July 21, 2024

Teaching Universities to find the right students

A new insight-driven marketing agency, specialising in supporting and working with HE and FE institutions, has launched with an innovative and first to market student persona system – Class of 2020.

Unicom – with head office in Swansea – has bases in Bristol, Dublin and Leeds brings together experts in research, strategy, data, web, and media to offer tech-inspired solutions to enable universities to identify, connect and drive their student recruitment and engagement.

Jess Hickman, Managing Director, Unicom, said: “The education marketplace has become increasingly complex and competitive. Luckily, we have the experience to overcome these challenges. As HE performance marketing specialists, universities come to us when they need to grow their student numbers with a data led, insight driven approach.

Unicom’s talent is drawn from a collective of agencies – each a specialist in their field. Ponderosa is a brand-led digital agency, Spark is a research specialist, Keel Over (PPC and SEO specialists) and Crunch – digital media experts.

Jess explained: “We’re a team of over 100 experts focused on delivering results. We are advisors, digital thought leaders and innovators. At Unicom, we’re not just an agency supplier. We become our clients’ trusted partners and an extension of their team.”

Unicom’s Persona system – Class of 2020 – is the agency’s key tool in helping universities understand and target the right students.

To develop Class of 2020, Unicom took a robust approach to research   interviewing over 1000 students with a mix of quantitative surveys to capture data rich trends and insights, combined with qualitative interviews to give context and depth to the understanding.

The research conducted ensured that a representative sample of current university and A-Level students were captured. This included nationality, ethnicity and POLAR classifications.

Jess added: “The research uncovered a wealth of insight which we can tailor and use to help our clients. From what drives different students to how and why they make decisions and geographically where they are most likely to choose to study.

“For example” said Jess: “70% of students said they are looking for a holistic university experience. The course and learning facilities are important, but they’re only one factor amongst many. We need to look beyond academic excellence and rankings. We need to allow students to get a feel for a university experience to inform their decision making.

“Students are focused on their long-term goals with 83% of students using higher education as a springboard to a well-paid job and university is seen as an investment towards this.

“Showcasing employability is central to a university’s  marketing activity. Despite moving online, open days are also still critical to the university decision making process with over 69% of students saying that that open days are influential on their decision.”

“There are six personas that are key to understanding students, their decision-making process and what makes their ideal studying environment.

“The personalities range from Studious Sophie to Easy-going Eric. Each persona has a set of behaviours and drivers. We work with our clients to understand the perfect mix of students for their institution, and then, using the personas develop a plan of how to reach and engage with that mix.”