How marketing data can help shape your program portfolio

State-of-the-art marketing practice is rapidly evolving. With the increasing number of available channels and technology solutions has come a seemingly infinite number of metrics that COE units can track and report to leadership or academic partners. While this data is useful, marketers and enrollment managers need to ensure that these stakeholders understand the information presented to them, and are able to take necessary action to improve program performance.

Further, every COE leader, regardless of organizational structure, must ensure that program leadership, marketing and recruiting, and enrollment management are formally collaborating to manage the health of the program portfolio—not simply signature or struggling programs—and maximize the impact of the budget dollars allocated across these teams.

Surfacing slow-growth, high-potential programs

The first step to maximizing COE unit performance and growth is to understand how programs across the portfolio perform against institutional benchmarks. Enrollment managers in Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies (CPS) developed an easy-to-use dashboard that ranks programs in the portfolio across an agreed-upon list of marketing, recruiting, and retention metrics.

Put it into practice: Program Performance Dashboard and Insight Sheet

Sorting across these key variables, the dean can quickly determine program performance. This conditionally formatted dashboard, available only to unit leadership, allows the dean and other leaders to see:

  • Programs that are both under and over-performing against current and historical institutional benchmarks
  • Internal benchmarks that guide future program performance assessments
  • Slow-growth or steady-state programs that could see increased enrollment with adequate investment

Transparent Program Comparisons Reveal Hidden Opportunities

Assessment Tool

Unit leaders, in partnership with enrollment management, reexamine the dashboard’s metrics every term and adjust them accordingly to reflect the unit’s priorities.

Pairing data and insights

While gathering insights from multiple sources and program stakeholders helps diagnose why a program may not be meeting enrollment expectations, translating these insights into concrete recommendations remains a challenge. At CPS, enrollment management leaders deliver quantitative program performance data, portfolio-wide benchmarks, and qualitative insights from marketing and frontline staff to program leadership in easy-to-consume, one-page insight sheets.

Synthesis of Quantitative and Qualitative Recommendations

Pairing data and insights

These insight sheets summarize information gathered from marketing, faculty, enrollment management, and frontline staff, and then offer concrete recommendations for each of those groups to contribute to improving program performance. COE leaders can gather additional information from employers, students, and frontline staff before summarizing and prioritizing recommendations and next steps with the insight sheet format illustrated above.

Learn more about navigating today's complex marketing landscape

In today's growth-focused and increasingly crowded market, COE leaders need to know how to articulate their own value through marketing. Download this slide excerpt from our webconference, Marketing Across the Program Lifecycle, to learn about four fundamental forces defining today's marketing landscape—and how to keep pace with them. Download the resource

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Marketing Across the Program Lifecycle

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