One in six Oxbridge applicants use company for help

first_imgCherwell can reveal that nearly one in six Oxbridge applicants register for the services of Oxbridge Applications, an independent profit driven company which sells university admission advice.On average, between 5,000 and 6,000 students contact Oxbridge Applications each year, while the overall number applying to Oxbridge is around 34,000 and growing each year.Founded in 1999, Oxbridge Applications is fast growing. The profits of the parent company, Application Research Limited, have increased by over 150% in the last year, from £67, 115 in 2010 to £110, 552 in 2011.The company offer Admissions Tests Seminars for £185, Private Consultations for £240, Interview Preparation Days from £220, and an Interview & Admissions Test Weekend for £1500.Oxbridge Applications claim that an average of 53% of those accepted for the Premier Service, which costs up to several thousand pounds, gain offers to Oxford or Cambridge, compared with an average of just 21% for Oxbridge applicants overall.Oxford University was quick to distance itself from the company. A University spokesperson said, “We do not endorse any commercial operations or publications offering advice or training on our admissions process.”Academic staff were also sceptical. Dr Peter Bull, Tutor for Admissions at Hertford, said, “Colleges will be happy to give advice free of charge. Why be charged by a consultant when you can ask the person who selects the candidates, at no cost?”Rachel Spedding, Executive Director of Oxbridge Applications and a former student at Worcester College, told Cherwell that the company work with current and former students.Dr Lucinda Rumsey, Admissions Tutor at Mansfield, said, “Students are not necessarily clearly informed about what tutors are looking for in the interview and other parts of the process. I am really disappointed that students get involved in this.”Alex Bulfin, OUSU VP for Access and Academic Affairs, said, “This sends a message to prospective students that there is a ‘secret’ to winning a place here and that if you haven’t been coached in ‘the right way’ then you won’t stand a chance.”However, not all students were as damning of the company. Thomas O’Brien, a first-year PPE student who attended an Oxbridge Applications preparation day said, “It would probably have been useful to people who, unlike me, didn’t get much help from their schools.”A third year History student who used the company’s Access Scheme said, “My school did not have a history of sending people to Oxbridge, so it was really good to meet people who’d been through the admissions process and could tell me what it was like.”Spedding highlighted the access schemes which the company runs. She said, “We are not helping people get in ‘through the back door’. It’s people’s choice if they want to use our services.”The University urged that, “The best advice is to work hard, and make full use of the many free and authoritative sources of guidance and information the University itself provides.”last_img read more

City of Jamestown Officials Release Data From Police Reform Survey

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Pixabay Stock Image.JAMESTOWN – City of Jamestown officials have released preliminary data from a survey asking residents for input on law enforcement and its role in the community as part of the New York State Police Reform.The survey was presented to 480 people, ranging from home owners to business owners. Nearly 300 people responded to a question asking them for their thoughts on what the Jamestown Police Department’s role is. Their thoughts varied from protecting the community to not having a definitive answer.The respondents were asked to pick up to ten services listed that they believe are most beneficial. Investigating crimes again and performing narcotics investigations were the top two picked, according to the data.The survey also asked people for their thoughts on how Jamestown Police can best improve policing and build better relationships. Those who took the survey were allowed to pick up to three options. Performing community outreach and establish and build relationships with schools and youth were the top two options selected. Members of the Jamestown City Council Public Safety Committee are expected to review the data, according to the agenda for the Committee’s Thursday meeting. In addition, the agenda says that the committee will create stakeholder groups and discuss the next steps that the legislative body will take.The meeting will not be open to the public, but the stream can be found on the City’s official website.The full survey can be found here:Failed to fetch Error: URL to the PDF file must be on exactly the same domain as the current web page. Click here for more infolast_img read more

Is your ad agency equipped for data driven marketing?

