Emsi Case Study (See Full Archive)
Through strategic use of labor market information, Franklin University has successfully boosted their program planning and marketing efforts. Using Analyst, Emsi’s labor market analysis tool, Franklin is able to make faster, more effective, decisions to drive student engagement.
“I can pull the information with Emsi, with 100% confidence in the reliability of the information, in a day, where it would have taken me a week or two weeks to try and gather every resource and triangulate and tie things together,” says Mary Hoy, director of market planning and management at Franklin University.
We’ve written about Franklin University before, exploring the role Emsi’s data played in their acquisition of Urbana.
- Equipped with data from Analyst, Franklin University improved engagement with prospective students by incorporating critical career information into their program pages.
- Analyst introduced helpful streamlining to Franklin University’s marketing processes, bringing program promotions off the ground faster.
- Franklin University’s emphasis on data-centric marketing gives it an advantage in the competitive online education space.
Serving Adult Learners Though Online Courses
“Our entire institution, since day one, has been focused on adult students.” — Mary Hoy
In 1902, Franklin University, located in Columbus, Ohio, was founded by the YMCA as the School of Commerce to provide education and career training for working adults. More than 110 years later, with online courses and advisors who work late shifts, Franklin continues to cater to adult learners.
“The campus doesn’t shut down at five. Everything that we do and every form of the way that we do business is really focused on that working adult, and right now they need online classes,” explains Mary Hoy.
Franklin University has something that most other online institutions don’t: experience. Hoy relates that “we were one of the first schools in the game, relative to online education.” A strong majority (70%) of Franklin’s students rely solely on online courses, while 13% opt for a mix of online and face-to-face.
From the ground up, Franklin is built for adult learners, and that’s what appeals to prospective students. Reputation is important, but a strong marketing strategy—targeting prospective adult learners and delivering a compelling message with relevant career data—is what makes Franklin successful year after year.
Informing Franklin University’s Marketing Strategy with Data
Competition for online adult learners is fierce. So, how does Franklin University manage to recruit and retain online students? By leveraging their experience and targeting adult learners with accurate and relevant data.
Career Paths on Program Pages
At 32 years old, the median age of Franklin’s student body is evidence that adult learners are interested in the university’s offerings. The key tool in keeping—and fueling—student interest? The university website. Particularly, the academic program content. Using Emsi’s data, Franklin redesigned the academic program pages on its website—presenting prospective students with information that ties programs and skills to careers.
This approach engages prospective students by making connections between Franklin’s academic programs and career outcomes. And the numbers show that it works. Over a five-month period, the redesigned program pages performed far better than before. Page views increased from below 200,000 to over 250,000, and the bounce rate decreased to nearly 40%—much lower than the overall site’s bounce rate of 65%.
Academic program pages are a deciding factor in a prospective student’s journey. They need to quickly and clearly explain why students should be interested and how programs lead to careers. Franklin University does this by combining curriculum, course descriptions, and syllabi from program chairs with related job skills that come from Emsi’s Job Postings Analytics (JPA).
“We try to paint a complete picture of what [students] are going to experience in the program, the skills that they are going to acquire, and what their opportunities for employment might look like if they earn that degree,” describes Hoy.
Developing Franklin University’s Agile Program Planning
To remain competitive, Franklin University introduces new academic offerings almost every year. We’ve written about Franklin’s ambitious program planning process in a previous case study. Mary Hoy and her team are responsible for promoting those new programs. With Analyst, Hoy quickly finds the information she needs for promotion planning.
“Prior to having Emsi, we utilized an external consulting firm for program evaluation and one day I was looking at the report, and I thought, I could get at every single thing in here just by using Emsi.” — Mary Hoy
To launch new programs so often, Hoy and her marketing team must work quickly, and maintain confidence in their work. This is where Analyst proves to be a major boon. “I can tell you just from a purely operational perspective, when I used to do the program assessments, like new program or new location assessments without Emsi, the time savings from a resource perspective is remarkable,” relates Hoy.
Part of that time savings is because of Analyst’s CIP-SOC mapping. Tying degree programs to career outcomes is a difficult and time-consuming process because there isn’t a simple crosswalk. One degree can lead to many careers. Analyst’s mapping takes the hard work out of that process. Hoy explains:
“I feel like Emsi is the only one who can concretely tie together degree programs and career outcomes because of their CIP mapping. I can’t find another person who can do that for me. It’s not a thing that people do well. So that for us has been the key—that is the major difference for me, is I can take any degree program that we’re thinking of, plug in the CIP code, and find out everything I need to know from a pure marketability perspective.”
Hoy and her team dig deep, looking at how key market competitors present themselves to determine how Franklin University can set itself apart. For instance, Franklin differentiates itself by cultivating partnerships with community organizations. “Since you’ve started including job postings, that’s been very helpful for us in terms of finding potential partners in a community,” says Hoy.
Labor market data is a critical component of program planning and marketing. With the help of Analyst, Franklin University is able to expand its already impressive share of the adult learner market and do so with greater efficiency.