GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency


GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency

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Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | August 30th, 2022

Video content: What’s the right mix for your digital advertising strategy?

Video content: What’s the right mix for your digital advertising strategy?So, you’ve thought about using video content in your school’s digital advertising strategy, but you’re not sure how to get started. What’s the right length? How can you use videos on social media? In a past article, we covered embracing the video advertising trend. Here we go into more detail on how to do it for your school.


Short-form video

A short-form video is ideally less than 90 seconds. The content is designed to quickly convey top-level points or address a question. It will include a call to action that is clear and drives your prospect to learn more, ultimately landing them in your CRM for future communications. You can use these for simple tasks like showing a facility, explaining a program track or introducing clubs or activities. You can also use willing faculty members to give a class synopsis or explain the benefits of a capstone project. Although 90 seconds may not seem like enough time, there’s a lot you can do visually to convey your message so you don’t have to talk quickly or condense your script. Another option for short-form videos is to break up an existing long-form video into 30-90 second snippets so you can utilize them separately within your digital advertising campaign.

Long-form video

A long-form video is ideally less than 5 minutes. The content is designed to provide a deep dive into a topic that needs more explaining. For example, you may choose to cover your MBA specializations, differentiate your Executive MBA tracks or create a tutorial on your admissions process. These videos may also provide space for you to roundup alumni success stories or provide a window into the type of students that attend your program. Regardless of the topic you choose, be sure to create visual interest by varying your backgrounds and infusing other digital media like photos or drone footage. Five minutes is a long time for viewers to dedicate so you want to be sure you are holding the attention of your prospective students.

Recorded events

In addition to creating strategic video content that aligns to your marketing pillars, you can richen your YouTube channel by adding recorded webinars with admissions staff, sample classes with faculty or program staff discussing frequently asked questions. Although you may not promote these videos via social channels or as part of your digital advertising, creating a library of useful tools can increase your credibility and serve as a resource for prospects.


If you’re thinking about getting started with video, or you need to expand your short- or long-form video offerings, here are some ideas to help you with the brainstorming process. Try either scripted or unscripted videos on the following topics.

  • General campus tours
  • Facilities tours done by students
  • FAQs based on top search terms for your school
  • Student/alumni success stories
  • Get to know the faculty/staff
  • About the program


  • Load all videos onto your YouTube channel with proper tagging so you can leverage SEO.
  • Categorize your channel by what your users are looking for, i.e. general school info like campus tours, program, faculty, student testimonials, success stories, etc.
  • Create a plan to disseminate your videos as part of your larger digital marketing strategy. For example, choose a topic to focus on each month and push out themed content across all social channels. Link to videos within your digital ads. Prominently place your videos on the website with corresponding topics so they are easily searchable and appear relevant.
  • Ensure your videos have a clear CTA that will drive prospects to take action.

If you need help determining how to use video content in your school’s digital advertising strategy, GPRS can help. We have worked with over 60 schools and have insights into program branding and how competitive schools are using digital advertising to position themselves in the market. Contact us today to start the conversation.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | August 10th, 2022

Highlighting career services in your marketing

Highlighting career services in your marketingThe recent GMAC corporate recruiters survey states that 92 percent of corporate recruiters and 95 percent of staffing firms expect to hire MBA graduates this year. What’s more, 87 percent of corporate recruiters say they are either confident or highly confident in business schools to prepare students for success in their organization.

This is great news for students, and even better news for business schools. With the market holding a place for them, they can be assured that their investment will pay off. But even though availability is high, the success of your students is based on them selecting the right match for them. Allowing them the opportunities to explore their options while in school and ultimately select a firm that is the right fit for them requires coaching and guidance. If your school offers career services, now is the time to highlight the process so it can help prospects understand how you’ll help them compete and forge their unique career path.

Employment and internship report

Consider pulling together data for the past 2-3 years that showcases the industries, firms and titles of students hired from your school. You can include metrics such as internship offers, job offers post-graduation, salary, firms, locations and job types. This gives a well-rounded view of the results of your program as it relates to the end goal – a job that will recoup their investment and pay dividends for the future.

Employer testimonials

If you work with loyal employers or recruiting firms that have routinely hired your students, consider asking them to give a testimonial. Hearing from an employer what types of attributes your graduates display will inspire and encourage prospects who are considering your program.

