In our previous piece, we wrote about the layers of the education product and what students see as the Core Product of university or college. As we saw, this is not the course itself (which is the Actual Product), or the additional benefits that the institution gives (which is the Augmented Product), but rather that the education they receive will give them greater opportunities after graduation. However, we went on to note that although both universities and colleges tend to promote themselves as career institutions, quite often there is little that demonstrates the connectivity between their courses and where they might lead.
But if this is the case, how might education providers better make this link?
We have, to a certain extent, been providing a solution for this for the last few years through our web-based tool, Career Coach (see below for details). However, we believe that there is much more potential in our data, and so having built a foundation for connecting courses to careers, we now want to take this to a whole new level, or rather four new levels to be precise: Engage; Integrate; Campaign; and Plan. Let’s take a look at each of these in turn to see how they can help universities and colleges better promote their Core Product.
This is basically our current Career Coach solution, providing a portal for prospective and existing students to gain insight on occupation trends, salaries, and related jobs in their region. Crucially, this information can be linked to an institutions’ courses, enabling people to either search for a course and see which careers it might lead to, or to search for a career and see which courses qualify them for a particular job.
The tool is currently being used by numerous colleges, universities and local authorities throughout the UK for marketing, recruitment and CEIAG activities, and is particularly impactful for school liaison activity.
Any university or college that is keen to demonstrate their Core Product and the connection of their courses to where they lead will undoubtedly want to do so within their own platforms as well as external locations. Whereas the Career Coach portal mentioned above offers a branded standalone website that connects to the institutions’ website, providers might prefer a more integrated solution.
Through a range of widgets and API access, we are now able to offer just this: the ability to integrate the same data into the institution’s own digital platforms and tools, including website, progression resources and application sites. The beauty of this approach is that it gives providers exactly the same ability to promote their Core Product through linking courses to careers, but in a way that enhances their own platforms and tools and is consistent with their own branding.
Having a vast amount of insightful data, either through the portal or through widgets and APIs, is one thing, but the key to successful promotion of the Core Product is to get that information in front of prospective students and parents.
We have created bespoke campaign packages that include a mix of data and creative messaging, all tailored to the institution’s region, occupation groupings and timing requirements. From data pulls to external advertising widgets; from social media widgets to infographics; and plug-in medias to landing pages, the campaign solution provides a diverse range of tools that enable education providers to get the message of their Core Product out to potential students.
In addition to the engagement, integration, and campaign strands mentioned above, we are also offering a consulting service, whereby we will work alongside a partner university or college to help them gain maximum benefit from each of these three ideas. For example:
Engage: Drawing on our experience working with education providers throughout the country, we will provide a report that highlights liaison opportunities, and which gives suggestions as to how these engagement opportunities can be maximised.
Integrate: We will provide a technical audit of the university’s or college’s digital journey and their ability to use and integrate the API in their digital platform.
Campaign: We will work with the provider to create campaign strategies using a range of insight sources to deliver a framework that providers can implement. In addition, we can help clients access agencies who have experience using Labour Market Insight in external media purchases.
The Key to Successfully Marketing Your Core Product
With the introduction of tuition fees, the lifting of number caps on full-time undergraduates, the increase in online degrees, and the Government’s desire to massively increase apprenticeships, there is now far more competition amongst education providers than ever before. The dividing line between success and failure for a provider in this environment does not so much depend on better marketing of their Actual or Augmented Products, but rather on getting better at telling potential students about their Core Product – where the knowledge, skills and qualifications can take them after graduation. The solutions we have proposed are designed to do exactly this:
Through Career Coach Engage, education providers have a great way of linking their courses to careers and careers back to their courses.
Through Career Coach Integrate, institutions can seamlessly incorporate the same careers and regionally specific insight into their digital activities
Through Career Coach Campaign, providers can deliver creative content about their core products in external channels and locations.
And through Career Coach Plan, institutions have access to expert consulting to advise on ways to make the data and the channels even more effective.
As young people increasingly seek information about where the education they are considering can take them after graduation, these solutions provide a powerful marketing tool to any provider wanting to get this message out there to potential students.
To discuss how we can help your institution promote its Core Product to prospective students, contact Andy Durman at firstname.lastname@example.org (universities) or Doug Heckman at email@example.com (colleges).