Your Higher Education Marketing Link of the Week… Augustana University: 10 Value Propositions + Evidence… 10 September 2021

Augustana University: 10 “value proposition” claims and evidence to support them

Augustana UniversityAugustana UniversityColleges and universities often are urged to find and promote what makes them distinct from their higher education rivals. To use a traditional marketing term, to present a “unique selling proposition” to potential students.

That’s difficult to do. Some schools, especially in the private sector, group the effort under a “value proposition” heading that seeks, among other points, to demonstrate why a higher price than public sector schools offering the same degrees is worth the investment.

Differentiation challenges:

Differentiation from similar private sector colleges/universities is equally challenging. A potential student who googles for the university name will learn facts similar to many other schools:

  • Enrollment between 1,500 and 2,000 students.
  • Admit rate at 67 percent.
  • Graduation rate at 70 percent.
  • Average annual cost after aid: about $23,000.

Value claims and “evidence” to support them

Augustana opens the page with an unusual admission that these are “value proposition claims.” That immediately suggests a need to provide evidence to prove the claim. Just making a value statement, Augustana seems to say, isn’t enough to show “What sets Augustana apart?” You have to prove the claim.

Often “value” items are presented without evidence. That makes them “claims” that can read as public relations content rather than solid features. Augustana pokes a bit of fun at that stance right after the “What sets Augustana apart opening”:

  • “Well, we could go on and on. Nothing compares to this place. The beautiful campus. The people. The shared commitment to exploration and discovery.”

And so Augustana sets out 10 easy-to-scan claims and asks visitors to “See the evidence” for each one.

How strong is the proof?

We’ll let everyone answer that question on their own. But we’ll make one important point: best to present up-to-date proof. On that point, Augustana gets a mixed score. For example:

  • We are fortunate to have great professors…” includes awards presented to selected faculty for 2021. Can’t do better than that.
  • We prepare our students for careers and graduate an professional school…” includes a list of graduate and professional schools attended by the Class of 2016. That’s not current enough for maximum credibility. What’s happened, some may wonder, in the years since then? Time to update the evidence.

Follow the Link of the Week

Explore how Augustana University has created a list of 10 value propositions focused on student recruitment… and provided evidence to support each claim at “Our Value Proposition Claims.”

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