Alumni profiles

Utilizing alumni with impressive career successes can be one of the biggest sellers of your program. In past blogs, we’ve discussed using alumni profiles to tell your story. To highlight your career services, ensure that your story shows the guidance they received from your career coaches along their journey. Also be sure to showcase how well networking can work.

Career coaches

Hearing from the career coaches themselves can be important for prospects considering your program. To give your coaches a forum to communicate their approaches, you can try a blog on interview tips, a brochure outlining the process and even a dedicated portion of your website to outline how prospects can construct a career plan.

Career paths

While some students seek out business school with a defined career goal in mind, many are looking to create a new path. Perhaps your prospects like their industry but want to shift their functional role. Others may want to shift careers completely, or get promoted into a new area of their company. Career pathing is perhaps one of the most intriguing elements of business school as students find new interests and explore their strengths. Be sure that you are communicating how you will help guide them on their journey to give them confidence to select your school.

If you need help determining how to highlight your program’s strengths, like career services, in your marketing – GPRS can help. We have worked with over 150 programs and have insights into program branding and how competitive schools are using digital advertising to position themselves in the market. Contact us today to start the conversation.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | July 19th, 2022

Doing more with less

Doing more with lessAs marketing and admissions professionals have adapted over the past few years, it has become evident that we are all being asked to do more with less. This means being held to the same (or even higher) admissions standards, being responsible for filling the funnel with more qualified leads and reporting on all budgetary spending with an eye toward ROI. All the while, many departments are often operating with less staff and lower or flat budgets.

So how can schools do more with less while attracting high-caliber students to fill classes? Below we offer a few opportunities to streamline and maximize your time and budget.

Paid media, ads, and social

There are many forms of digital advertising that can be efficient ways to place your school’s message in front of your target. As you are considering the digital marketing campaign that will perform best for your school, it’s important to choose the right platform. This starts with identifying your audience – often through personas and then exploring the type of media they are consuming.

It can seem overwhelming if you haven’t launched or planned a campaign in a while so choosing to work with a seasoned digital agency can help you put an optimized plan in place. When you have experts working with you to create a solid digital strategy, it takes the guesswork out of the process and allows you to make decisions about where and when to spend your money.

At GPRS, our team of professionals can recommend a marketing campaign that can be optimized before and during your campaign so you can be sure that your funds are being allocated properly. If something isn’t working, we can adjust. And we can do this by tracking all of your media through our proprietary system GP Insights™. This ROI tracker can determine who saw your ad, the copy, and mediums that are most effective, and who became seated students after interacting with your ads.

Unpaid content creation and enhancement

When you are thinking about ways to do more with less, you may want to do some things within your department or internally at your school. Below are a few options for creating new or enhancing existing content — with the only cost being your time.

  • Blogs: Blogs are great tools to boost your website’s organic SEO and increase traffic based on key terms your students are searching for. Try enlisting an admissions director at your school, an eager faculty member, or even a student. Be sure they are trained on how to write optimized content and set them loose to post a cadence of blogs throughout the year.
  • Podcasts: Using any of the experts listed above and some basic recording software, you can create and publish podcasts on searchable topics that your prospects will engage with.
  • Website audit and optimization: While it is ideal to clean up your website before launching a digital campaign that drives prospects there, this is actually something your team can be doing year-round. You may also identify some ways to write keyword-rich content and optimize the user experience to make it easier to navigate.
  • Social media: If your school doesn’t have a set of institutional social accounts, it may be worth the time to set them up. They are free to activate and simple to create. The goal then is to develop a posting cadence and strategy for how you will communicate about your school. Be sure to coordinate with internal stakeholders who are already posting so you’re not duplicating efforts.

Need help?

If you need more tips on how to optimize your marketing spend, GPRS can help. Contact us today to start the conversation.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | June 30th, 2022

New and unique ways to market your program

New and unique ways to market your programAs you are beginning to plan for your next recruiting year, it’s likely that you’ll be evaluating data surrounding the tactics that worked — and those that didn’t. While it may be tempting to put your marketing plan on autopilot and use past strategies to bring in leads, it may be worth it to try new and unique ways to market your program — especially these days!

Below is a roundup of a few unique ways higher ed institutions can market their programs. You might even notice a few of your competitors using these to stand out in the market. Don’t hesitate to take the first step to innovate and test new ideas — you may even see a big payoff!

Adding podcasts to your digital asset mix — and how to leverage them

You don’t have the be intimidated by podcasts. In fact, creating them and leveraging them may be easier than you think. Giving your students multiple ways to connect with your brand can benefit your school. Podcasts can be crucial to your media mix because they are personal and emotional, easy and inexpensive to produce, evergreen, accessible and convenient, and unique and engaging. Once you’re ready to brave the waters and try something new with a podcast, here’s how to get started.

