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Getting it Right!

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What Message Are You Sending To Your Prospective Students, and Do They Even Care?

What Message Are You Sending To Your Prospective Students, and Do They Even Care?

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  • 1. Getting It Right!What Message Are You Sending To Your Prospective Students, and Do They Even Care?
    July 2009
    Intelliworks – Personify Education 2009
    Dr. Brenda Harms
    Client Consultant
  • 2. About Stamats
    Stamats is a higher education marketing thought leader with a distinct, customized-solutions approach to the marketplace. Our array of time-tested services has set the standard for a marketing partner: actionable, research-based counsel that can inform effective, multiple media creative solutions and strategic thinking. We promise our clients the highest level of professional service and attention to detail because we know our success is measured by theirs.
    Research
    • Image, perception, and brand studies
    • 3. Recruiting, marketing, brand, and academic program marketability audits
    • 4. Tuition Price ElasticityTM studies
    • 5. Communication process mapping
    Creative Services
    • Creative concepting
    • 6. Web strategies
    • 7. Recruiting and advancement publications
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 2
  • 8. Are you….
    Postcards
    Web Site
    Emails
    Holiday Cards
    Phone Calls
    Instant Messages
    RSS Feeds
    Brochures
    Viewbooks
    Campus Visits
    Search Mailings
    Text Messages
    Social Networks
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 3
  • 9. WHY….
    and most importantly WHAT?
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 4
  • 10. The MESSAGE is primary…
    The DELIVERY is somewhat secondary…
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 5
  • 11. It’s About Saying One Thing…. That They Care About!
    Safety.
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 6
  • 12. So What Do They Care About?
    Who are the they?
    2008 TeensTALK™
    2006 ParentsTALK™
    2008 Adult StudentsTALK™
    Graduate Student Subset
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 7
  • 13. 2008 TeensTALK

    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 8
  • 14. Methodology
    • Telephone survey of 800 geographically dispersed college-bound high school students
    • 15. 50% of respondents were high school juniors, 50% high school seniors
    • 16. All respondents completed core TeensTALK® questions and then were randomly assigned into one of four specialty subjects:
    • 17. Defining Academic Quality
    • 18. Determining College “Fit”
    • 19. Defining Graduate Outcomes
    • 20. Preferred Methods of College Communication
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 9
  • 21. Respondent Demographics
    Gender– 60% female; 40% male
    Ethnicity – 57% White or Caucasian; 17% Black or African American; 14% Hispanic or Latino/a; 7% Asian or Pacific Islander; 3% no dominant race; <1% Native American; 2% don’t wish to reveal
    Parent’s highest level of education – 33% high school diploma or GED; 24% some college or two-year degree; 23% four-year degree; 16% graduate degree; 5% not sure
    Class rank – 13% top 5% of class; 14% top 10%; 14% top 15%; 16% top 25%; 11% top 50%; 5% below top 50%; 27% not sure
    SAT score – 17% 1300 or lower; 21% 1310 to 1600; 14% 1610 to 1800; 9% 1810 to 2000; 11% 2010 or higher; 18% don’t remember
    ACT score – 15% 18 or lower; 27% 19 to 22; 25% 23 to 26; 18% 27 to 30; 5% 30 or higher; 11% don’t remember
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 10
  • 22. Geographic Distribution of Respondents
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 11
  • 23. General Importance Attributes
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 12
  • 24. Individuals Involved in College Decision
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 13
  • 25. Helpful Information Sources
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 14
  • 26. The Five Factors of Academic Quality
    Student Quality
    • Average high school GPA of students
    • 27. Average ACT/SAT scores of students
    College Features
    • New/updated academic facilities
    • 28. Wireless campus
    • 29. Honors program
    • 30. Small class sizes
    Student Outcomes
    • Employers actively recruit from the college
    • 31. Career placement rate
    • 32. Average starting salaries
    • 33. Prestige of grad schools attended
    • 34. Grad school acceptance rate
    • 35. Four-year graduation rate
    Prestige
    • College is featured in the media
    • 36. Ranked highly
    • 37. Nationally & regionally known
    • 38. Highly selective
    • 39. Professors regularly published
    Academic Experience
    • Hands-on learning
    • 40. Faculty passionate about teaching
    • 41. Internship opportunities
    • 42. Expertise of faculty
    • 43. Undergrads conduct research
    • 44. Students work closely w/ faculty
    • 45. Study abroad program
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 15
  • 46. The Five Factors of Academic Quality
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 16
  • 47. Indicators of Weak Academic Programs
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 17
  • 48. Indicators of Weak Academic Programs(Verbatim Responses)
    • “An institution’s graduation rate is a good indicator of the quality of its programs. Also, how well people find jobs following gradation—if they can’t find a job, they didn’t have the right education.”
    • 49. “I think a college where the students don’t get good jobs after graduation is an indicator it’s not a good school.”
    • 50. “If they can’t answer my questions, they don’t have strong academic programs.”
    • 51. “If the institution doesn’t have a lot of variety in its majors and it’s brand new, just starting off as a new college.”
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 18
  • 52. Quality of “Better” Schools (n=37)
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 19
  • 53. Determining Successful Graduate Outcomes
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 20
  • 54. Acceptable Communication at Each Funnel Stage
    Please indicate if you feel it is acceptable for a college or university to communicate with you in the following manners:
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 21
  • 55. Preferred Communication at Each Funnel Stage
    Of these items, which would you most prefer a college or university uses to contact you at this stage?
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 22
  • 56. Satisfaction With Communication Levels
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 23
  • 57. How Could Colleges Communicate Better?
    • Better ways to communicate in the search stage: (n=116)
    • 58. More contact, contact on a regular basis (17%)
    • 59. More specific information, more details (15%)
    • 60. Contact me via mail (13%)
    • 61. Contact me via phone (10%)
    • 62. More personalized (10%)
    • 63. Contact me via e-mail (9%)
    • 64. Better ways to communicate in the inquiry stage: (n=116)
    • 65. Contact me via mail (16%)
    • 66. Contact me via phone (16%)
    • 67. Contact me via e-mail (11%)
    • 68. More contact, contact on a regular basis (10%)
    • 69. More personalized (10%)
    • 70. Provided more/better information (10%)
    • 71. More specific information, more details (10%)
    • 72. Better ways to communicate in the applicant stage: (n=85)
    • 73. More contact, contact on a regular basis (17%)
    • 74. Contact me via e-mail (15%)
    • 75. More specific information, more details (12%)
    • 76. Good customer service, be responsive (8%)
    • 77. Contact me via mail (7%)
    • 78. Better ways to communicate in the admitted student stage: (n=85)
    • 79. More contact, contact on a regular basis (9%)
    • 80. Contact me via mail (8%)
    • 81. Provide status updates (8%)
    • 82. More specific information, more details (7%)
    • 83. Contact me via e-mail (7%)
    • 84. Good customer service, be responsive (7%)
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 24
  • 85. 2006 ParentsTALK

