The PSC worked with King’s College London, a leading UK university, to identify strategic opportunities for the university to expand its current online student cohort by diversifying into new markets through a targeted approach.
Over the course of 19 weeks, a team from The PSC’s Strategy Business Unit illustrated that a solution to the significant challenges faced by the university due to reliance on individual markets could be provided by targeted offerings to specific markets by modulating price and content offerings in accordance with local needs.
Specifically, the work needed to reliably demonstrate why certain markets were well-suited to the online course offering and how King's might take advantage of this by offering a targeted and structured approach.
The PSC Approach
The PSC provided a data-led approach that brought together both quantitative and qualitative research in four stages.
- The initial quantitative ranking exercise was combined with research and stakeholder triangulation to yield 6 countries for further investigation.
- This allowed the team to build a hypothesis which was then tested through focus-group engagement.
- The user engagement through focus groups enabled The PSC to comparatively prioritise markets for King's and provide a platform from which to formulate a tailored approach in terms of price and product.
- The PSC gained direct insights into the motivations and barriers to online learning, building market-bio’s and ‘archetype’ learner profiles. Scoring these on the interest in an upmarket online higher-education product and likely match with the institution narrowed down a range of 3 top ‘target’ markets.
- Further surveys in these three markets allowed the team to test brand recognition and gain a representative understanding of desirable product types, and price-points for potential students. This product research included conjoint analysis to understand more discreet factors in decision-making and price-points, determined through a Van Westendorp analysis.
The final recommendations included triangulation through the university’s online alumni community formulating a final set of market-specific recommendations for each target-country and demonstrating a key strategic opportunity for King's.
King’s College London and The PSC continue to collaborate on this work and have progressed to a Phase 2, which consists of gaining a better understanding of the competitive landscapes of the target markets identified in Phase 1.
The work is building to a full go-to-market strategy for King's and will form the key knowledge-base for their online expansion over the coming years. This competitor phase includes social listening and in-country research to better understand competitors’ messaging and the impact on potential students.