A Post-Secondary Case Study

Understanding the Market for Trinity Western University

At Insights West, we are passionate about research and enjoy coming

up with new and creative approaches to getting our clients the information they need. Trinity Western University came to Insights West with a marketing challenge. As Canada’s largest privately-funded Christian university, on the verge of opening a new campus in Richmond, BC, TWU needed a better understanding of how the North American faith-based post-secondary market viewed the school, and what key motivators would make TWU the university of choice among those interested in attending a faith-based post-secondary institution.

TWU knew the post-secondary education market was changing and was comprised of unique segments with different priorities when selecting a school. While recent high-school graduates still comprise the bulk of the student body, adult education is more and more seen as a part of life-long learning, and there is an increased demand for online courses. TWU also knew the important role parents play in helping their teens to select the right post-secondary school.

To help TWU gain a better understanding of the North American market

for faith-based post-secondary education, Insights West designed a multi-phase research program:

Phase 1: Secondary research into post-secondary market size in select regions

Phase 2: Qualitative focus groups with teens and parents of teens

Phase 3: Online surveys with different groups of prospective students and stakeholders:

  • Teens and parents of teens
  • Adults interested in continuing education
  • TWU alumni
  • Prior TWU students who did not complete their program

In total, this research program involved Insights West talking to almost 6,700 respondents on TWU’s behalf. The greatest challenge was recruiting this large number of participants from within the niche post-secondary market of potential students who would consider attending a faith-based school. Insights West used a variety of innovative approaches to find participants including:

  • In-person intercepts at strategic locations;
  • Online and social media advertising; and,
  • Regionally targeted postcard drops.

The findings and insights gained from this comprehensive research program will assist TWU with its strategic planning and with customizing the ideal communications strategy for their different market segments.

Using a Discrete Choice exercise as part of the online survey with prospective teens and parents of teens, Insights West was also able to build TWU a market simulator that will forecast post-secondary market share for different demographic and regional market segments. With this tool, TWU can measure how changes in tuition and scholarships or grants will impact market share and use these results to identify the pricing combination that will maximize revenue while appealing to the widest audience.

Insights West is committed to finding the best way to get our clients the knowledge they need to inform their strategies and decisions.  It often requires flexible thinking and creative approaches: no challenge is unsolvable.  Get in touch with us to talk about how we can assist your organization in addressing its research and marketing challenges.

For more information, contact:

Steve Mossop
President, Insights West