In 2019, when California State University, Chico (Chico State) initially engaged Everspring, their College of Business had no online programs. The market for online business programs was growing quickly, and the College of Business knew that building a portfolio of online offerings would be essential to their future success. Additionally, Chico State is located in the large, rural Northern California region. Although their university serves a large audience, access was a barrier for many prospective students.
To overcome these challenges, they needed a partner who could:
- Provide strategic research to support their decision to grow online.
- Identify job opportunities and community impact of an online portfolio.
- Make recommendations regarding scale and how best to engage prospects.
- Execute strategic marketing to ensure a strong program launch and sustained growth.
Crucially, in choosing a partner, they sought flexible services to supplement their internal teams, as well as a cost-effective fee-for-service pricing model.
After meeting with the College of Business and gaining an understanding of their challenges and goals, Everspring conducted extensive market research into the MBA market, both in California and nationally. This market research analyzed multiple data sources, including Department of Education data, labor market data, search demand, competitive research, and alumni interviews, providing Everspring a comprehensive understanding of Chico State’s programs, strengths, opportunities, and prospects, as well as the job market and local economy. This analysis confirmed Chico State’s decision to invest in an online MBA and outlined recommendations for how to best position themselves in the competitive online MBA market.
Chico State further engaged Everspring to support their new online MBA with marketing services to raise awareness of the new program and quickly build a strong enrollment pipeline. Based on our initial market research, we were able to segment Chico State’s online MBA audience and put together marketing designed to reach their best prospects. Everspring worked closely with the university’s marketing team to develop compelling marketing content and outreach strategies aligned with the university’s differentiated brand qualities. We also coordinated with them on keyword buys, social media marketing, and alumni outreach. Across our marketing campaigns, we used data and A/B testing to constantly optimize our work.
- Impressive enrollments: As a result of Everspring’s market research and marketing support, Chico State’s new online MBA launched in April 2020 and generated enrollments of more than 300 students within its first two years.
- Online portfolio growth: Given the success of the online MBA, Chico State also leveraged Everspring’s market research and recommendations to build and launch an online bachelor’s in business administration (BSBA) completer program in 2022. This program enrolled more than 150 students in its first two terms. In 2022, based on additional market research from Everspring, Chico State added an online MBA Health Services Administration specialization in 2022.
- A regional higher education leader: Because Chico State serves the Northern California region—the largest rural community in California—their Everspring-supported online programs have expanded educational access, providing the region’s students with flexible business education options that bolster the region’s economy and making Chico State a higher education leader in rural California.
- Economic efficiency: Everspring’s fee-for-service pricing structure and constant optimization have resulted in efficient use of the university’s marketing dollars.
Growth Beyond Expectation: A Partnership Built to Scale
Everspring’s support has been invaluable to the success of our online business programs. Their market research allowed us to gain institutional support to build our new programs, and they’ve worked with our internal marketing team seamlessly to develop marketing that generates strong enrollments and enhances Chico State’s brand in the market.