Signal vs. Noise: Moving from Conversation to Conversion

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The internet has become the frontline in the battle to recruit students. While this gives colleges and universities unprecedented access to a broad range of prospects, it also creates an environment where more schools are competing for fewer students. How can your institution rise above the noise?

Todd Gibby
Hobsons
President, HE
@toddgibby

Published in: Education
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  • © Datamonitor
  • © Datamonitor
  • © Datamonitor
  • Signal vs. Noise: Moving from Conversation to Conversion

    1. 1. Signal vs. Noise Moving from Conversation to Conversion November 12, 2009 Presented by Todd Gibby Hobsons President, HE
    2. 2. Enrollments by People Aged 25+ (in thousands) Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 2006, Table 177 In some ways the signal is clear…
    3. 3. Enrollments by People Aged 25+ (in thousands) In some ways the signal is clear… Chronicle of Higher Education: April 2, 2009 Recession Has Changed Views Among Prospective Adult Students, Study Finds By Eric Hoover “ Nearly half of adult students believe the value of education has increased over the last year due to the economic crisis…” Chronicle of Higher Education: January 9, 2009 Recession May Drive More Adult Students to Take Online Courses By Steve Kolowich
    4. 4. Source: Education Pays 2007, The College Board, US Census Bureau, 2006 Grad students are looking for signal
    5. 5. And Volume is Up…Right? Source: 2009 GMAT Application Trends Survey % Change in Application Volume in 2009 compared to 2008
    6. 6. But…
    7. 7. <ul><li>Among 10 of the largest for-profit college companies , enrollment during the quarter ending June 30 was anywhere from 12 to more than 100 percent higher than it was during the same period last year. </li></ul>Source: August 26, 2009; The Chronicle for Higher Education Crowded Airwaves
    8. 8. Greatest challenges for education… Source: Intelliworks Linkedin Poll, September 2009 (n = 200)
    9. 9. Grad Recruitment: Wired for Efficiency? Source: CGS New Deans Institute, July 2007
    10. 10. Wired for Efficiency?: Part Dieux Source: CGS New Deans Institute, July 2007
    11. 11. Losing Signal from Afar &quot;The decline in admissions of international students this year, after several years of slowing growth, is a concern for U.S. graduate education.” - Debra W. Stewart, President, Council of Graduate Schools (CGS)
    12. 12. August 2008 And…Lots of Noise at Home
    13. 13. Top motivations for going to Grad School… Source: Intelliworks Linkedin Poll, October 2009 (n = 530)
    14. 14. How are institutions addressing ROI? Source: Intelliworks Linkedin Poll, October 2009 (n = 355)
    15. 15. Mixed Signals: The Paradox of Choice “ The Paradox of Choice: Why Less is More” Barry Schwartz
    16. 16. Every relationship begins with a little noise… Noise Discover Educate Engage Apply/Enroll Yield Signal Analyze
    17. 17. Noise Discover Educate Engage Enroll Yield Signal Analyze Discovery…
    18. 18. Education… Noise Discover Educate Engage Apply/Enroll Yield Signal Analyze
    19. 19. Engagement… Noise Discover Educate Engage Apply/Enroll Yield Signal Analyze
    20. 20. Enrollment… Noise Discover Educate Engage Apply/Enroll Yield Signal Analyze
    21. 21. Yield… Noise Discover Educate Engage Apply/Enroll Yield Signal Analyze
    22. 22. Analysis… Noise Discover Educate Engage Apply/Enroll Yield Signal Analyze
    23. 23. Finally clear signal… Noise Discover Educate Engage Apply/Enroll Yield Signal Analyze
    24. 24. What you see happening… Yield / Analysis
    25. 25. What’s actually happening…
    26. 27. Session Outline: Signal vs. Noise <ul><li>Moving from Conversation to Conversion </li></ul><ul><li>Analyze internally and externally </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on “customer” needs </li></ul><ul><li>Deliver on experience </li></ul><ul><li>Establish uniqueness </li></ul>
    27. 28. Session Outline: Signal vs. Noise <ul><li>Moving from Conversation to Conversion </li></ul><ul><li>ASSESS ‘Em </li></ul><ul><li>ADDRESS ‘Em </li></ul><ul><li>PROGRESS ‘Em </li></ul><ul><li>IMPRESS ‘Em </li></ul>
    28. 29. Breaking from tradition…
    29. 30. Confusing application process… People Processes Tech / Data
    30. 31. Trying a new process
    31. 32. The Results 2007 2008 % Increase As a baseline in 2006 we had 257 completed applications so in 2 years we have seen a 42% increase
    32. 33. Session Outline: Signal vs. Noise <ul><li>Moving from Conversation to Conversion </li></ul><ul><li>ASSESS ‘Em </li></ul><ul><li>ADDRESS ‘Em </li></ul><ul><li>PROGRESS ‘Em </li></ul><ul><li>IMPRESS ‘Em </li></ul>
