Market Research
Well-versed in the most sophisticated research tools, SimpsonScarborough customizes a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods to explore your unique institutional challenges. On the qualitative side, we use tools such as online and in-person focus groups, in-depth interviews (IDIs) and online bulletin boards to gauge perceptions and attitudes, understand emotional drivers and find common uses of language.

Our emphasis on quantitative analysis makes us unique among firms that specialize in brand strategy development for higher education. We use advanced research techniques such as multivariate analysis, segmentation analysis and discrete-choice modeling (DCM) exercises that mimic real-life “buying” scenarios. Surveys are conducted using telephone (CATI) and online data collection methods as appropriate.

Strategy Development
Our firm’s belief is that the best strategies are market-informed, developed from research and vetted in a collaborative process that brings your campus leadership and community to a common understanding. After our research work is completed, we combine the information gathered into detailed strategic recommendations that have the ability to profoundly affect an institution’s marketing and operational strategies.

Typical projects cover all areas of the institution, including marketing and communications, pricing, program development, alumni engagement, fundraising, image and identity and recruitment and admissions. We develop positioning statements that determine the most distinctive attributes, program or personality trait that differentiates an institution from its competitors and motivates prospective students to enroll, alumni to donate and community leaders to support an institution. We also create BrandPrints™ that document the brand strategy and guide an institution’s marketing activity and creative development.

Creative Services and Marketing Planning
With a foundation built through research-driven insights and a collaborative approach to your brand strategy, SimpsonScarborough also offers an integrated approach to creative services and marketing planning. Our focus and process allows ensures our clients have confidence in the creative decisions and strategies developed and brought to life.

Our team has experience and expertise in developing brand identity, advertising, experience design, content strategy and creation (digital, social media, video production.) And we help our clients in determining the best tactics and timing, developing competitor analysis, audience segments and journeys, targeted messaging strategies, paid media and advertising plans, and multi-year budget and plans.

Drawing on our experience working with more than 1,000 colleges and universities, we conduct assessments of an institution’s operational and marketing activities and provide recommendations for aligning them with strategic goals. We offer four types of assessments:

  • Communications Assessments to identify areas of strength and weakness in communication efforts and suggest new or innovative strategies to implement
  • Marketing Operations Assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of marketing activities, organizational structure, and campus-wide integration
  • Recruitment/Enrollment Assessments to identify top-producing recruitment activities, suggest new tactics for improving enrollment, and evaluate departmental organization
  • Web Assessments to evaluate how well a site communicates the institutional brand, positions the institution against competitors, and provides expected ease of navigation for users

  • Testimonials

    "SimpsonScarborough's work has been the foundation for our rebranding effort; it has helped us shape an identity that is based on our history but focused on our aspirations to excel to greater heights."

    Hallie Sammartino, Vice President for Marketing and Communications
    St. John's University

    "SimpsonScarborough's presentation to our board on integrated marketing was the very best session I have ever seen by a consultant working with our University or any other university which I have served."

    Walter Harrison, President
    University of Hartford