Baker Lake

Too much data can cause a huge backup in establishing your communications strategy, i.e. “paralysis by analysis”. Knowing which data to examine is the first step in breaking through the paralysis.

Fluid Dynamic Engineers refer to a “no-slip condition”. As a marketer, I prefer the phrase “pull power”. Pull power represents the flow of information moving to the least amount of communication resistance.

A simple application of Pull Power, is to examine the percentage of Inquiries of a specific program of study with the volume of all Inquiries. And then compare the percentage of applied students within that same program of study against total applications received.

For example, if you know that historically (over 4 years) 7% of all inquiries eventually apply for admission to your institution, compare the conversion of specific cohorts against that percentage to determine the “norm” conversion for that cohort.

I’ve recently consulted with an institution in which we discovered that 7% was the “norm” of conversions from Inquiries to Applicants, that is, 7 out of every 100 Inquiries applied. But we also discovered that some programs of study had a Pull Power of four to six times the norm. Out of every 100 Inquiries these cohorts applied at a rate four to six times higher than the norm. We also discovered cohorts that had a Pull Power of 0.3 (only 3 applicants out of 1000 inquiries).

When attempting to customize communications strategy and content to specific audiences, look first at the Pull Power to determine how much resistance you should anticipate. Building your campaign on the foundation of Pull Power awareness helps to prevent paralysis by analysis.

Knowing how to calculate ROI for a 1% increase in conversions at a specific “log jam” within the admissions communications funnel will inform you as to the amount of effort (time & dollars) you should place in improving the dynamics of the conversation.