    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 25
  • 86. 26
    Parents’ Role in College Choice
    Today’s parents are better informed about the
    college-choice process and have higher
    expectations (especially true for moms)
    Look at themselves as “partners” with their children
    Very interested in issues related to academic quality, access to faculty and facilities, and outcome data
    Safety is of keen, but often undefined, interest
    Concerned about cost, but cost is seldom the “deal breaker”
    Plan to stay highly involved in their child’s college experience
    Expect colleges to keep their promises
    Source: Stamats’ 2006 ParentsTALK®
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 26
  • 87. 27
    What Parents Want to Know Most About You
    Top choices from a list of 26 items
    Faculty are good teachers/mentors
    Program of interest to child is available
    Safe campus
    High academic quality
    Graduates get good jobs
    Known for its academics
    Availability of financial aid
    Availability of scholarships
    Value (high quality/good price)
    Reasonable cost tied with good technology resources
    Source: Stamats 2006 ParentsTALK®
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 27
  • 88. The Message for Parents...
    Recognize them and the significance of the role they are playing in their child’s decision
    Consider customizing communication specifically for them (or one that at least acknowledges their main concerns):
    Family piece
    Outcomes brochure
    So you’re sending your kid to college email series
    Parent e-newsletters
    We can expect parents’ role in decisions on where to go and whether to stay to increase (parents as advocates)
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 28
  • 89. 2008 Adult StudentsTALK

