Mine Your Business

Liz Kistner - Monday, October 27, 2014

MINE your business. MINE your database.  As Russell Conwell states in "Acres of Diamonds" there is wealth in your own backyard. What do you know of your current students, prospects and alums?

Data mining is a process of sorting and pulling relevant information. Using this data uncovers correlations or patterns.

These patterns provide a wealth of knowledge:

  1. Demographics: measureable characteristics of your students/prospects such as age, gender, race, industry, title, size of business, educational level
  2. Perceptions and Behaviors:
    - What motivates them?
    - What are their emotional needs?
    - Personal image and values
    - External perceptions-How do they see the world around them?
    - Gratification Mode- Dominate way they get gratification in their lives
    - Prediction- Historical data used to build model(s) that determine prospects preferences and/or future actions
  3. Cross-Selling/Up-Selling:  Data mining is used to determine what to offer to whom and when to offer it
  4. Improving decision making by using the relevant data to make better & timelier decisions
  5. Customizing messages based on prospects profile

Ask yourself:

  • What students are most likely to convert?
  • How do I identify the best prospects?
  • What type of courses can we offer to attract more students?
  • Who are the ones most likely to complete?
  • What point in time is a student likely to drop out?
  • Who would enroll but not complete?
  • What alums are most likely to donate?
  • What targeted market gives us the best ROI?
  • How can we convert those that have responded but not enrolled? 

Data Mining can help you answer these questions. Answered questions can help increase retention and lower cost per acquisition.

Data Mining Techniques: For Marketing, Sales, and Customer Support by Michael Berry and Gordon Linoff.

Data Mining Explained: A Manager's Guide to Customer-Centric Business Intelligence by Rhonda Delmater and Monty Hancock, Jr.