Embracing the digital video advertising trend for your school

Although video advertising can work for any company in any industry, it’s becoming imperative in the higher ed world because of the personal scale connection required for large buying decisions like a degree. Video ads are shorter and more succinct than the traditional 3-5 minute video you have on your website or YouTube channel about your program, the benefits of your school, or a testimonial from a professor or student. If your school is considering embracing the video ad trend, here are a few secrets to help you succeed.

Leveraging alumni stories to boost your digital strategy

Every graduate program claims to have rigorous academics, highly regarded faculty, and fantastic employment or advancement opportunities. How do you prove that your institution is worth the investment and that students can anticipate the success they’re seeking? This is where alumni stories come in. Your school’s brand identity is shaped by how you tell your story. Profiling alumni can be one of the most powerful forms of storytelling. Learn how you can use these stories and their content to boost your digital strategy.

Are the latest social platforms a fit for your school?

When you are using social media to complement your marketing and communications plan, a high viewership is almost always guaranteed. However, with any marketing tactic, the key is to make sure that your content is reaching the target demographic with the right message at the right time. You may have heard your peers in higher ed or your digital agency talking about advertising on Spotify, Pandora, Reddit, Pinterest or even TikTok. But how do you know which platforms are right for your school, and whether or not they will help you achieve your recruiting and enrollment goals? Read on for some tips about selecting the best social media for your goals.

Need help?

If you’re interested in learning more about how these and other tactics and strategies can fit into your school’s marketing and recruiting strategy, GPRS can help. Contact us today to start the conversation.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | June 16th, 2022

Making the case for specializations to prospective students

Making the case for specializations to prospective studentsSpecializations can make your program more attractive to prospective students, especially if they are positioned and explained well. The key is to not only focus on the features of your specializations but also the benefits for the students. In other words — your marketing needs to spell out the “why” for them because adding a specialization takes extra time and focus. Beyond a generalized MBA that will certainly give them a leg up on the competition and a springboard to career advancement, what can a specialization add to their toolkit?

Here we have a few ideas on positioning specializations to prospects to convey the value.

Focus on their career path

The value of an MBA is clear – students will emerge stronger business leaders with a broader business perspective and able to tackle complex issues. Where a specialization becomes valuable depends on the student’s intended career path. If a student has a defined focus in a certain industry (like tech), a specific functional area (like marketing), or has the desire to pursue a unique path (like international business), a specialization can enhance their marketability. It’s important to frame your specializations to match up with your prospects’ career desires. For those that are extremely driven and focused, specialization can be a huge selling point as it will allow them to dive deeper into their intended area of interest and position themselves amongst their peers.

Focus on what employers want

A commitment to a certain skillset or industry may be seen as invaluable to employers and may make job candidates even more desirable. In today’s economy, anything candidates can do to upskill shows ambition and commitment to go the extra mile. When you are marketing specializations to prospects, make sure you focus on why future employers will find their specialized skillsets valuable:

  • In some industries and roles, specialists are seen as more desirable than generalists
  • Employees with specializations are often seen as loyal and dedicated to their craft
  • A specialization may increase your propensity for being an innovative leader, especially if the professors who teach the courses are leaders in their fields
  • Some jobs require extra certifications for candidacy

Focus on the value of added certifications

If your specialization offers an additional certification, be sure to tie in the value prospects will gain with the additional credential. For example, some specializations offer training for and/or the ability to earn an additional certification in a selected career path:

  • Finance: Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Accounting: Certified Public Accountant (CPA); Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
  • Technology: Statistical Analysis System Certified (SAS)
  • Human Resources: Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI)
  • Marketing or Operations: Project Management Professional (PMP)

Additionally, if your healthcare specialization is taught by a policy leader or a top-ranked physician, or it includes in-person immersions, highlight those. If your HR specialization includes a certification from an organization that would otherwise cost an additional fee, be sure to include that in your messaging. If your strategy specialization includes working with a real client company to solve a business challenge, find ways to tell that story.

Many of these certifications are nationally and internationally recognized so adding them to a resume proves candidates have received in-depth training from top instructors in a certain field. In fact, some employers require specific certifications for certain roles — and having them can even boost salary.

Need help?

