Limelight Insights has extensive experience in education market research and is proud to have worked with some of the nation’s top-ranked educational institutions. As competition grows among private schools and colleges and universities, educational institutions must use market research to effectively compete for high-achieving, academic and athletic students that will attract attention and, as importantly, attract funding from private sources and foundations.

Past research studies have targeted the following education segments:

  • Students and potential students of all grade levels (K-12, college, graduate, professional)
  • Parents
  • Educators at all grade levels
  • Education administrators including principals and university Provosts, Vice Presidents, and Presidents
  • Guidance counselors
  • Education analysts and consultants
  • Alumni – at the K-12 and collegiate levels
  • Employers
  • Consumers/general public
  • Influencer groups and opinion leaders (legislators, legislative staff, journalists/publishers, education association/foundation executives)
  • Educational non-profit internal audiences (members, stewards, volunteers and employees)

Our consultants have an outstanding reputation for conducting a wide variety of market research for education clients, and we have a large education research division. Past higher education research studies include:

  • Brand awareness, satisfaction, image, and positioning research
  • Increasing enrollment
  • Target market profile and segmentation studies of prospective students/parents
  • Research to help design the dorm of the future
  • Alumni/donor development and retention studies
  • Academic program development including core and online curriculum development
  • Studies to develop risk management programs and training courses

Limelight Insights Knows
Education Market Research

For years, Limelight Insights has developed studies to address recruitment, value-added services, curriculum, and fundraising needs. Reliable data and actionable conclusions have allowed our education clients to minimize risk, and, at the same time, determine new ways of raising the bar competitively.

Case Study:
Branding and Donor Research with Alumni

Limelight Insights conducted a multi-phase study for a liberal arts college that utilized qualitative and quantitative methodologies to target both external and internal audiences. The primary aim of this study was to support and inform a branding initiative for the university. However, one of the underlying goals was to assess alumni attitudes toward the college.

Via an extensive quantitative survey with alumni across the last five decades, we were able to determine the current attitudes of alumni toward the college. Additionally Limelight Insights identified specific factors that motivate alumni to contribute to the college and areas of opportunity for the university to focus marketing and communications efforts on that would likely generate further contributions and continued alumni engagement with the school.

Results of this research impacted the university’s branding initiative and marketing and communications strategies as well as their long-term relationship with their alumni audience.

A large part of our business is answering critical questions
and providing actionable insights that can inform a business’ or organization’s direction.

Here are some of the questions Limelight Insights has helped education clients answer:

How do we attract the types of students we want?

Limelight Insights begins to answer this question by first determining the school’s current image. We use a combination of qualitative and quantitative interviews with school counselors, students, applicants, and parents in making this assessment. Analysis of results defines the school’s competitive position and profiles its ideal applicant pool.

The results are then used to develop optimal strategic positions and marketing or recruitment messages. We test these qualitatively with target audiences for accuracy of message execution, interest, and believability.

Our two-phase approach has helped many educational institutions redefine themselves, provide communications to surround a branding or repositioning change, and successfully pursue a broader pool of applicants. Follow-up testing then monitors how perceptions have changed over time in keeping with the direction of the new positioning strategy.

How should remote learning programs be structured in order to optimize participation rates?

Online learning has become the new normal. Limelight Insights is highly experienced in helping schools, colleges, and universities navigate a path to success in online course delivery formats. We can assess demand for new course offerings and educational delivery systems, determine which subjects have the greatest appeal, determine acceptable time and location parameters (i.e., fully online, asynchronous, synchronous, etc.), the optimal mix of learning methods and vehicles, and the appropriate use of technology. This method has been used to help refine online programs and assess demand for self-paced hybrid courses using a combination of in-class and remote instruction.

What is the most effective way to keep alumni involved?

Limelight Insights has segmented and tested a range of communication approaches with K-12 and university alumni. We’ve counseled our clients on contributor motivators, emotional drivers, and evaluation of creative executions of communication materials that alumni will actually engage with. Our experienced moderators evaluate different strategies and executions to determine what alumni want/need, what currently keeps them from engaging/donating, what would motivate them to do so more often, and what key message strategy would be most effective in reaching them.

What should the priority be for our school district?

Using online surveys with students, parents, teachers, administrators, general taxpayers, and community leaders, Limelight Insights has its finger on the pulse of school districts in terms of satisfaction with current procedures and reactions to possible new directions. In a survey, we may ask these groups to prioritize the importance of various issues and indicate its level of support for possible changes in policy. A survey like this would be conducted prior to any new action and repeated periodically to assess satisfaction with changes made and attitudes toward future plans.

This process has been applied on a large scale (thousands of surveys) to gain community support for a new agenda, especially when a new superintendent or school board head is hired or elected. It is also an effective means of determining the perceived value of educational policies and to identify which segments require outreach to get their buy-in on the new direction.

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