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Swing for the Fences: How Innovative Marketing Analysis Hits a Home Run for the Education Industry

November 8, 2011 Digital Media Solutions

StatisticsWith the Major League Baseball World Series having just been completed, there’s been much discussion in the news and sports talk radio shows about the use of sabermetrics in the sport. Sabermetrics, which was highlighted in the recently released movie “Moneyball,” focuses on using underutilized baseball statistics to find players that have been overlooked by teams that prefer to use more conventional statistics and methods to evaluate players. Several teams, including the Texas Rangers (one of the World Series participants), have used this method of analysis with great success. What many don’t realize is that the same principles can be applied to increase the effectiveness of marketing and inquiry enrollment campaigns of schools in the proprietary education industry.

As a marketing data analyst, part of my job is to use innovative methods of analysis to help schools see which niches in a marketplace can be maximized, along with which characteristics their typical students seem to have and where those students can be found. We also help determine which distribution channels are most effective in reaching those prospective students as well. With that said, I’ve noticed for some time now the parallels that exist between what we try to help schools accomplish and what many of the “sabermetricians” are attempting to do: we both use undervalued and overlooked methods of analysis in an attempt to find value.

Some of the methods we use to assist schools include composing competitive analyses, geo-target analyses (mapping where a school’s student population comes from), and demographic reports, along with more innovative solutions such as segment profiles, which divides a school’s student population into multiple segments and then provides the specific demographics of each segment, and behavior profiles, which provide more clarity into the activities students engage in away from the classroom. Many of these methods have been used to help schools gain more insight into both the markets in which they reside in as well the characteristics their “typical” student tends to exhibit.

Let’s take a look at few real-world examples of the value this has provided our clients.

First, I want to focus on a school which was looking to expand the effectiveness of one of their programs but was unable to find the correct method to do so. Based on the geo-target analysis we put together for them, they were able to see pockets of areas in the NYC market where they were missing valid candidates. As a result, they expanded their zip code radius to include these areas and increase their volume and budget as a result. Also, the behavior profiles we composed of their student population aided the school in being able to better target their audience via the traditional marketing channels (TV, radio and outdoor).

A second example involved a school that was interested in potentially opening a campus in a new market. We were able to provide them with a demographic report which provided them with more insight into the general characteristics of the area, along with a Competitive Analysis detailing the number of competitive schools that existed in the market. Based on the information we provided, they ultimately decided not to open a campus location there.

Overall, we’ve been able to help several proprietary schools gain more insight into both their current and potential campus locations as well as have a better idea of the characteristics their students tend to exhibit. Similar to the use of sabermetrics in baseball, we’ve been able to use analytics to help schools make better decisions and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

About the Author

Digital Media Solutions

Founded by a team of lifelong athletes, Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. The company’s set of proprietary assets and capabilities in the world of performance marketing and marketing technology allow clients to meticulously target and acquire the right customers. DMS relentlessly pursues flawless execution for top brands within highly complex and competitive industries including mortgage, education, insurance, consumer brands, careers and automotive.

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