In March, a research colleague at Stamats, wrote an article about reasons to conduct a non-matric study. With that necessary background in hand, I now want to focus on the marketing, economic, and ethical importance of a non-matriculant study.
First, let’s look at a non-matric study from a marketing perspective. The fact, is, few studies have the ability to almost immediately transform a recruiting strategy. To help me make the case I need you to imagine two things.
A. Consider the kinds of questions that are routinely asked in a non-matric study:
- Who influenced the student?
- What communication channels do they trust?
- What information do they find most helpful or persuasive?
- What information was of low or no interest?
- What are their social media habits?
- When did they begin the search process?
- How do they compare your school with others?
- What role do their parents play in the college choice process?
- Did they visit? What did they value about the visit?
- How do these students compare your recruiting process with the school they ultimately chose to attend?
B. Imagine how these data can be used to almost immediately transform your overall recruiting communication strategy.
Specific, segmentable insights about messaging, channels, and timing can be quickly assimilated into your communications flow to prospective, inquiring, and admitted students. The rich data provided by a well-designed and executed non-matric study is almost impossible to over value.
This second reason for conducting a non-matric study is equally pragmatic. In an era when dollars are tight and expectations are high, anything you can do to help evaluate what’s working and what’s not is of high value.
This commitment to evaluation (we can call it mROI, or measuring return on investment) will increase stewardship and send an important signal that continued improvement and effectiveness are valued. Not coincidentally, a willingness to evaluate your efforts means that you are shifting the conversation from “marketing as a cost center” to “marketing as a “profit center.”
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When you can show the return on the marketing investment, you are in a much stronger position when it comes to defending or even expanding your budget. In doing so, you will stand in stark contrast to other campuses who cannot support their requests for dollars.
The third benefit of a non-matriculant study is a bit more ethical/philosophical. Earlier I mentioned how important it is to use non-matriculant data to help refine your message strategy. There is a flip side to that coin. Not only does it help you communicate better, it helps improve your prospective students understanding.
Better communication means your audiences can better articulate who you are and what you are all about. This helps them make more confident decisions about which schools to investigate and visit—and not. In turn, this also helps you make better decisions on your yield strategy.
I can’t think of a single study that offers such a clear and immediate return as does a non-matriculant. And, when you consider how it can influence your overall recruiting communication spend, the value becomes even more clear.
Interested in pursuing a non-matriculant study? Email Patrick Stark today.