Recently I met with a client who we had helped reach a pretty significant enrollment milestone. Like so many of my clients actually, this client teaches me something new almost every time we meet. This lesson I had already learned over and over. Data is king!
Data is a pretty hot topic in many circles today. It’ s amazing what you can accomplish with good data. Those schools who do their data work ahead of time tend to set themselves apart from others schools. These model schools typically have a strong desire to look at the data while also having a passion for capturing and mining new data for future decisions.
This client was expressing the need that Vice Presidents of Enrollment Management bring data to the table anytime a new strategy was about to be launched. She reminisced about a time when her school president did not listen to her as much as he does today. She had tried to convince her president that a certain Student Search recruitment strategy would be the best course for the school to take as she was developing ways that her gut told her that her efforts needed to be both retooled and reengineered.
She remembers the meeting with the CFO and the president and how excited she was about trying some new methods in her Student recruitment strategies. But what she remembers most about the day is how he smiled and said “not yet,” on taking new bold measures to totally turn upside the strategy of replacing a high volume funnel type strategy with a philosophy that focused less on saturation mailings and volume name purchasing and more on getting high quality leads that were more likely to convert or matriculate to enrollment.
So what made the president finally acquiesce to the enrollment leaders way of thinking. It was the data.
“We have a saying on our campus that emanates from the president’s office…’In God We Trust: everyone else bring data.’”
She then found our geo-demographic research partner and starting using good old fashioned regression techniques learned in her graduate school statistics classes and she found a way to show the president that, less can be more, especially when it comes to building an inquiry pool that was going to lead to an increase in enrollment.
The client described above was one that fully embraced the ideals that make predictive modeling and geo-demography so fruitful for many. It makes me wonder why anyone would venture into Student Recruitment without good geo-demographic research leading the way.
Predictive Modeling allows you to build a better inquiry pool because you’re matching the inquiry to the university. A mistake that many make is that the student profile you’re going to be successful recruiting looks very different at different distances from the school. Students who enroll at your school in your tertiary drawing area (TDA) look very different from school who make up your primary drawing area (PDA) which is typically those 8-10 counties closest to your school. So don’t go to the middle of the country trying to find a student who looks like those on your urban campus living close by. Study what previous students who traveled from certain geographies looked like who enrolled in your school and go and find more students who appear similar. A better way to do this even is to have a profession analyst look at your data.
Recently I received pricing estimates from a name list provider for two different kinds of strategies to find students who possessed a certain kind of affinity. One way that I could proceed was to buy all the names for a school which accounted for a $174,000 expenditure. (Yes there are some schools that take the easy way out and buy all the names.) Another way included drilling down even more to where the list purchase cost $68,000 dollars. Yet another drilled into an area finding the exact students who were likely to matriculate to enrollment from that area with a certain interest for the small cost of $8,600.
Don’t think you can’t afford predictive modeling and geo-demographic research. You can’t afford not to use these techniques that provide rich data for the professional enrollment manager and allow you to win the trust of most college presidents who only trust the data.
If you’d like help with a free complimentary Geo-demographic analysis of your current enrolling class email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.