Tertiary/ Higher Education

1. Target Market Segmentation and Strategy Development

The Issue:

  • This leading Australian University was experiencing a decline in mature age student numbers
  • They needed to know why and:
  • Develop a longer term strategy to attract AND retain these type of students in the future


Research Solutions developed a research program to fully explore and better understand this market, with a dual focus on existing (to retain) and potential (to attract) mature age students.

The program included:

  • Desk research – designed to explore barriers and motivations to study in this market and strategies employed by other institutions, here and overseas, to better cater to the mature age student market.
  • A series of focus groups with existing and potential students, designed to establish, motivations and barriers to study, the characteristics of an “ideal” University, the factors driving University choice and the image of the client University in comparison with key competitors.
  • Survey research – consisting of an online survey involving 400 undergraduate mature age students and a telephone survey of 200 potential students (undergraduate and postgraduate) , designed to profile mature age student segments (by attitude towards study and Universities), measure the University’s current brand position in relation to competitors and test a series of ideas and strategies to better package/ cater for the needs of mature age students in the future.


The program provided the University with valuable in depth information from which to:

  • Launch a mature age student recruitment campaign, based specifically on the attitudes and motivations of key potential student segments.
  • Implement a series of initiatives designed to increase the flexibility and customisation of the University offer for mature age students.
  • Consider the University’s image and reputation based position relative to competitors and its “fit” with its brand values.

Following this study, Research Solutions has also completed similar work for the University with potential undergraduate students.