Know your competition:
Who rises above the crowd?

Colleges have rivals on the football field, but also in the recruiting arena. You know who they are. I’m talking about the schools that your admitted students also applied to, and chose over you.  What you don’t know is why that happens?

Find the data that’s waiting for you

Surveying your students can give you some insights, but that can be unreliable. In my experience, national data sets can give you reliable data that support a true value proposition, and market differentiation. These are the facts you need to develop a foundation for your own distinctive, recruitment messaging.

When you interpret this data though action analytics you’ll see where your school really shines. These analytics are accurate enough to get a baseline, and then measure your programs again – perhaps to gauge the impact of a marketing campaign. (Imagine… being able to validate the time and money spent!)

Let’s see how data can answer one or two key questions that are critical to selective admissions and enrollment management.

1.   How can you accurately define your competition?

While many of your colleagues use anecdotal evidence from current students or peers, to determine their rivals, the more definitive answer lies elsewhere.

By analyzing national datasets I can correctly identify the institutions that you’re competing against, those you “lost” against (who enrolled students you also admitted), and those you beat out for a top academic class.

Ideally, I prefer to trend the analysis over three or more years for my clients. This allows them to evaluate the effectiveness of their brand strategies over time.

Bottom line? If you are not using national data sets to track your competition, get started now, even if you are in the middle of recruiting. I can show you how to apply the analysis at any time during the recruiting cycle.

2.  Does your brand reflect your best attributes and describe the college experience that your students receive?

Listening to your students will tell you what they think – an essential activity to retain and enroll students. To do this, many of us collect feedback from focus groups or point of service surveys – “How satisfied are you?” questions.

But do you have the time it takes to turn hundreds of responses into key messages that resonate with students and college leader? Believe me, I have worked with teams who start out motivated and end up with a pile of dusty data from their survey results – and no answers.

The fault often lies in not developing the right survey design. When I design a survey, it asks the right questions and does the analysis for you. Then it can guide my clients in useful ways to use the results.

With this information, you can peer into the minds of your non-enrollees to leverage the opportunities you might be missing. Perhaps it was as simple as a key message that went unnoticed.

It’s great to have those “ad-ha” moments with good survey data but you must also translate it into meaningful, operational change.

It all starts with a good survey design. Let me help you get started.


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Ingram Market Analytics

Ingram Market Analytics, in Pittsburgh, was established by John Ingram, who has 25 years of experience in institutional research. I practice action analytics. I can turn drowsy data into an active advocate to support and champion your ideas. Get results that you can use immediately for greater productivity.