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

    "Developing the Purdue identity strategy has taken a long time, but we have done it right. Our leadership is beyond thrilled.  Thank you to SimpsonScarborough for building an excellent foundation in research for us!"

    Teri Thompson, Vice President of Marketing and Media
    Purdue University

    "The suggestions SimpsonScarborough made as a result of their research are clear and actionable. Working with them was very easy; they did most of the heavy lifting with the planning and our data."

    Ken Huus, Dean of Admissions
    Sweet Briar College