Connect with us here.>>