Longmire Launches Higher Ed Study To Explore Relationship-Building with Prospective Students

May 18th, 2015 by Mark Thompson Leave a reply »

[What follows is a guest post by Mark Thompson based on his interview with Bob Longmire, President of Longmire and Company. The topic of the interview centers on Longmire and Company’s national higher education co-sponsored study now in preparation for launch.]

I have a confession to make: As a former enrollment management guy, I love the college admissions game. Even after more than 20 years of an often grueling schedule, sleepless nights and, sometimes, unreasonable demands, I still believe that it is one of the most fulfilling and exhilarating professions you can choose. Today, I am a teacher and that is also a very gratifying profession. I still follow higher ed closely, periodically advise colleges, and write about this ever-changing industry.

RelationshipDynamic_300x172I recently sat down with Bob Longmire, President of Longmire and Company, to talk about the company’s latest co-sponsored study it is launching. It’s called, “The Relationship Dynamic: How prospective students form a relationship with your college, and why it matters in your ability to grow and control enrollment.”

Mark Thompson:  Longmire and Company has been serving higher-education for over 25 years and, since 2009, conducting these co-sponsored studies that always seem to discover something new about the industry and prospective students. I know that many colleges participate in these studies year after year and the findings get widely reported. What makes them so popular?

Bob Longmire: We actually started doing the co-sponsored studies to meet a need in the industry that just wasn’t being addressed. There are issues and hot topics that constantly emerge in higher education recruitment and marketing, and professionals in the industry need to stay on top of them. They want to know how these issues will impact the industry as well as their own college. They want information that will help them identify opportunities to differentiate themselves in the higher ed marketplace.

It can be very expensive for an individual college or university to do the scope of research needed to get the answers and insight we get. But by co-sponsoring with other institutions they get the best of both worlds: data and insight about their pool of prospective students coupled with a national picture, getting a very comprehensive study for a tiny fraction of what it would cost to do it on their own.

As I recall, the concept for your just-concluded study, “The Excitement Factor!” was sparked by a discovery you made in a prior study. What was the genesis of this new study, “The Relationship Dynamic”?

The launch of the “Relationship” study was sparked by a key finding in the “Excitement Factor” study. We found that a student’s excitement about attending a college – and their ultimate enrollment – is driven, in large part, on the connections they make with current students, professors, admission counselors, tour guides, coaches and others on and off campus. We were able to measure how complex and powerful relationship-building is in student recruitment. Now, we want to put on our sales and marketing hats and drill down into how relationships get cultivated through personal interaction, mass communication, social networking and so on.

College admissions professionals already know how important it is to build a relationship with prospective students, what will they learn from this study that is new to them?

We all know that a student’s college selection is tied closely to the strength of the relationship they build with a college over time. And we know that creating relationships is a multifaceted, nuanced and crucial part of student recruitment. But the real question college admissions teams want answered is, “What can we do to create powerful relationships with our prospective students in all aspects of our recruitment efforts? What methods create the strongest bonds? Is it social media, personal contact with admissions counselors, professors, other students, high school counselors, or something else entirely? And, how can we involve all influencers, on or off campus, in the development of rich relationships with our prospective students?” We intend to answer those questions and more in this study.

There is so much research already out there in the world of higher ed. How is this different? 

There is no doubt that as an industry we capture a lot of data about students and how they select colleges and what influences them. What differentiates our studies is their focus on the emotional factors that drive college selection. Facts tell but emotions sell. The other factor that distinguishes all of our co-sponsored studies is our focus on providing highly actionable-data that colleges can use immediately. There is “nice-to-know” data that provides context and there is “need-to-know” data that drives action. We get need-to-know data that’s going to change a college’s approach, process, and bottom-line.

What types of institutions are involved in the study?

Four-year, not-for-profit public and private universities and two-year community colleges from across the country. All shapes and sizes.

What’s the timeline?

We are bringing colleges on board with this study now!

How does a college participate as a co-sponsor?

Just call us. It’s really easy. The co-sponsoring college doesn’t have to do much other than provide us with data on the students they want to include. We take it from there.

For detailed information, colleges can download detailed information about the study by CLICKING HERE.

Trouble playing video? Click here.

Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. Be sure to Subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you don’t miss any of this highly-valuable information. You can reach Bob Longmire at (913) 492-1265, ext 709 or at blongmire@longmire-co.com. Connect with Bob at Linkedin/in/boblongmire.

Mark_ThompsonMark Thompson is a seasoned and highly-successful higher education professional who has held positions in enrollment management at large and small, public and private institutions including The Ohio State University, Thiel College, Defiance College and other institutions. He follows and writes about developments in the field of higher education enrollment management. He can be reached at (419) 789-1637 or markthompson412@gmail.

Copyright Longmire and Company, Inc.