New Program Development Should Start with Analysis of Recent Trends

In recent years, SimpsonScarborough has conducted numerous studies designed to measure the demand for potential new programs, and the strong performance of master’s degree programs in analytics at NCSU and Northwestern showcases exactly why program demand research should start with an understanding of recent trends. Let’s assume, for example, that your institution is considering building a master’s program in sustainability, a master’s in social work or a bachelor’s in apparel and textiles. Where do you start? Combing through IPEDS data (which is probably readily available to you through your institutional research department) can show you how many degrees have been awarded in each of these three disciplines and how that number has changed in recent years. The prevailing wisdom is that you would be better off to invest in a program that is large and/or growing than one that is small and/or dying. So how do these three potential programs stack up?

  • Master’s in Sustainability Studies: very small number of degrees awarded in the U.S. in 2012, but the number of degrees awarded has increased by 246% since 2007—it’s a small niche, but one that is growing very rapidly.
  • Master’s in Social Work: very large number of degrees awarded in the U.S. in 2012, with a 25% increase since 2007—clearly, there is huge demand for this program, and it is showing solid growth.
  • Bachelor’s in Apparel and Textiles: very small number of degrees awarded is in 2012, with a 20% decline since 2007—a clear indicator that the two programs above have greater potential.

Of course, final decisions regarding development of new programs must also take other factors into consideration. What is the cost to develop and run the program? Does it fit with the institutional image, values and strategic plan? Do you have faculty who can teach the program? Will you be able to recruit new faculty? And so on. But analysis of recent trends using IPEDs data is a great way to identify whether or not a new program under consideration by your institution is even worth studying further.

CASE Resources for Higher Ed Marketers

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) offers the following resources for Higher Ed Marketers:

Conferences and Training in 2014

Track sessions at CASE-NAIS, district conferences, Congreso, APAC, CEAC and Summit, as well as conferences and workshops for communications and marketing:

  • Jan. 8-10: Annual Conference for Media Relations Professionals, Washington D.C.
  • Jan. 23, 2014: Directors Debate 2014, London
  • Feb. 13: Alumni Relations in Times of Crisis, online
  • Feb 18: #EdNews: Making Twitter Work for Small Shops, online (Community Colleges)
  • Feb. 19: Media Training Workshop, Naples
  • Feb. 24: Writing for Fundraisers to Achieve Impact and Outcomes, Singapore
  • Feb. 26: Writing for Fundraisers to Achieve Impact and Outcomes, Melbourne
  • Feb. 27: Refresh and Relaunch Your Institutional Brand, Online
  • March 12-14: Multimedia Workshop, Washington D.C.
  • March 19-21: Social Media and Community, Marina del Rey
  • March 20: Best Practices for Online Advertising, Online
  • March 25-26: Engaging Community College Alumni: A Virtual Conference, Online
  • April 2-4: Editors Forum, New Orleans
  • April 15: Constructing a Student-Focused Community College Website, Online
  • April 24: Do-It-Yourself Market Research and Data Analysis, Online
  • April 30-May 2: Annual Conference on Marketing and Branding, Baltimore
  • May 15: Balancing Academic and Athletic Brands
  • June: Advertising & Media-Buying Workshop (also Marketing)
  • July: Summer Institute in Communications & Marketing

CASE Books

There are currently 14 books under Marketing in the CASE Store, with books on branding, assessment and benchmarking, student recruitment and information, and online recruitment. There are also 18 books in the store under the Communications category, with books on assessment and benchmarking, communications plans, communities and social media, crisis management, media relations, online and electronic communications, public relations, site design, web writing, writing and editing, government relations, internal communications, media training and site management. Available titles include:

  • Advancing Small Colleges: Strategies for Success
  • Archive of Re-imagining Your Brand Manual
  • Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas
  • Caffeine for the Creative Mind: 250 Exercises to Wake Up Your Brain
  • Archive of Changing Demographics & How This Affects Your Business, Today & Tomorrow
  • Competing for Students, Money and Reputation: Marketing the Academy in the 21st Century
  • Archive of Creating and Sustaining a University-Wide Integrated Marketing Culture
  • Archive of Growing Brand and Enrollment through Social Media: Tips for Community Colleges
  • Handbook of Institutional Advancement
  • Archive of Higher Ed Marketing Metrics
  • Independent School Advancement Series: Student Recruitment
  • Integrating Marketing Communication: A Practical Guide to Developing Comprehensive Communication Strategies
  • Integrated Marketing Workbook for Colleges and Universities
  • Archive of Introduction to Communications and Marketing
  • Marketing Colleges and Universities: A Services Approach
  • Archive of Measurement Matters: Tracking the Productivity of Your Marketing Effort
  • NAIS Handbook on Marketing Independent Schools
  • Net Proceeds: Increased Revenue from Enrollment and Advancement—Guaranteed!
  • New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly
  • The Real U: Building Brands that Resonate with Students, Faculty, Staff and Donors
  • University Marketing Mistakes: 50 Pitfalls to Avoid
  • Weathering the Storm: Protecting Your Brand in the Worst of Times

CURRENTS Articles (Selected)

More CURRENTS and BriefCASE articles can be found in Browse by Professional Interest under Marketing.

Other Products

Communities and Social Media

THE Releases World Reputation Rankings 2014

The Times Higher Education last month released its 2014 Word Reputation Rankings, with Harvard in the top spot, as it has been every year since the rankings were first released in 2011. In fact, the remainder of the top six institutions—MIT, Stanford, the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, and UC Berkeley—have also topped the list each year since its inception, with some jockeying for position from year to year.

At its essence, the list is truly a brand ranking, based solely on opinion-based data gathered from a survey of published academics, who are asked to name top teaching and research institutions in their disciplines. While paired with other objective indicators of THE’s annual World University Rankings, the reputation data are isolated and released separately each year in to provide a measure of an institutional esteem. That the same six institutions have topped the list each year is therefore not surprising—as Philip Altbach, director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, points out in THE’s analysis of the findings, “reputations take time to build up and generally stick unless there is some kind of crisis.”

But if purely subjective, why do these perceptions matter? “Such opinion,” argues THE, is increasingly important and has real-word consequences” in today’s higher ed market. Reputation scores provide a measure of visibility, and visibility helps institutions attract top talent (students and faculty), funding, and philanthropic giving.

Quick Takes

What does a generic brand video look like? Like this one by Dissolve Footage—a must see for any higher ed marketer.

What’s the value of having Obama as a commencement speaker? Hear Jeff Papa’s take in this Marketplace interview for NPR.

Snapchat—it’s not just for sexting anymore: Snapchat Grows Up: How College Official Are Using the App.

CMO Impact Study Findings Are Now Out

Last September, we told you about Kimberly Whilter‘s CMO Impact Study, meant to measure the impact CMOs have on a firm’s performance, in part because previous studies have shown that while CMOs think they are doing a good job, more than three quarters of CEOs were disappointed with their performance.

Whitler’s study included 814 surveys of marketing executives and interviews with 150 subject matter experts, including several higher ed CMOs and leaders (SimpsonScarborough partners Elizabeth Scarborough and Jason Simon also participated in framing the higher ed industry challenges). The results are now out, summarized in CMO Impact Study: Yes CMOs Drive Business Value at CMO.com. Among the key findings: 1) CMOs have the most impact when they are given more ownership, have more responsibility for a wider array of marketing activities, and are involved in corporate strategy decisions, and 2) Marketers have the best chance to be effective at companies that are customer-centric.

Want to learn more? Look for Whitler at the AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education in November, where she’ll be spending time with higher ed CMOs in the CMO Salon.