The right data used at the right time has the power to guide effective and wise decision making that can help institutions pre-empt student demand trends and engage with the right prospective students actively researching their higher education options. In this blog post, we’ll share practical ways in which institutions can use our newly launched IQ Demand Tracker Premium subscription service to drive strategic decision-making based on what prospective students are telling us.
We’ll consider how strategic, marketing and recruitment teams working within international departments at universities can apply the real-time data of Demand Tracker Premium.
The ten new dashboards of Demand Tracker Premium allow institutions to track trends in subject areas, sub-disciplines, and city/country demand in comparison to the UK (or global) market or to a set of five or more direct competitors. The tool helps institutions understand where to focus their marketing efforts, how to tailor their portfolios to reflect market needs and to consider demand trends 1-3 years before they happen.
Strategic teams can use the tool in a variety of ways, such as to identify portfolio gaps, to see where their institution may be losing market share to other institutions and to track how the UK is faring in comparison to other key English-speaking study destinations. On the Portfolio Gap dashboard, strategic teams can compare which courses are most popular for their institutions and then compare these to the most popular courses for the UK market as a whole and for their direct competitor set. Strategic teams can also explore course demand trends for all institutions globally.
These comparisons enable institutions to tailor and update their courses to align with overall market demand (UK or global), introduce new courses that may be in high demand for direct competitors or amplify the promotion of high-demand current courses to drive more interest. Strategic teams can also use the city/country compare dashboards to assess how they are faring in relation to all UK (or global) institutions and their direct competitor set. For example, their competitor set may be drawing a lot of attention from Lagos, which could prompt more active engagement in this city to drive recruitment.
Marketing teams can use the Demand Tracker Premium tool to guide their advertising campaigns with a focus on strategic targeting. The Subject Area dashboards provide in-depth insights into which subjects are most in demand for their institution, their competitor set and the UK (or global) market. Marketing teams will for example be able to track low demand for a subject area such as Business and Administrative Studies for their own institution, whilst noting much higher demand for the same subject area for its competitor set. This may steer the team to focus more on promoting Business and Administrative Studies to prospective students.
The overall market trends give marketing teams a sound indication of which subject areas are gaining market share among international prospective students and to respond by promoting subject areas/ sub-disciplines that align to those trends. Furthermore, the tool allows for analysis into subject trends over time to help marketing teams consider which subjects they may want to focus activity or budget on going forward.
Other key elements of the tool that can be used by marketing teams are the country/city compare dashboards. These enable marketing teams to drill right down to demand at city level in order to segment audiences and target advertising campaigns at a very granular level. Teams are also able to see in which source markets they may be underperforming in comparison to their competitor set and to act accordingly. The overall market data also indicate more general source market demand trends and can help guide where marketing teams should focus their attention.
Recruitment teams will find the tool helpful in a range of ways. The insights into subject area, sub-disciplines and country/ city demand can serve as a practical roadmap and guide to where and how they should focus their recruitment efforts. The country/ city compare dashboard can also be used to plan events in source markets where high demand has been identified whether for the market overall or the competitor set.
The Demand Tracker Premium tool can be used to inform, validate, and drive strategic decision-making across all teams involved in international recruitment and marketing. It offers a means of going beyond internal assumptions to truly understand and proactively respond to the needs and interests of international prospective students.
Interview with Dr Erik Lithander, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, about Brexit, the UK's position in a global playing field and how government policy impacts student demand.