    33. 34. 1. Know your audience… Why are they here? 2 What keeps them up at night? 3 How can you solve their problem? 4 What do you want them to do? 5 How can you best reach them? 6 How might they resist? 7 What are they like? 1 © duarte.com 2008 “ Slide-ology” by Mary Duarte
    34. 35. Top motivations for returning to school? <ul><li>Do you offer work/life credit? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you offer online classes? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you offer accelerated programs? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you have an extension site? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you have a admissions or financial aid advisors? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you offer tutoring? </li></ul>Source: Stamats Adult Students Talk 2008
    35. 36. 10 key elements of successful programs <ul><li>Know your students </li></ul><ul><li>Hire good communicators </li></ul><ul><li>Build “hoopless” admissions and financial aid processes </li></ul><ul><li>Take a proactive approach to student advising </li></ul><ul><li>Automate routine communications </li></ul><ul><li>Hire faculty suited to online teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Set and maintain high standards for student/faculty communication </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate </li></ul><ul><li>Check your program’s vital signs regularly </li></ul><ul><li>Use cross-functional teams to develop enhancements and improvements </li></ul>
    36. 37. 2. Many Options: Invest Wisely
    37. 38. Focus Close to Home Source: Stamats Adult Students Talk 2008 www.websitegrader.com www.compete.com
    38. 39. 3. Be prepared to receive the signal.
    39. 40. Moving in Fast Company Source: Intelliworks Survey, April 2009, n = 140
    40. 41. Session Outline: Signal vs. Noise <ul><li>Moving from Conversation to Conversion </li></ul><ul><li>ASSESS ‘Em </li></ul><ul><li>ADDRESS ‘Em </li></ul><ul><li>PROGRESS ‘Em </li></ul><ul><li>IMPRESS ‘Em </li></ul>
    41. 42. Emphasis on service and flexibility
    42. 43. Market to Hopes; Build to Fears <ul><ul><li>CAN I ACTUALLY </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DO THIS? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WHAT IF I </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NEED HELP? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WILL THIS HELP ME </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ADVANCE MY CAREER? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DO I HAVE THE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RIGHT SKILLS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TO SUCCEED? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WHO WILL SEE ME </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>THROUGH THIS? </li></ul></ul>
    43. 44. Can you accommodate their needs? Source: Stamats Adult Students Talk 2008 Note that online is very appealing to adult undergraduate students, more so than hybrid. Very different than graduate seeking adults
    44. 45. Today’s adult learners are not homogeneous, but their goals and challenges are consistent Retention and engagement: Understanding the challenges adult learners face Source: Inside Track Career achievement Financial security Better quality of life Their goals Full-time work Family / parenting obligations Financial constraints Their obstacles Their needs Connect goals to actions Navigate process and succeed
    45. 46. Use a Proactive Approach to Advising <ul><li>Establish an automated notification system that reminds students after they receive their assessment results to schedule an advising appointment </li></ul><ul><li>This initial appointment should include identifying realistic goals, mapping the specific courses needed to attain it, and sketching a timeline for its completion </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage technology to deliver advising sessions online </li></ul><ul><li>Develop an early alert system to identify at-risk students and refer them to advising </li></ul><ul><li>Identify “touchpoints” throughout the student’s degree plan and schedule future appointments in advance </li></ul>
    46. 47. Session Outline: Signal vs. Noise <ul><li>Moving from Conversation to Conversion </li></ul><ul><li>ASSESS ‘Em </li></ul><ul><li>ADDRESS ‘Em </li></ul><ul><li>PROGRESS ‘Em </li></ul><ul><li>IMPRESS ‘Em </li></ul>
    47. 48. What is a brand? <ul><li>A brand is a person’s gut feel about a product , service or organization . </li></ul><ul><li>The Brand Gap, Marty Neumeier (via David Armano, Logic + Emotion: Brand U.0 on YouTube) </li></ul>
    48. 54. Cutting Through the Noise

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