Right now your international recruitment and marketing teams are focussed on delivering 100’s of different activities to drive your 2020 international recruitment growth.
But more activity may not be the best way to drive your growth in 2020.
How do you know which of your current international recruitment activities are working, which aren’t, and most importantly which activities and messages are missing from your current plans, to help you grow in 2020?
With over 80% of international students applying through agents, they act as a critically important gatekeeper in the application process. However analysing your agent performance data only tells you WHAT happened, not WHY it happened, so when you see a decline in applications in a city, you don’t know why it occurred and if you don’t know why it occurred you don’t know what to do to fix it.
Asking your agents to explain their performance can be a challenging question and often doesn’t lead to a complete, unbiased answer.
To truly understand why your performance numbers are growing or declining, you need to understand WHY they changed the way they did;
Is your proposition fully understood and communicated by agents to prospects?
Is your proposition relevant to the issues the local market cares about the most?
Has competitor activity repositioned you in the market?
Are your agents recommending you ahead of your competitors?
By understanding how agents represent your institution versus your competitors in each market, you can identify the few activities that could drive your growth in 2020 by improving the level of agent recommendation..
If you knew that your agents in India were recommending your competitors ahead of you because; “it’s easier to get work after they graduate”. You could review your advertising, web, collateral, agent training and presentation activity to create compelling content that talks about how you deliver better employment opportunities than your competitors.
This change in focus would lead to focussed and productive conversations to strengthen the reputation of your institute in India and improve the level of agent recommendation to the prospective students for your institution.
We find that different markets often care more about different issues and that an institution’s reputation varies between markets, creating different opportunities for growth in each market.
If you knew agents in Malaysia were recommending your competitors ahead of you because; “your city was too expensive to live in”. You could review your activity to refocus on communicating how Malaysian students afford a great lifestyle in your city and love living there (over your competitor’s cities).
If you knew agents in China were recommending your competitors ahead of you because; “they are triple-crown accredited”. You could reassess your activity to strengthen your ranking messages versus your competitor.
Without knowing how your brand is represented by your agents to prospective students, you don’t have the evidence base to support changing your activities in each market in different ways to improve your results.
We recommend following a 3-steps process to drive your international student growth and diversity;
It’s not too late to gain these valuable insights into optimising your 2020 plan. We can turn around a research project in 6 weeks, ensuring you have the chance to review your 2020 plans when the team returns from their Xmas holidays.
At MacMorgan we help institutions develop a student centred approach to growth, if you'd like to find out more about our unique approach, please contact me.
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