WhatUni Insights Day Reflections


25 Apr 2018

WhatUni Insights Day Reflections

One of our roles as a higher education marketing agency is to help our university clients to keep up-to-date with the latest media and advertising trends, sector news and general marketing know-how.  But we also make sure we invest in our own team’s knowledge and training - keeping a close eye on the sector news helps us to bring a useful external perspective to conversations with our clients as well as informing our media planning and delivery.

So we joined the WhatUni Insight Day at the Barbican last week (19th April) with interest.  And here are 3 key points we took away:

  1. “There is evidence that some demographic groups of applicants are deterred from applying to universities with a Gold TEF award”.

The basic premise is that some widening participation applicants have lower ambitions than others and believe they wouldn’t fit into an institution with the highest TEF rating.  This should alarm all of us working in the sector.  But having this insight means that those universities can at least address the issue; by explaining what their TEF award means and sharing content that shows how everyone is welcome, no matter their background.

  1. “What you can charge for tuition fees is heavily regulated, but what universities need to offer, or deliver for that fee, is not”

Tuition fees might be almost standard across the sector now, but there are significant differences in the student experience at different universities.  So those that can articulate how those fees are invested into the teaching and learning experience can use this to differentiate themselves. Lots of universities will talk about student experience in their marketing; but the opportunity here is to offer evidence and facts about investment and the subsequent impact on students.

  1. “Students aren’t customers, but clients”

The debate about the appropriate terminology to describe students has been around for some time. Whilst there is now more widespread acceptance of the idea they are ‘customers’, the gym membership analogy is interesting. The premise is that the users of the gym pay a fee, but the outcomes from that membership (i.e. fitness) depends on both parties; the gym has to provide the suitable equipment and trainers and the user has to put in the hard work.  It’s a joint collaboration which seems to apply to a student at university too; hence the more apt description of ‘client’, rather than ‘customer.  

Would you like more insights, or even a conversation about how you could become our ‘client’? Call Rachel Killian on 07718 130798 or email rachel.killian@penna.com

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