Improving Your Enrollment Through Image Audits and Predictive Modeling: A Case Study
by Guest Blogger William Bullard, Founder, EdChanges.com
Ravenscroft, a leading Pre-K to 12 day school in Raleigh, NC, has maintained their enrollment numbers by hewing to a commitment to strategic marketing and effective use of technology.
Still, the school shared a common concern with many institutions in 2015: potential declines in crucial lower school enrollment, a key to long-term enrollment management success.
Enter Jason Ramsden, the Chief Information Officer of Ravenscroft, a rare combination of marketing and technology.
A former director of admission with strong technical abilities, he’s also currently the national board president of ATLIS (The Association of Technology Leaders in Independent Schools). Jason had been using his own spreadsheets and formulas for enrollment forecasting, which enabled him to map potential new bus stops for the school’s transportation program as well as to identify students considering leaving the school with greater accuracy.
However, with the direction from Ravenscroft’s Board to increase awareness of the school’s brand and mission -- as well as the need to attract qualified, full-pay, lower school families --Jason needed additional support.
Ravenscroft, and in turn Jason, found a kindred spirit in market research innovator Mike Connor of Connor Associates Strategic Services, based in California. Connor proposed deploying an external image audit to confidentially uncover consumer attitudes regarding their experience and impressions at stages in the enrollment cycle. This qualitative data was coupled with predictive analytics using big data to uncover prospective families fitting the profile of current Ravenscroft families.
The external research and predictive modeling helped with messaging the value of Ravenscroft and identifying qualified leads in markets the School wanted to intentionally and systematically cultivate. The work also gave the School a hot spot map to identify where qualified full-pay leads would be in 2020.
Connor used a combination of technologies to achieve this goal. He ran a subset of the school’s families though a leading big data provider specializing in neo and post-natal child research. Connor then matched against the psycho-demographic qualities of Ravenscroft’s current families, creating highly-targeted segments of prospects. Next was to geocode prospective families and overlay them with the School’s brand ambassadors, as well as the location of current inquiring and enrolled families. This pointed to primary market areas where the School should deploy direct mail and word of mouth campaigns to enroll more lower school full pay families.
By using predictive modeling for Ravenscroft families and using that criteria to find new leads, Connor offered Ravenscroft a powerful tool to find new families that would share the same values and attitudes that would be a good fit for Ravenscroft’s culture.
What’s next for Ravenscroft in their cutting-edge marketing strategies? Ramsden notes, “With some lower-hanging fruit behind us, we’re excited about creating highly relevant email and direct mail campaigns for prospects based on key psychographic data. We envision building three to five ‘personas’ and using targeted campaigns to communicate with very distinct messages,” noted Jason. Ravenscroft wants to balance the increased cost and complexity against the expected benefits of personalized marketing.
As for the relationship with Connor Associates, Jason states that, “We’re grateful to Mike for helping us address some critical needs using image audits and predictive analytics. One of the best aspects of our partnership is that Mike wants us to be independent, and learning to manage the tools myself is the first step in that process.”
William Bullard is the founder of EdChanges, a marketing services firm that offers schools, colleges, and universities a wide variety of strategic marketing services. firstname.lastname@example.org