If you need help crafting a campaign around MBA specializations, GPRS can help. With over 20 years of experience working in the higher education industry, we are skilled at customizing your message for your unique audience to increase enrollment. Contact us today to start the conversation.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | May 31st, 2022

Reflecting on your prospects’ decision criteria

Reflecting on your prospects’ decision criteriaThe process your team uses to make decisions about marketing and recruiting involves some of the same steps your prospects use when considering a program. Thorough decision-making includes establishing goals and priorities, obtaining the information, and determining a return on your investment. Here we’ll examine decision criteria from your prospects’ perspective.

Goals and priorities

It’s important to reflect on your prospects’ objectives so you can determine what program attributes to prioritize in your messaging. One way of categorizing your messaging involves starting with the end goal in mind.

Goal: Quick career progression
Attributes: Expedited admission and enrollment decisions, speed to degree completion and immediate start dates

Goal: Expanding knowledge base
Attributes: Well-rounded curriculum, electives and specializations

Goal: Movement into leadership
Attributes: Leadership development program and faculty mentorship

Goal: Developing a network
Attributes: Diverse class profiles and distinguished alumni

Goal: Maintaining career momentum without disruption
Attributes: Program flexibility, course delivery options, waiving courses, and fewer credit hours

Return on investment

While many programs and schools focus on the value of the degree, it’s important to consider that cost does matter. Taking on a student loan or financing, regardless of what career stage your prospects are in can present a barrier. It’s important that your messaging not only focus on the ROI they will receive from the program — i.e. how soon they will recoup the cost through promotions and salary increases — but also on how you can help them shoulder the cost burden. Be sure to clearly state your tuition while outlining all of the financing and scholarship opportunities. Some schools also choose to provide guidance on obtaining employer sponsorship and how to convince your boss to invest in your education and future at the company.

Obtaining the information

Have you ever tried to make a decision with limited information? In business, this is often defined as “dealing with ambiguity.” While this is a skill your students will learn in the program, it’s not something you want them to encounter when selecting your program. As marketers and recruiters, it’s your job to deliver the whole picture so prospects can easily make decisions. You can do this with clear messaging on your website, detailed materials that outline and address their decision-making criteria, and open conversations with the recruiting team.

As you consider how to translate your prospects’ decision criteria into informative and helpful marketing communications, GPRS can help. With years of experience working in the higher education industry, we are skilled at customizing messages for your unique audience to increase enrollment. Contact us today to start the conversation.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | May 17th, 2022

Do you really know why students pick your program? Ask them.

Do you really know why students pick your program? Ask them.Your school’s marketing materials are made up of a carefully curated and balanced mix of messages that highlight your brand promise and program attributes. When your recruiting and marketing teams work together, they can create powerful messaging that connects with prospects on their journey and helps them make the decision to enroll in your program.

Once you’ve seated your class, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that your admissions process worked its magic. But before quickly moving on to recruiting for the next class, you may want to take one additional step with your brand new class. Ask why students pick your program.

Here’s why.

You might learn something new

Over the past couple of years, the higher ed industry has shifted dramatically. What prospects are seeking in a program has changed, along with their career aspirations and work and family situations. What used to be considered strengths of your program may not be anymore, and innovations you made to quickly adapt may now be the norm. It’s important to find out if your messages are still resonating with your prospect pool and if the perception of your school has changed. Start by going directly to the source — your current students!

You can use their insights in future marketing materials

When you are marketing your program, one of the most impactful strategies you can employ is helping prospects see themselves at your school. You can do this by presenting real stories of real students who chose your program. When prospects see their culture, background, aspirations, and even challenges represented in your materials, they are much more likely to feel included.

Regardless of how you collect the information — survey, email, informal interview, podcast, video, etc. — be sure to integrate as many real quotes from students in their own words for authenticity. You can use these insights on your website, in print materials, on social media, in videos, and in blogs to show diversity, inclusion, and a variety of stories.

You can build connections

The next time you’re talking with an undecided prospect, wouldn’t it be great to be able to connect them with a current student that faced the same struggles? The more you learn about your current students’ unique backgrounds and what factors went into making their decision to attend your program, the better you can match them up with prospects who need an extra boost of confidence. For example:

Is one of your prospects switching careers and wondering how your program can help in the transition? Connect them to a student that had those same questions and is currently making a shift.

Is another prospect a new mom who is wondering if this is the right time to start the program? Connect her to other parents who are navigating similar challenges.

