The education market for private providers has long since turned into a competitive situation. According to the Federal Statistical Office, 63 percent of the population received further training in 2016. Training at the tertiary level, in particular, is showing high growth rates. State providers have also become active in the national competition and are driving competition. The education market is on the move, and the fight for target groups is becoming more and more important.
Educational institutions are becoming more and more committed to their course participants: their customers. Different actions plannings carried out. Much depends on how the educational institution or the education market assesses the needs of potential course participants – also known as target groups. When recording, various indicators of the target groups are usually important. Sociodemographic, consumption-related, information-related, and psychological information is processed or determined as data. It is done in a classic way using market research results from surveys or existing customer data. In the customer relationship, data becomes more and more valuable, provided that this happens- as the respective customer profile enriches with current information. The better the research and documentation of customer data, the more the profile of course participants gains in value. The reason for this is that the data can use to assess the customer better.
Buyer personas or market segmentation with target groups?
It makes sense only to define target groups who use the educational offer. It avoids unnecessary marketing and communication investments. Target groups can be defined using different models. We can find the context for this in marketing. Two well-known models use herein practice:
Buyer Personas of Education Market(Marketing Context) – after Alan Cooper
Alan Cooper initiated the concept of the persona (lat. Mask) in software development in 1983. Marketing personas are about understanding them and describing them based on fact-based information. For example, demographic information, behavior, social environment, skills, feelings, attitudes, and expectations are formulated and assigned to the personas.
Fictional characters develop from the results of user research. Interests, character, behavior, motivation, and goals are determined, and general and simplified definitions with groups of dispense people. Rather, the focus is on the behavior and thinking of these personas. We can also test the development of such personas’ definitions. It bases on internal (for marketing and salespeople) and external (e.g., existing customers and potential) interviews to check whether the profiles correspond to reality. If these qualitative criteria (customer characteristics) correspond to reality, they can tailor market development to the living situation of the defined personas (types of people).
Advantage: Realistic and interactive communication with the target group is possible. The buyer personas can be redefined or developed at any time.
Sources of data collection: According to Cooper, suitable data sources for personas are context-based interviews that reflect the life situation of the respective target group.
Market segmentation with target groups (marketing context) – according to Manfred Bruhn.
A division of the “relevant market” into homogeneous segments or sub-markets is education market segmentation. It represents the basis of differentiated market development. Target groups are the recipients of the communication to be addressed with a communication message. “
(M. Bruhn, Marketing. Basics for Study and Practice, 2016)
The division of the groups into market segments and rough classification of the favored target groups based on given segmentation criteria collect through extensive market research data. They are socio-demographic, psychographic, purchase-related. And information-related, collected through extensive market research data. All groups of people who have similar criteria then advertise with targeted communication measures.
Large customer groups can for, divide into target groups, which advertise with campaigns.
Survey sources: market research data, surveys, stakeholder analyzes, secondary market data from studies, association information, specialist journals, and existing customer data and competitor data.
Evaluating potential target groups, e.g., for the development of educational offers or the generation of course registrations, is essential for educational institutions today. Once these methodically analyze their profiles (persona) developed realistically, potential students can advertise and give advice appropriate to the target group in their needs and life situation. Can also use communication economically and effectively.
“Know and understand target groups in the education market.”
Interview with Daniel Herzog, co-founder and co-owner of the Lernwerkstatt Olten GmbH
The Lernwerkstatt Olten GmbH (LWO) has been the competence center for adult education, coaching, and mentoring since 1997. The educational institute specializes in the training of SVEB certificate, practical trainer, and a federal diploma. Certificate, vocational trainer / in inter-company courses, training manager with federal. Diploma, DAS education management, coach, and operational Mentor with federal diploma Qualification. The “Digital Training” label also includes offers to support learning and coaching processes digitally. The Olten learning workshop has so far trained over 10,000 people at 25-course locations throughout German-speaking Switzerland. Every year around 200 part-time courses start with a guarantee of implementation.
Mr. Herzog, why does it make sense to think about the choice of target groups?
If I want to sell my products successfully, it is essential to know my target group well. Often you discover great educational offers that reflect the provider’s interests rather than satisfy the customers’ needs. There are also entire industries with little problem awareness. It is hardly worth taking action here.
In your say, what are the benefits of a target group analysis?
Knowing your target group well is one of the most important success factors. For example, at the learning workshop in Olten, we could better determine our customers’ needs thanks to a detailed target group analysis. From this, we formulated our unique selling points, such as the implementation guarantee. Without questioning our customers, we probably would not have been able to define our USP so accurately.
What kind of structure do conditions have to give for this?
The challenge is to get meaningful results from a sufficiently large and representative sample. It requires marketing know-how and a budget. The target group analysis is a dynamic process because the needs and wishes of potential customers change over the years. So I have to be ready to provide resources regularly.
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