Northumbria University is a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence.
In response to changes in the higher education market Northumbria University, like many in the sector, needed to diversify income streams across new and existing markets in order to maintain and grow their market share, increase competitiveness and continue to build their reputation in order to deliver the university’s vision. For Northumbria this meant a focus on their postgraduate courses in order to increase student enrolments, improve the diversity of the student population and to develop new, innovative courses that would drive the University’s research reputation and would create a differentiated position in the market.
Following an evaluation of the current market undertaken by Northumbria which allowed the team to understand the wider market within which each new programme would sit; TKP designed a comprehensive programme of primary research to assess demand and to identify the audience for each programme, as these were either new to the market or new subject areas to the university. For each programme TKP conducted quantitative research to assess the appeal, demand, strengths and weaknesses of different course features and to optimise marketing for these new programmes. Using client supplied and TKP sourced sample to achieve around 500 interviews with prospective PGT students, including a substantial number from outside the UK, for each programme, we were able to establish benchmark measures for whether or not a programme should be introduced. Qualitative research was also undertaken with professional and business stakeholders to ensure that Northumbria could develop programmes in line with employer needs, as well as with prospective PGT students to help refine the course proposition and to develop an effective marketing brief.
The research has been very well received both by professional service teams and academic course leads. It has enabled Northumbria to progress with the launch of several programmes and to adjust content and marketing to maximise the attractiveness of the new programmes.