The pandemic’s effects on enrollment offer a preview of what lies ahead for colleges and universities as they approach the demographic cliff. Now is the time to consider what strategic options are available to your institution.
As colleges and universities begin a third academic year still dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, the need to find the right balance between strategy and execution amid rapid change is more important than ever.
The unique characteristics of academic institutions can compound the difficulties, but colleges and universities that are serious about putting their strategy into action need to face this challenge head on.
The process of defining desired customer outcomes requires work, and that task is made more complicated for higher ed institutions because their services are often delivered over a course of years and extend across multiple areas, including academics, student housing, campus life, and job placement.
The focus on the customer is critical because it is the customer who defines the brand. Put simply, a college or university’s brand is what its customers—current and potential—perceive it to be. In the long run, retaining current customers and attracting new ones is far more important than maintaining the brand.
What if colleges and universities began to think of students more as customers (which they are)? How might that transform not only the strategic planning process, but the strategic goals and initiatives of the institution?