How to optimise your university prospectus creative

Assets from webinar held on 22 July 2020

An introduction to Vote and Tell - a revolutionary way to test your university's prospectus front cover creative on prospective students at scale. Get the recording, slides and key takeaways.

facts about university prospectuses

Why it's important to get your university prospectus right

Despite attempts by some universities to move towards digital collateral (reasons include reducing waste, budgets, proving ROI and the "Greta" effect), no university has successfully eliminated printed prospectuses entirely:

  • 85% of prospective students (Year 11 - 13) used printed prospectuses as part of their decision-making process when applying to university - they are wanted and expected.
  • They're an essential promotion tool at HE and UCAS fairs -  prospective students get an impression of your brand from browsing your prospectus. But it's a highly competitive space - your front cover needs to cut through the noise so they want to pick it up.
  • Students expect prospectuses as part of the university research and application experience - "it remains evident - through feedback and experiences shared at UCAS Masterclasses and elsewhere - the university audiences still expect something tangible" - Bond + Coyne, HE Agency
  • Top tip: Leading HE printer, Belmont Press, advises universities to speak to printers before the design is finalised - you could save money and time by discussing pagination and size in advance, they might even get you better deals on paper

Vote and Tell: methodology, features and benefits

  1. Our target audience is your prospective students - 2021/22 entry students from The Student Room community. Compared with using your own existing students, this group contains real prospective applicants who have an unbiased relationship with your university. This means you'll get honest feedback without having to use your own contacts.
  2. Find out what, why and how -  you get a robust sample size of quantitative data (minimum 200 responses), allowing designers and senior decision-makers to make informed creative choices about which front cover will resonate best with applicants. The rich qualitative responses provide depth and understanding about the feedback.
  3. Tried and tested questions - we tested the questions in pilot studies to ensure you get the most clear, useful and actionable results.
  4. Bespoke questions tailored to your needs - you can add two closed questions of your choice (we can assist you if desired).
    student sharing opinions on university prospectus
    vote and tell participants

    Our process: working with The Student Room to optimise your university prospectus creative

    Vote and Tell is capped to five clients - allowing us to provide you with a premium experience. The steps are:

    1. Briefing phase - Your Account Manager will work with you on the briefing form, it will then be sent to you to expand on and you'll have a week to complete it. The Insights team will review and feedback if necessary. Brief is signed off and IO confirmed.
    2. Week 1: Planning and scripting - a researcher will call you to talk through the process and your briefing form. You supply up to three front cover creatives for testing. We draft the questions - due to timescales, you will only be offered up to two rounds of amends, so it's best to ensure stakeholders are involved early.
    3. Week 2 - 4: Fieldwork, analysis and reporting: we contact students to collect the responses, then consolidate this into a report. We then arrange a call with you to discuss the report findings.

      Key takeaways

      1. Printed prospectuses are still essential collateral - 85% of university applicants use them in the decision-making process
      2. Due to the high investment of time and money to produce prospectuses, effective testing is vital for ROI - your own students may not be a good test group since they're already warm to your institution and could provide false positives on your creative selections
      3. Vote and Tell is more effective than traditional testing methods - tested questions, professional researchers, large and unbiased audience in your target demographic
      4. Involve key stakeholders early - due to time constraints we can only offer two amend cycles for your creative testing  questions
      5. Vote and Tell is limited to 5 clients - ensuring you get a premium experience

      Interested in Vote and Tell? 
      Contact our team today.

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