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WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY AT PARKERSBURG

MARKET RESEARCH SURVEY

Prepared for Katie Wootton
Director of Marketing & Communications
West Virginia University at Parkersburg

October 12, 2015
Darron Cummins
Lauren T. Krupica
Tim Kuehne
Lisa Sekula
 

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became Parkersburg Community College under state law. and Math) courses to education and criminal justice to fine arts. and lifelong learning for the Twenty-first Century. the West Virginia Legislature set out to revitalize West Virginia’s community and technical colleges and named WVUP “an independently accredited State Institution of Higher Education. it continues to look for ways to succeed in achieving the goals of its 2015-2020 Strategic Plan. in 1971. In 1989.   2   .” WVUP was one of a number of institutions founded to fulfill the Legislature’s purpose of creating a network of community and technical colleges that focus “on technical education. In 2008.” WVUP must reach the broadest range of its “potential student” population in the most effective manner available. WVUP’s two-location campus serves over 3. the legislature changed the school’s status to that of a regional campus of West Virginia University and renamed it West Virginia University at Parkersburg (“WVUP”). Technology.Executive  Summary   In 1961.000 students in Parkersburg and Ripley and provides a wide range of educational opportunities— from a robust offering of STEM (Science. By 2010. Though WVUP is by all accounts a highly successful educational institution. In its effort to become the “regional college of choice.” (W. work force training. Code § 18B-3C8(a)(2). enrolling more than West Virginia University’s divisional campuses combined. Va. The school grew and expanded. both in enrollment and infrastructure and. the Parkersburg Branch of West Virginia University was opened in an abandoned school building with an enrollment of 104 students. Engineering. WVUP continued a streak of record-enrollment and was ranked as the fourth largest institution of higher education in the State of West Virginia.

ensuring that WVUP is placed at the top of Google search results. and contacting students via e-mail.   3   . with an emphasis on using social media sites. The results of the survey indicate that outreach to students matriculating directly from high schools should be heavily web-focused.In an effort to assist WVUP in achieving its admissions goals. our group administered a survey to local high school students.

Ms.edu.8203 or by e-mail at Katie.The  Client     In an effort to assist WVUP in reaching the broadest group of potential students in the most effective manner.   4   .Wooton@wvup.424. our group approached Katie Wootton. Director of Marketing & Communications at WVUP and offered our assistance. Wootton can be contacted at 304.

web activity. a mass e-mail was sent to high school teachers in the Mid-Ohio Valley requesting promotion of the survey. television viewing. as these traditional-aged students currently make up 60% of matriculants at WVUP.Methods       Our group developed a Qualtrics survey. The survey targeted high school students. The survey was also shared via link to Qualtrics on Facebook. A group representative contacted principals of local high schools to preview the survey and ask whether we could solicit participation from students.           5   . The survey focused on six major areas: electronic communications. radio and newspaper usage. The principals agreed. attached as Appendix 1. social media engagement. designed to identify the types of media most commonly and most frequently consumed by high school students in the MidOhio Valley in hopes of finding the most effective way of communicating with potential students. and during the month of September. and written media. In addition. a group representative visited high schools during lunch and requested survey completion via iPads provided by WVUP. Participants were offered a chance to enter into a drawing for a $20 gift card for completing the survey.

The respondents report spending most of their time on the web researching colleges. technologically connected group. and Twitter. informative website that tracks web analytics and results in targeted web display advertising. The respondents access the internet primarily with their mobile devices. Facebook. The most effective way to communicate with these potential students will be to create an advertising campaign that combines an active social media presence with a reliable.       6   . most commonly using Google’s search engine. Instagram.Results     The results indicate that the market for potential matriculants directly out of high school are a sophisticated. and most frequently spend time on the social media sites Snapchat.

44% were males. Mary’s High School Wirt Co.Demographics     We determined that of the 240 completed responses received. # 1 2 Answer Male Female Prefer not to answer Total Response 106 129 % 44% 54% 5 2% 240 100% # 1 2 3 4 Answer Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior Total Response 16 29 126 69 240 % 7% 12% 53% 29% 100% # Answer Parkersburg High School Parkersburg South High School Williamstown High School St. and 50% of respondents were from Parkersburg South High School. 53% of respondents were juniors in high school. and 2% preferred not to answer. 54% were females. High School Other (please specify) Total Response % 50 21% 121 50% 3 1% 32 13% 21 9% 13 5% 240 100% 3 1 2 3 4 5 6       7   .