    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 29
  • 90. Methodology
    • Web survey of 406 geographically dispersed adults interested in continuing their education
    • 91. The sample was intentionally drawn to look at both undergraduate and graduate-degree seekers
    • 92. Respondents were members of an online panel. Before beginning, respondents were screened to ensure they were:
    • 93. Between the ages of 25 and 54
    • 94. Somewhat or very likely to continue their education within the next three years
    Source: Stamats Adult StudentsTALK 2008®
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 30
  • 95. Respondent Demographics
    Gender– 66% female; 33% male; 1% don’t wish to reveal
    Age – 50% 25 to 34 years old; 29% 35 to 44 years old; 21% 45 to 54 years old
    Ethnicity – 77% White or Caucasian; 9% Asian or Pacific Islander; 4% Black or African American; 3% Hispanic or Latino/a; 2% no dominant race; 1% Native American; 4% don’t wish to reveal
    Marital status – 53% married; 34% single; 9% divorced; 2% civil union or partnered; 1% widowed; 1% don’t wish to reveal
    Presence of children (18 or younger)– 65% no children; 35% have children
    Highest level of education – 2% high school diploma or GED; 26% some college or two-year degree; 46% four-year degree; 27% graduate degree
    Employment status – 75% employed full-time; 13% part-time; 13% not employed
    Annual household income – 6% less than $25,000; 20% $25,000 to $49,999; 27% $50,000 to $74,999; 17% $75,000 to $99,999; 16% $100,000 to $149,999; 6% More than $150,000; 7% don’t wish to reveal
    Source: Stamats Adult StudentsTALK 2008®
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 31
  • 96. Geographic Distribution of Respondents
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 32
  • 97. Why Pursue Additional Education?
    Top motivations for pursuing additional education:
    • 97% desire personal enrichment
    • 98. 89% want to increase their income
    • 99. 78% have always enjoyed education
    • 100. 76% want to prove they can do it
    • 101. 75% are considering changing their careers
    • 102. 73% want to improve their job satisfaction
    • 103. 66% hope to advance within their current job or career
    • 104. 62% want to be a role model for their family
    • 105. 42% need to due to personal circumstances/major life changes
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 33
  • 106. Men Looking for Current Career Advancement
    • 86% of men indicate they would pursue additional education for advancement in their current job or career
    • 107. This compares to just 58% of women giving this same response
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 34
  • 108. Preferred Course Format
    Note that online is very appealing to adult undergraduate students, more so than hybrid. Very different than graduate seeking adults
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 35
  • 109. Important College Attributes
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 36
  • 110. Importance Ratings by Age
    • Respondents 35 and older place more importance on:
    • 111. Flexibility of class scheduling (mean of 4.7)
    • 112. Online learning options (mean of 4.4)
    • 113. Colleges placing a strong focus on adult education (mean of 4.3)
    • 114. More so than 25 to 34 year olds, adults 35 and older need education to fit somewhat conveniently into their current lives
    • 115. They want more options in completing courses, faster completion of courses, and an understanding from their college about the difficulties facing adult learners
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 37
  • 116. Importance Ratings by Gender
    • Women tended to place more importance on the following attributes:
    • 117. Flexibility of class scheduling (mean of 4.7 compared to 4.2 among men)
    • 118. Cost to attend (mean of 4.7 compared to 4.2 among men)
    • 119. Amount of financial aid available (mean of 4.3 compared to 3.9 among men)
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 38
  • 120. Major Concerns Among Adults
    Major concerns among adult undergraduate students:
    • Paying for college courses (48% cite as a “major concern”)
    • 121. Managing time between family and classes (46%)
    • 122. Among respondents with children, this increases to 71%
    • 123. Managing time between work and classes (42%)
    Despite the concern for balancing family and classes, 71% of respondents say their families are very supportive, and 19% say they are generally supportive
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 39
  • 124. (Primarily) Non-Issues Among Adults
    “Major concerns” cited by less than 10% of graduate degree seeking adults:
    • I don’t think I’d do well academically (7% cited as a “major concern”)
    • 125. What I learn in college will not be useful in my career goals (6%)
    • 126. I would feel embarrassed or out of place on campus (6%)
    • 127. I am not prepared to succeed on a highly technological campus (5%)
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 40
  • 128. Adult Services to Consider
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 41
  • 129. Researching College Options: Sources of Information
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 42
  • 130. Graduate Student Subset
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 43
  • 131. Why Pursue Graduate Education?
    Top motivations for pursuing additional education:
    • 90% desire personal enrichment
    • 132. 81% have always enjoyed education
    • 133. 79% want to increase their income
    • 134. 79% hope to advance within their current job or career
    • 135. 75% want to improve their job satisfaction
    • 136. 62% want to prove they can do it
    • 137. 61% are considering changing their careers
    • 138. 39% want to be a role model for their family
    • 139. 34% need to due to personal circumstances/major life changes
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 44
  • 140. Converting the “Someday Student”
    Top motivations for pursuing additional education
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 45
  • 141. Preferred Course Format
    Source: Stamats Adult StudentsTALK 2008®
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 46
  • 142. Preferences for Online & Accelerated Programs
    • Respondents 35 and older are more open to:
    • 143. Online courses
    • 144. Accelerated programs
    • 145. These same trends exist among respondents with children under the age of 18
    • 146. While these may seem counter-intuitive, older students and students with children tend to be more open to anything that will allow them to complete their degree fast and conveniently
    Source: Stamats Adult StudentsTALK 2008®
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 47
  • 147. Important College Attributes
    Source: Stamats Adult StudentsTALK 2008®
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 48
  • 148. Major Concerns Among Adults
    Major concerns among graduate degree seeking adults:
    • Managing time between work and classes (46% cite as a “major concern”)
    • 149. Paying for college courses (45%)
    • 150. Managing time between family and classes (41%)
    Despite the concern for balancing family and classes, 65% of respondents say their families are very supportive, and 27% say they are generally supportive
    Source: Stamats Adult StudentsTALK 2008®
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 49
  • 151. Adult Services to Consider
    Source: Stamats Adult StudentsTALK 2008®
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 50
  • 152. Researching College Options: Sources of Information
    Source: Stamats Adult StudentsTALK 2008®
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 51
  • 153. So what is THE message?
    It will be unique to your institution (tell the truth – always; this is marketing not make-believe!)
    You more than likely don’t know it yet! Ask the experts – your prospective students.
    Streamline your message and THEN determine your delivery.
    © 2009 Stamats, Inc. – 52
  • 154. Discussion/Questions

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