We all have a limited amount of time and money to spend on achieving any objective, personal or business. So deciding where to invest our finite time and money becomes one of the most important drivers to successfully achieving your objectives.
Try to do too much, and spread your time and money too thinly, over too many activities, and none of them will gain critical mass versus your competitors with your target market, and you won't achieve your objectives. Spend your time and money on the wrong activities and you won't achieve your objectives.
When it comes to recruiting students there are literally a limitless combination of countries, cities, courses, agents and touchpoint combinations you could invest your limited time and money in to grow your student recruitment in 2020.
So how do you work out which combination to invest in?
We believe that by answering two questions you can focus your resources on the few activities that will make the biggest difference for your institution next year;
If you know which 5 country / course combinations to focus on in 2020 and unique reasons why a prospective student should prefer to study at your institution ahead of your competitors, for each of those country / course combinations you can quickly focus your limited time and money on relevant activities that will engage and influence the prospective students to choose you.
If it sounds too simple, there is to be fair, a bit of a catch to answering both questions properly to unlock the potential both questions offer.
Firstly where to play requires some real focus, selecting your top 20 courses and your top 10 markets creates 200 different country / course combinations to invest in to drive your growth, which would spread your resources far too thinly. That's not to say you can't offer those courses in those markets, but we are talking about where to invest resources to drive growth. Whether it is investing in lead generating advertising campaigns and events, relationship building agent visits and events, or conversion driving content and communication, if you try to invest in too many country / course combinations you will spread your resources too thinly and they won't cut-through in the highly competitive global higher education market.
Ruthless prioritisation is required to identify the few country / course combinations that will make the big difference for your institution in 2020. We suggest you consider evaluating the potential of a country / course combination against your ability to win in a highly competitive market;
This matrix will look different for each institution as it takes into account the unique strengths (and weaknesses) of each institution in ranking the country / course combinations. It also takes into account the unique differences of each country and what students from each country are looking to study and care about.
Investing in country / course combinations where you don't have the ability to win, won't deliver your growth targets, even if they offer you a high potential to grow.
Similarly, investing in country / course combinations where you have a high ability to win, but offer little growth potential won't deliver on your growth targets either.
The key is to identify those markets with a high growth potential (for your institution), combined with an established ability to win versus your competition.
It's a multi-variant analysis considering both quantitative and qualitative data which creates consideration of a broad range of issues by the participants.
As a data-driven structured analysis it enables stakeholders from across the institution to participate in the prioritisation and challenge the methodology with their own hypothesis to create alignment across the institution.
Once you have the assessed the potential to grow and ability to win of your country / course combinations you can agree on the shared priorities for the institution and move onto the second question "how to win". That's the subject of next week's email and part 2 of this blog. If you can't wait that long, please contact me directly, my details are below.
At MacMorgan we help institutions take 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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