FX. While streaming subscriptions are extremely popular. with Netflix being by far the most popular with 96% of respondents subscribing. Showtime. Forty-one percent of respondents report watching only between one and five hours a week. ABC Family. 28%. 84% of respondents still subscribe to cable. Comedy Central. and E! Do you regularly watch television (including streaming services i. report watching only five to ten hours a week.Television  Consumption     The next series of questions focused on television viewing habits. Seventy-eight percent of respondents report watching television. Netflix)? # Answer 1 Yes 2 No Total Response 186 54 240 % 78% 23% 100% How many hours per week do you watch television? # Answer 1 Less then 1 2 1-5 3 5-10 4 10-20 5 over 20 Total Response 13 76 52 26 18 185 % 7% 41% 28% 14% 10% 100% Do you use a television streaming service? # Answer 1 Yes 2 No Total Response 150 35 185 % 81% 19% 100%   8   . The cable channels that are the most popular among the respondents are ESPN.e. The least popular cable channels are TV Land. TruTV. A whopping 81% of respondents report subscribing to a television streaming service. while the next largest group of respondents. and MTV.

Which services do you use? (Check all that apply) # Answer 1 Netflix 2 Hulu 3 Amazon Other (Please 4 list) Do you have cable? # Answer 1 Yes 2 No Total Response 143 23 11 % 96% 15% 7% 13 9% Response 155 29 184 % 84% 16% 100% How often do you watch these channels?   9   .

45% of respondents check their e-mail at least daily. Do you have an email account you check regularly? # Answer 1 Yes 2 No Total How often do you check your e-mail? # Answer Multiple times 1 a day 2 Daily 3 Weekly 4 Monthly Total     Response 171 65 236 % 72% 28% 100% Response % 28 17% 73 48 13 162 45% 30% 8% 100%   10   .E-­‐mail  Use     E-mail use is a typical form of communication. but only 17% check their e-mail more than one time a day. Seventy-two percent of respondents report that they have an e-mail account that they check regularly.

An organization’s social media page would be of interest to 23% percent of respondents for organizational information. second most frequently. The respondents are active online for a variety of reasons. their tablets. with 94% of respondents reporting that it is their most often-used search engine. Respondents most frequently access the internet using their mobile devices and.Web  Activity     Google is the most commonly used search engine. When seeking information about a particular organization. 57% of respondents would look to the organization’s website. Respondents reported spending the least amount of their online activity completing homework and the most amount of time researching colleges. What search engine do you most often use? # Answer 1 Google 2 Bing 3 Yahoo! Other (please 4 specify) Total   Response 223 2 7 % 94% 1% 3% 4 2% 236 100% 11   .

please rank the following activities from 1 (least often) to 8 (most often) Total # Answer 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Responses Doing 1 69 36 31 18 16 21 17 18 226 homework Checking e2 9 36 40 34 37 35 22 13 226 mail Chatting 3 25 43 38 36 28 17 23 16 226 with friends Reading 4 websites for 14 19 27 36 22 38 37 33 226 fun Watching 5 videos on 22 22 31 33 48 26 24 20 226 Youtube Playing 6 22 21 19 30 30 46 26 32 226 games Using 7 social 47 36 29 16 14 11 43 30 226 media Researching 8 18 13 11 23 31 32 34 64 226 colleges Total 226 226 226 226 226 226 226 226 -   12   . which of the following would you be most likely to do? # Answer Response % Visit their social media page 1 52 23% (Facebook.If you want more information about an organization. etc) Visit their 2 128 57% website Visit review 3 websites such as 6 3% Yelp Call and request 4 8 4% information E-mail them with questions 5 7 3% or requests for information 6 Ask around 25 11% Total 226 100% In terms of time spent online. Twitter.

98 4.Statistic Min Value Max Value Mean Variance Standard Deviation Total Responses Doing homework Checking e-mail Chatting with friends Reading websites for fun Watching videos on Youtube Playing games Using social media Researching colleges 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 3.60 5.10 2.61 4.59 2.43 5.25 226 226 226 226 226 226 226 226 How often do you use the following items to access the internet:       13   .42 5.19 6.19 2.13 2.89 4.81 4.22 4.72 5.37 1.04 2.49 4.04 4.06 2.90 2.54 4.38 3.62 3.

with four particular social media sites being most commonly used.10 5.     # Question Never 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Twitter Facebook Instagram Snapchat Google+ Tumblr Pinterest 81 46 59 52 127 181 145 Less than Once a Month 8 7 2 5 8 2 16 Once a Month 6 10 2 3 6 6 4 2-3 Times a Month 6 9 5 4 5 6 12 Once a Week 14 12 7 9 16 2 14 2-3 Times a Week 14 27 23 17 19 8 20 Daily Total Responses Mean 97 115 128 136 45 21 15 226 226 226 226 226 226 226 4. Instagram. Facebook. and Twitter are the sites respondents report accessing daily.12 5.05 1.30 5.25 3.91 2. In descending order of popularity: Snapchat.35   14   .Social  Media  Use     Social Media usage is common among the respondents.

