Our client was a PK-8 Catholic school in the northern Chicago suburbs. Though the parish was stable and growing, the school’s enrollment was declining. It seemed that strong public schools and other good Catholic schools in the region were preferred over this client’s school. Before undertaking a full marketing push, the client wanted to understand how key stakeholders viewed the school and why they were choosing not to enroll.
Bright Minds Marketing undertook a series of research efforts to understand the dynamic of the school. We first conducted a series of stakeholder interviews to uncover broad themes about the school. Next, we conducted several focus groups with parents from not only the school, but also the parish. We also interviewed parents who had left the school, both in transition grades (5th and 6th) as well as non-transition grades. Finally, we fielded a quantitative survey to validate some of our findings in the qualitative stage.
The data from our research allowed the client to understand the perception issues that the school was facing by both internal and external customers. Using this information, the client began to better communicate the success and true performance of the school to the community. Improving perceptions on academics, course offerings, discipline and faith formation were key to having more parishioners consider the school compared to other options.
Additionally, our research efforts allowed the school to address its key retention issues in the 5th and 6th grades. Identifying the reasons why parents were leaving for the public school gave the client a road map to improve its offerings in those grades, as well as communicate the benefits of staying in a Catholic school during some of the challenging teenage years.
Retention rate increased from 79% to 84%
New Enrollment increased by 5 students