How 1% Can Translate Into Millions of Dollars

I have a story about 1% and how this esoteric, marginal mathematical digit can represent for schools the difference between mediocrity and excellence, breaking even or being highly profitable.

The Story of the Best Swimmer in the World
I remember watching the Summer Olympics swim competition and there as a review of the accomplishments at the end of the swim competition. The TV commentator was lauding the accomplishments of Michael Phelps, Michael this Michael that, how he was a millionaire, set for life, his world records and multiple medals. In marketing parlance, this guy owned the ‘Fastest Swimmer in the World’ brand.

Here’s what intrigued me (and still does): Of the second place finishers in the seven events that Phelps won, several Olympic and World records fell. In other words,. if Phelps did not exist, several world records still would have tumbled. These second place finishes were world class in their own right, yet they received none of the accolades or spoils. What is interesting to me is the difference between first and second place in some of these races were 1/10th of a second, imperceptible by most human standards. 

Ask yourself who are the second place finishers in the last Olympics. Know their names? Neither do I …

These world class swimmers delivered at 99% and lost …

This analogy holds true as sage advice for the cost effective strategic growth of your school programs…Honest, it does…

Allow me to explain.

In marketing there are no silver medals, second place is for losers.

A prospective student will not say to herself “Hmm, I’ll spend $3000 with this school, $5000 with that school, $4000, with that school” Nope, it’s all or nothing. What’s interesting to me is from our analyses, those who came in second place, those who missed out on that Enrollment, did so in an incremental fashion. Soooo close, yet so far…This is a main reason why leaders in a given market have five times the profitability of those in second , third place etc… 

Education is an Outcomes Based Business
Most education programs need to be delivered at a quality level in order to compete. What most schools miss is what quality represents in the eyes of the customer (the student). The primary determinant of quality in marketing education is relevance. Relevance is all about filling demand for labor, filling the needs of employers eager to hire graduates.

A school program offering is only as strong as the reputation it holds with the employers of its graduates. If an HR Director is reviewing 5 resumes with largely the same education, the graduate with the most relevant resume wins, the other four continue their job search, simple …

Taking morals, ethics and business survival into account, it is imperative you as a school leader give your grads a razor sharp resume, giving your grads a jump start into the best jobs possible. Graduates need to be at 100% when in the job hunt and second place in a job competition is frustrating and somewhat debilitating. There are no silver medals within a job competition either..

How to Improve the Education Product.
There are many ways one can improve the Education Offering, giving graduates that competitive advantage when searching for a job…

Here’s a good one…

If you are an Allied Health School, offer graduates a National Certification Test. An allied health program where the graduate holds a recognized National Certification will give a graduate a huge advantage in the job hunt … here’s why.

As you might know, a significant percentage of employers in the allied health field require employees to be certified before hiring. These employers are typically public or not for profit institutions where certifications are seen as kind of performance insurance, preventing substandard delivery of labor.. If a graduate is applying to a major hospital or clinic and they carry a certification they bring a huge competitive advantage into the job market.

Why Do I Care About My Graduates?
In years past, I’ve heard some short sited school leaders tell me that acquiring the candidate’s tuition and getting them graduated and out the door is good enough. I say people who view the education field in that manner have at best received a blow to the head or more likely are just short sited, greedy idiots.   

Create for your graduates an inherent advantage in the job market and you will receive, tons of referrals and will be positioned in the eyes of the 100 largest employers of your grads as a top notch program. We call this ‘Wholesale Positioning or Branding Influencers’. Stated differently, if the 100 largest organizations that employ your graduates believe your school is top shelf, your marketing will work better.

Offer certification testing to your students at the end of your program and over time, conversion rates will increase and more referrals will flow in… 1% can make all the difference. 

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