New! Market Research that Reveals the Thinking of Your School’s Best Prospects

By Dr. Harry Bloom

For school leaders seeking to optimally position their school, and the marketing and enrollment management professionals who support them, there is no more important information than what is on the minds of their prime prospective families.

Imagine knowing with certainty—not anecdotes—what your most promising prospects:

  1. value most relative to school choice
  2. think about your school’s relative performance compared to that of competing public and private schools
  3. think about your tuition level and value provided tuition

Access to this information about your school’s best prospects can put growth within reach for any audience you choose to target, including students from low- or high-income families, students of varying races or ethnicities, or public-school families.

What Makes it Possible? New Research Capabilities

Information to identify your school’s prime prospects

Research tools to know with certainty what they value, how they perceive your relative performance, what they will pay

Closed loop measurement systems to ensure focused messaging and marketing are being effective

Until recently, having access to this knowledge was simply out of reach for most schools since it involved engaging in large scale market research with attendant mega costs. Previously, schools were forced to assume that what was true for current families was true for the prospective family of the future. What has changed this picture dramatically is the new ability to utilize advanced demographic and lifestyle factor analysis and sophisticated analytics to cost effectively identify and conduct research among the individuals comprising a school’s most valued prospects– using Measuring Success’ proprietary Lookalike Analysis Modeling

This sets the stage for implementing research surveys that tell school leaders exactly what they need to know to succeed in attracting prime prospects. And, equally importantly, for measuring whether their school is “moving the needle” with its marketing efforts in shifting awareness and attitudes in their school’s favor. It also provides an invaluable marketing prospect list along with available contact information!

Examples from the Field

Measuring Success has successfully implemented its program combining prime prospect identification plus market research with independent schools located throughout the United States. Here are some of the key outputs from this work.

What Factors Most Influence Perceived Value?

Our research indicates there are market-specific differences in the most important school choice determinants. It is vital that schools understand these differences in order for them to appropriately document and communicate their relevant strengths.

Percentage of Prime Prospects Ranking Factor as “Most Important”

Most Important School
Choice Factor
Market 1 Prime
Market 2 Prime
Market 3 Prime
Reputation for enabling
collegiate and career
Focuses on teaching
good values and
Employs teaching
methods that adapt to
individual student needs

Pricing and Relative Perceived Value

Moreover, the research provides schools with key insights about how their best enrollment prospects perceive their relative tuition levels and the value they offer relative to their tuition, in comparison to private and public-school competitors. Thus, in the case of School A, whose results are profiled below, a relatively high percentage of its Lookalike prospective families do not know enough about its relative tuition or value to assess it. Furthermore, among those who do have an opinion there is ample need to strengthen perceptions of School A’s relative value for tuition.

Do Not
The relative value for tuition that School
A provides, compared to other private
schools, is…
The relative value for tuition that School
A provides, compared to public schools,

Unpacking Drivers of Perceived Value

The research among prime prospects can provide even more detailed guidance about how to strengthen relative perceived value by defining a school’s perceived strength on the underlying factors determining it. Thus, as can be seen below, high potential prospective families are very mixed in terms of their perceptions of School A’s strength on the key school choice attributes. In fact, negative or neutral perceptions balance or even overshadow positive ones. Additionally, a third or more of high potential prospective families simply lack the information about School A’s performance to be able to seriously consider it.

Percentage of High Potential Prospects for Each School

Most Important School
Choice Factor
School A
Positive Ratings
School A
Negative or
Neutral Ratings
School A “Do
Not Know”
Prepares Graduates to
Succeed Academically
Provides Access to Elite
Employs teaching methods
that adapt to individual
student needs
Character Development

While School A has its work cut out for it, it has clear research-guided direction relative to the areas for which it needs to document strong outcomes and for its communication theme priorities. Moreover, because it has a Lookalike prospect list, it has the potential to periodically research its progress among its prime prospects in shifting perceptions from negativity/neutrality/unknown to positivity.

Summary of the Opportunity

With the advent of Measuring Success’ Lookalike Analysis Modeling which enables a school to thoroughly characterize its families and identify its prime prospective future families, market research can unlock the hitherto unknown mind of a school’s high potential future prospective families. Schools are able to accurately determine what their relative perceived value relative to tuition is and, as importantly, unlock the factors determining that perceived value. This enables proactive schools to document their strengths more effectively and comprehensively, communicate that effectiveness to prime prospects, and measure perception progress along the way.

For many schools, these capabilities can directly inform strategic plans, positioning, marketing, and enrollment management.

Measuring Success would be delighted to explore with you how we can partner with your school in clarifying its pathway to prospective consumer knowledge and enrollment growth. Please contact Dr. Harry Bloom at or at 202-524-1532

About Dr. Harry Bloom

Dr. Harry Bloom is the Senior Vice President, Client Solutions, at Measuring Success. In his independent schoolwork, Dr. Bloom has developed and implemented a number of marquee programs, including the Atidenu Recruitment and Retention program, the Recruitment and Retention Academy, the Governance & Fundraising Academy and a plan for Financial Benchmarking and Financial Reengineering. These programs have helped well over 100 independent schools enhance revenue, increase efficiency,andstrengthen their sustainability. Dr. Bloom has been a featured presenter at conferences for the National Business Officers Association, the Independent School Association of the Central States, the New York State Association of Independent Schools, and the California Business Officers Association.