Market Research

Inform Growth & Marketing Efforts with Actionable Data


Marketing online programs is costly, complex, and confounding. It is also one of the most important keys to unlocking enrollment success. At Circa Interactive we help our clients address all three concerns prior to investing in digital marketing and outreach. Testing ideas, concepts, marketing campaigns, and potential online programs requires an experienced, unbiased researcher who can interact with all stakeholders including current students, prospects, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, employers, and the community. Our skilled market research team knows what to ask, how to ask it, and how to glean information that supports programmatic success. Examples of recent market research projects include:


Enrollment Performance

Helping a law school understand its poor enrollment performance and designing an overhaul that led to a dramatic improvement in lead-generation and enrollment performance


633% increase in lead flow in just three months


Program Viability

Investigating online program viability for a non-profit regional public university, including in-depth keyword metrics and competitive research to help inform overall program demand


identified six programs ideal for current market demand


Market Adaptation

Helping a private university explore 12 potential online degrees and certificates, assessing the internal infrastructure to grow the online footprint, and exploring leaders’ willingness to adapt


determined three of the 12 degrees were viable for launch

Circa specializes in three distinct, yet complementary, types of market research:


Primary Research

We use qualitative efforts (one-on-one interviews and focus groups) and quantitative research (online surveys) with a variety of stakeholders to gather both intimate details about education drivers as well as large data sets upon which to formulate and execute plans. We follow a research trajectory that begins with qualitative findings that, in turn, inform cogent, useful surveys. We partner with an Ivy League university’s Survey Research Center to manage data-gathering efforts from hundreds or thousands of stakeholders to provide quick, efficient, and illuminating data with which to make decisions about online programs.


Competitive Analyses

No university, and virtually no specific program, exists in a vacuum. With increasing competition for students, an in-depth competitive analysis helps define the space and identify programmatic benchmarks to strive for as well as competitor weaknesses to exploit. These weaknesses may include excessive cost, poor customer service, overly long programs, restrictive residency requirements, or unappealing curricula. Gathering requisite information from competitors’ web sites is where most researchers start; at Circa Interactive, it’s just the beginning. Our researchers contact every competitor institution disguised as a potential student (or parent) to gather deeper, richer information to build out the competitive analysis. We track the number of calls made (and voicemail messages re/unreturned), the quality of the telephone interaction, how many times we get transferred, and the accuracy of the enrollment rep’s information.


Secondary Research

It is vital to quantify the playing field in which a university wishes to compete. We compile and analyze data from existing resources including the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Department of Labor, local/state/regional agencies, IPEDS, job search web sites, and accrediting bodies to determine benchmarks and requirements, as well as short- and long-term labor market demands. Armed with this information, we advise our clients about which programs will resonate in the marketplace and which ones may seem sound in theory but have limited market appeal.

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