first_imgOur credit union clients with member databases have discovered many of the unintended consequences data-driven decision making has on their senior team, organizational responsibilities and business partners.   Using member data as opposed to intuition or antidotal information begins to change the decision making process supporting many CU activities such as; strategic planning, product/service design, service distribution channels, sales and direct marketing campaigns to cross-sell members and to acquire new members. This last activity requires a new and very specific skill set from your advertising agency.  As your credit union grows/expands its marketing functionality, is your ad agency equipped to grow along with you? This is a critical decision – in large part the value of your member data comes from the ability to design and implement successful direct marketing programs; a responsibility you share with your ad agency.At his point it helps to ”level set” on the definition of direct marketing.  Direct marketing utilizes the demographics and other lifestyle characteristics of members in conjunction with their CU product usage.  This data drives personalized messaging and product offers down to an individual member level.  The ability to segment members helps direct marketers reduce the cost of media by directly targeting members with specific offers using individualized media.  In fact, with the rapid increase in the availability of personal data and the technology to make sense of it, many CUs are working with “segments of one” that rely on individual demographics and identified member behaviors  or “trigger” events that signal a marketing opportunity.    One last –important– characteristic of direct marketing; it’s accountability.  This means you know the what, when and how each member receives the personalized email, phone call or snail mail offer of the campaign. This accountability is critical for evaluating the effectiveness of each component of your direct marketing campaign, maximizing your marketing effectiveness over the course of many campaigns.  It is this accountability that presents the opportunity for you and your agency to not only set new account goals for campaigns, but to also incorporate “learning goals” for each campaign. Learning goals can help increase your agency’s ability to build more effective direct marketing campaigns by developing a better understanding of members’ preferences regarding media, messaging, the call to action, products/service delivery and elements of your brand.  Designing direct marketing campaigns to maximize results and learning optimizes the value of your customer database.    The skills required to design and implement successful direct marketing are not typically found in smaller advertising agencies. Before getting into the specific skill sets you should be looking for in a data savvy ad agency lets a look at the components that make up direct marketing and their relative importance.  In very simplistic terms there are three critical drivers of a successful direct marketing campaign. Targeting Criteria.   This is the most critical component of direct marketing campaigns; it identifies the CU members who receive specific offers and how the offers are presented.  For example, two possible media options for a direct marketing campaign are; email or snail mail.  With either media, the ability to target distinct member segments is directly related to the success of your campaign.  If you are putting together a home equity cross-sell campaign to existing members it is important to select a group of members who are not only interested in a home equity product, but who own a home.   You start the discovery process to identify HELOC prospects by looking at members who already have a home equity line of credit.  Once completed, the next step is to look at members with the same demographics who do not have a HELOC.  There can clearly be more than one segment of membership that have a home equity loan. We can use this information as the starting point and keep refining the targeting criteria with additional member data that might include a member’s product usage, home ownership, length of this ownership and incidence of children (by age).  Additional analytics of this group by age can begin to identify the motivation for product purchase; such as college tuition, home improvement or even a second home purchase.The Offer.   Developing the offer is a direct result of your work with targeting criteria and the ability to create distinct targets of members with specific needs for purchasing the product. The offer addresses the “buy motives” of these specific member segments and maximizes responses by utilizing all the knowledge gained regarding preferences for media, messaging and brand portrayal.  Messaging, structuring of product fees and service delivery can all be configured to make the direct marketing campaign more compelling to specific targets within the overall campaign.Keeping with our home equity example, we have seen credit unions structure their home equity line of credit differently for different segments.  For segments with a higher potential to draw down balances in the short term (credit hungry) some CUs have kept the closing costs but offer a discounted introductory APR on the outstanding balances.  This pricing increases responses to the campaign by making the product attractive to those members that we have identified as serious borrowers.  With accelerated draw down of the line of credit, even with a discounted APR, the ROI of the campaign goes up.  So in crafting an offer to successfully sell each target, the selection of members, messaging, offer and media must all seamlessly communicate the same unique selling proposition. The Creative.  With the first two components we have identified discrete groups of members with similar motives for purchasing your CUs products.  We have also worked to maximize our responses to these groups by keeping in mind the preferences they have with regard to product structure, media, messaging and brand.  With data driven marketing, the creative becomes a more tactical aspect of the total marketing campaign.  While it is still important to reinforce your CUs brand and to use language and graphics that encourage members to read the promotion – in the data driven marketing campaign it is not the top priority.For the typical small ad agency, this is a significant paradigm shift.  Previously, without data to define target audiences and offer development the only way to evaluate an agency’s work was the quality of their creative. Now the “artistic” quality of campaigns comes from the ability to pull inspired member insights from your database and use these to match segments with the appropriate products and offers.  And, to construct campaigns in such a way that even if they fail to generate the desired amount of new accounts, there are embedded learning goals that explain the results, providing direction to do better next time.With your new member database installed, how will you work with your ad agency to maximize your investment?  The following are based on the premise that you have a good working relationship with your agency and would like to continue working with them as you grow into using member data.  Introducing analytics into your marketing discussions can be disruptive at first.  As you go through your initial data discovery, it is important to identify team members and make sure all team members are involved – including your ad agency.  Understanding the process, priorities for the member experience and segmentation framework put everybody on the same page – communication is important within your designated team to gain the most value from everyone participating on the team.   Many CUs create a “Power Users” group.  This group is the driving force for data discovery; they typically meet on a regular basis to swap analytic techniques and insights.  Be sure to include someone from your ad agency in this group.  The Power Users are the core of data innovation for your CU; learning new insights about members and then bringing them back to the full team to begin defining marketing and sales opportunities.Finally remember your ad agency has a skill set that up to this point has served you well.  That skillset gives them a uniquely different perspective of your member insights and the opportunities they represent.  It has been my experience that your ad agency is a valuable marketing partner uniquely qualified to turn member insights into successful campaigns by managing the many tactical decisions required – and that is where your investment in a member database is maximized. 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Frank Koechlein Frank Koechlein is the President at Empower Your Analytics and coauthor of the marketing resource book “The New Marketing Analytics”. Frank has over 40 years of marketing experience in the … Web: empoweryouranalytics.com Detailslast_img read more