Gleaning insights from your current students can help you shape (and reshape) your brand narrative, improve your marketing and recruiting strategy, and connect prospects to your program in an authentic way.

As you consider how to collect and utilize this invaluable information, GPRS can help. With years of experience working in the higher education industry, we are skilled at customizing your message for your unique audience to increase enrollment. Contact us today to start the conversation.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | April 29th, 2022

Cultivating personal connection in the recruiter outreach process

Cultivating personal connection in the recruiter outreach processYour recruiting and admissions process is a complex machine made up of several touchpoints. It’s designed to give you a full picture of your prospect — qualifications, culture fit, and potential for success. But it’s important to keep in mind that while you are gathering data on them — test scores, GPA, and references — your prospects are forming their opinions on your school throughout the recruiting process as well. Here we’ll examine how staff can use personal relationship building in different ways to pull prospects through the funnel.

It starts with a conversation

In a digital age where everyone is flooded with emails, texts, and a 24/7 news feed, your prospects are overloaded. While you may not think a phone call would be welcome, it’s possible that it’s just what you need to break through the clutter. You can begin by setting the expectations low and leading with a short script asking them something personal about themselves and seeing what questions they have. This takes the pressure off of them to have a carefully curated list of career goals and just opens the door to a personal connection in graduate recruiting. In your initial conversation, be sure to focus more on them — what they like and where they are in their journey versus what your program can do for them — that will come later.

Continue the momentum by following up

Although we just mentioned above that prospects are often digitally overloaded, it’s important to note that there is space for meaningful, authentic follow-up communications. Start with a personal email letting them know that you heard them and that they’ll be receiving some information from your program. This opens the door to engaging them in your automated CRM, but it also reassures them that they can reach out to you if they have any questions along the way.

Offer meaningful information

When your recruiting process involves active listening, you will be able to determine the barriers your prospects have — what motivates them, what’s holding them back, and what things they are curious about. When you have collected this valuable data, you can use it to customize your messaging and offer meaningful information that will help them make decisions.

  • Are they worried about the time commitment? Offer a conversation with an alum.
  • Are they concerned about the cost? Send them your latest ROI report.
  • Do they live out of state? Provide a video series about campus.
  • Do they want to experience the program and learn more about the curriculum? Invite them to an event.

Guide the process and answer their questions

Perhaps the most common mistake made by recruiting teams is to rely too heavily on a CRM to pull prospects through the funnel. Building multiple opportunities for human connection, remaining accessible, and following up with guidance can make all the difference. Sometimes even being available to answer a brief question over an online chat can help a prospect advance to the next step. Make sure to develop a personal connection in graduate recruiting.

If you’re looking for ways to integrate new recruitment strategies into your enrollment plan, GPRS can help. With years of experience working in the higher education industry, we are skilled at customizing your message for your unique audience to increase enrollment. Contact us today to start the conversation.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | April 13th, 2022

The secret to successful graduate program marketing

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” — Albert Einstein

The secret to successful graduate program marketingAs marketers of the higher ed industry, success is often what we focus on. Salaries, promotions, and title changes are king — and we often use them as the reported end goal to show what our students will “become” to entice them to attend our programs. But in marketing our programs, we must remember to strike a balance when composing our messaging and lead with how success is obtained — by adding value and contributing to important conversations in meaningful ways.

Why a degree?

There is an overwhelming amount of data showing that an advanced degree can advance your career. To understand what’s important to your prospective student though, it’s imperative to go beyond what title they are striving for and learn what’s behind their desire to pursue higher education. After all, it is a large investment of both time and money. Maybe they are in an industry that doesn’t suit them or come naturally to them. Maybe they have hit a ceiling with their current career path and need to expand their knowledge base. Or perhaps, they even have aspirations to be in the boardroom, but they need help articulating their points to add to the conversation.

To meet your prospects where they are in their journey, it’s important to dig into what they need to make it to the next step — and usually this can start with finding a way to add value in their current situation, or be seen in a different light. A degree program can set them on a path to achieving these goals. In addition, your prospects may be seeking professional fulfillment that adds value to their lives and makes them feel like they are making a difference. Therefore encouraging self-exploration in the context of business is key.

Here are some questions you can aim to address in your marketing messages based on your prospects’ personas:

  • Where are you on your career journey?
  • What does success look like in data: salary, title, promotion?
  • What does success look like in working relationships?
  • What do you want to gain from your career?
  • How do you want to be seen by your peers, team, and management?

Why a degree from your institution?