Newspaper  and  Radio  Consumption     Respondents report highly infrequent reading of The News and Sentinel. How often do you read The News and Sentinel:   15   .1 for thirty minutes to one hour a week is most common. when respondents do listen to the radio. station 102. though. and 21% reading it less than once a month. with 35% of respondents reporting that they never read either publication. Listening to the radio is not an activity in which respondents frequently participate.

Do you listen to any of the following radio stations weekly? If so.   16   . followed by social media. how much? Suggestions  for  Contacting  Potential  Students     Respondents were provided an opportunity to suggest the best way for a college to contact them. The most commonly requested manner of contact was e-mail.

 Social  Media. It is key for WVUP to follow the lead of these students and ensure it has operative. and Twitter. Instagram. active accounts on each of the four of these platforms. Google is by far the most popular search engine used by respondents. and perhaps consider the use of cookies for targeted display web advertising. Of critical importance is that the website must be mobile-device compatible as this is the technology most often employed for web activity. it should ensure that its website is defined so that Google’s   17   . WVUP should continue to keep its website updated with the latest information and consider auditing its current website for optimum navigability. A welldesigned. clicks.  &  Web  Activity     The survey results revealed that the market for potential students is highly connected via mobile devices to four particular social media sites: Snapchat. Potential students rely heavily on an organization’s web site for reliable information about an organization’s products and services. This is also crucial given that the majority of students responded that most of their time spent online is for the purpose of researching colleges.  E-­‐mail. WVUP also may want to consider a web analytics package that will measure traffic. page views. mobile device-compatible website is likely to draw students to frequently view and explore the WVUP website. Therefore. Facebook. Another important part of reaching students via the web is to ensure WVUP has a strong presence when searched via internet search engine. which is an important factor when competing with other colleges for a potential student’s limited time.Discussion       A. Information that students want and need to know to entice them to attend WVUP should be front and center.

C. “directly out of high school” student. and there are clear frontrunners for the most popular channels. Some ways in which this might be accomplished is providing an option on the website for students to input their e-mail addresses if they would like more information. though whether this information may be released as Directory Information pursuant to the Family Educational Privacy Rights Act will be based on the unique policies of each school.  Television     While television-streaming services are extremely popular among potential students. The same goes for all of WVUP’s social media pages. Ultimately.  Radio  and  Newspaper     The least amount of advertising efforts and dollars should go towards newspaper advertisements or radio spots for attracting the average. and contacting schools and asking for lists of student e-mail addresses. FX.webcrawlers can sufficiently read and index the site so that it will pop up at the top of search results for any number of search terms. and MTV. WVUP should focus its efforts on collecting potential students’ e-mail addresses. Comedy Central. a sizeable portion still subscribes to cable. it is essential that the communication plan include the use of e-mail. Some of WVUP’s advertising budget should be directed towards producing commercials to air on ESPN. ABC Family. B. While a sophisticated and useful website and active social media accounts are critical to ensure that potential students can easily learn about and contact WVUP. Potential students in the high school age range are far more likely to get their information from   18   . TruTV. collecting e-mail addresses directly from interested students during recruitment visits. e-mail is the most effective way to contact potential students.

if radio spots are desired. and MTV. With this in mind.web resources. •   WVUP should collect potential students’ e-mail addresses when possible and use those as a means to provide information about WVUP. less emphasis should be placed on employing this type of media to attract students who will be matriculating directly from high school. Comedy Central. station 102. •   Targeted advertising of adult learner-specific programs may be effective on the radio or in the newspaper. •   WVUP should ensure that its website is properly indexed on Google for optimum placement in search results.1 is most likely to reach the respondents to this survey. Recommendations  Summary     •   WVUP should focus on creating active Snapchat. ABC Family.   19   . •   WVUP should invest in a web analytics package and employ cookies for targeted web advertising. It should be noted that potential students in the adult learner category may be more likely to read the local paper or spend more time listening to the radio if they commute to work. Instagram. TruTV. With that said. it may be prudent to direct some targeted advertising efforts towards newspaper readers and radio listeners who fit into the potential adult learner category. FX. Facebook. •   Television spots should be placed on the channels that students watch most: ESPN. and Twitter accounts. if WVUP’s budget allows.