• John Chatterton

Why the key to driving growth is tailoring your recruitment activity in each market

Short on time, here are the highlights;

  • Students from different cultures care about different issues when deciding where to study.

  • The strength and breadth of your institution's brand reputation (and your competitors) varies by market.

  • The strength of your agent relationships and market presence varies by market.

  • The most effective recruitment messages and activity will vary by market, to reflect the different cultural influences, institutional brand strengths and agent relationships of each market.


The unique history and culture of each country has impacted their attitudes and behaviour towards choosing where to study. The most effective recruitment messages and activity will vary by market, to reflect the different cultural influences, institutional brand strength and agent relationships in each market;


  • Students from different cultures care about different issues when deciding where to study.

  • The strength and breadth of your institution's brand reputation varies by market.

  • The strength of your agent relationships and market presence varies by market.

Understanding the key differences by market is critically important to increasing the impact of your international recruitment activity to drive growth;

For example; if you knew agents in Indonesia focussed on cost of living and were recommending your competitors ahead of you because your city was perceived as too expensive to live in, you could review your activity to refocus on communicating how Indonesian students afford a great lifestyle in your city and love living there (versus your competitor’s cities).


However; if you knew agents in India were focussed on post-graduation work opportunities and were recommending your competitors ahead of you because it’s easier to get work after they graduate, you could reassess your activity to demonstrate how you drive employment success for Indian students.


In the highly competitive higher education market where there are literally hundreds of quality choices for a prospective student, engaging students to choose your institution requires you to talk to them about the issues they care about the most. Communicating the wrong activity to the wrong market will reduce the impact of your campaign and allow your competitors to recruit more students in that market.


Improving the impact of your activity also requires you to view your messages in a competitive context, how do the students in your target market view your institution versus your competitors?

If you knew how Indian agents talked to prospective students about post-graduation work opportunities for your institution and your competitors. You would understand what you needed to say to create a stronger message than your competitors for a key issue that's important to the Indian market.


Out-performing your competitors to grow in a market requires activity that reflects the unique attitudes and behaviours of each market and your current competitive strengths and weaknesses to identify the few messages and activities that will make a big impact.


So before you reinvest in last year's activity again, it would be worthwhile to understand which activity would improve your agent recommendation in each market. That way you can identify which activities will improve your agent recommendation and with it your applications.


International Agent Mystery Shopping is the only international benchmarking research built to help you improve the impact of your international recruitment activity, by understanding what your agents in different markets discuss with your prospective students.


​Not only does International Agent Mystery Shopping enable you to benchmark agent recommendation for your institution versus your competitors. But it also helps you identify WHY your agents aren’t recommending you and what you can do about it, answering 5 key questions to help you develop more impactful activity;

  1. How does your level of agent recommendation vary by agent, country, and course?

  2. Is your proposition fully represented by your agents to prospective students?

  3. What are the key decision-making criteria agents talk to students about in each market?

  4. Why are other institutions being recommended by your agents ahead of your institution?

  5. How is your brand being represented by agents to prospective students versus your competitors?

Because when you know which issues the agents and students care about the most, how your institution is perceived and how supportive your agents are, you can identify which activities would engage agents and students in why you are a better choice than your competitors.

It's worth noting that it's not all about the 70% of agents recommending your competitors. When you can confirm which agents are the 30% recommending you ahead of your competitors you can invest confidently in building your relationship with them to drive further growth.


With global coverage, tailor-made questionnaires and a 6 week turnaround time, International Agent Mystery Shopping is the leading research tool to improve your engagement with your agent network, the ROI of your recruitment activity and your student experience.


At MacMorgan we help institutions drive growth by developing student-centered recruitment plans, tailored to each market. Please click here for more information.


Click here for the previous week's blogs.


John Chatterton

+61432 906 790

john@macmorgan.co

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