Once you’ve honed in on the motivations behind why your prospects are pursuing a degree, it will be easier to connect your program features to what they are seeking. You can start this process by defining your school’s unique selling points, showcasing the tools you’re offering, and then connecting them to a direct benefit for the student. For example:

How is your program unique from the competition?

  • How does the curriculum focus on both the quantitative and soft skills needed to be influential?
  • How can your program prepare your prospects to add value in a professional setting?
  • How can your program add value to your prospects’ lives and career paths?
  • What will your prospects gain beyond extra letters behind their name?

Connecting the dots

In a market saturated with competition, it is key to connect with your prospects on multiple levels that show you understand them, their goals, and motivations — and that you can help them enhance both their personal and professional lives. These steps are often the secret to successful graduate program marketing.

If you need ideas for uncovering industry insights, developing a competitive analysis, or creating meaningful marketing strategies, contact GPRS today. We can help you develop a plan to fit within your strategy and budget.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | March 29th, 2022

How well do you know your competition?

How well do you know your competition?You’ve identified your program features and benefits. You’ve defined your audience segments through personas. You’ve determined objectives and created ways to measure success. But how will you stack up with your prospect pool once your well-vetted marketing plan hits the market? Unless you’ve done your research, your competition could eat your lunch. So where do you start?

Perhaps one of the most critical (and overlooked) aspects of creating a marketing strategy is competitive analysis. Building this base layer can provide guideposts for developing messaging that will resonate with your target’s journey. Here are a few ways to determine who your competition is and some key areas to evaluate:

Regional competition

For every school, geography is a key consideration in building a marketing strategy. How far does your brand reach and how are you perceived in your market? How do you stack up locally, regionally, and nationally? How far are students willing to drive for an in-person program?

To evaluate your competitive set, begin with building concentric circles around your school.

  • Who’s in your backyard? Even if they may not seem like a direct competitor, the geographic location may make their program more viable for a prospect who’d prefer to stay local.
  • Who’s within a 2-hour drive? Take stock of programs beyond state lines. Local prospects may be willing to drive farther for a bigger name, stronger alumni network, lower cost, or flexibility.
  • Who’s online? In today’s higher ed space, everyone is competing with online programs. The recent proliferation of remote programs has forced innovation and provided more accessibility that did not exist previously.

Aspirational competition

An aspirational competitor is a school that you may share similarities with — in program offerings, benefits, regarded faculty — but there is little direct overlap in your pool of prospects. You aren’t directly competing with an aspirational competitor, regardless of whether they’re in your time zone or not, and they are often regarded as a market leader.

It’s important to include these schools in your competitive set because you can glean insights by evaluating their programmatic innovations, new content and marketing strategies. Even though your ideal student may not be applying to their programs, it’s true that market leaders often set the bar for expectations and outcomes, and it can benefit your school to be aware of their presence.

How to evaluate the competition

When building a competitive analysis, using the template below can give you a holistic view of the playing field.


This is where your prospects will be spending most of their time doing their research. The insights you gain in evaluating these pieces can help you position your program’s unique features and benefits. Begin building your competitive analysis matrix using these criteria for a well-rounded evaluation:

  • Credit hours
  • Curriculum focus
  • Program length
  • Tuition
  • Specializations
  • International component
  • Faculty


While every school’s admissions process is different, it’s important to understand when the competition is hosting events in your market, how often they are pulling students from your pool and how they are reaching out to prospects. You can also see what types of events they are hosting so you can modify your event strategy. Most of this information can be found directly on your competitor’s website:


Reviewing a competitor’s marketing may take some extra effort. Beyond scouring their website, you may not be able to see their geo-targeted digital advertising if you’re not in their market. Doing a bit of sleuthing can benefit your marketing team. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Email communication – try signing up as a ghost student to gain VIP access to their CRM system
  • Social – Subscribe to competitors’ channels to monitor campaigns and messaging
  • Content – Take note of videos, podcasts, blog posts, and other unique content types

Competitive benchmarking

If you need help evaluating your competition, GPRS can assist. We have worked with over 150 programs nationally and can offer you insights and information that can help you enhance your marketing planning process.

Let’s start the conversation today.



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For over two decades, GPRS has been a trusted higher education marketing agency, offering custom solutions to institutions of all sizes and degree types. Admissions directors, marketing directors, deans, and presidents rely on GPRS to provide a depth of services, including strategy, lead generation, digital marketing, nurture communications, recruiting, and analytics.

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