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Blog

Jeff Sylvester

  • Tips for reducing respondent fatigue

    It’s back-to-school season! Soon our students will be making their way back to campus, thanks to all the work the university has done to make this possible. As we celebrate the return of students, it’s also a good time to start considering how to respectfully access their valuable feedback.  Last year, students were inundated with […]
  • Gathering more useful feedback about your website

    I’m guessing that most of you who are reading my blog posts have developed or at least utilized email-deployed surveys as part of your job at the university. But have you also been looking at data from your website (or as I like to call it “the digital front door”) to understand the needs of […]
  • Why (and when) to leverage focus groups

    Surveys are a great tool for collecting large amounts of data from your audience, but they do have limitations and don’t always gather the depth of information you’re after. This is where focus groups can be extremely beneficial.  There are generally two ways that focus groups can be used as part of a market research […]
  • The 15-minute persona exercise

    In an ideal world, we would have a target persona for each audience and project we work on. In the real world, this hardly ever happens. We all know how it goes: We’ve got five different projects we’re working on, no time to finish what we have, and another one gets thrown on our plate that […]
  • Taking cues from the language of your audience

    Do you know how your audience thinks, why they choose one major or program over another, and what words and phrases they use when talking about their desire to continue their education? This is the type of information that surfaced in a recent project with the College of Media, and it’s exactly what’s needed to […]
  • Getting to know your audiences better

    You know your audience – you probably spend a lot of time thinking about them, working to reach them, and strategizing about how to trigger them into action. But do you know your audience as well as you think you do?  Think about your primary audience for a moment. Can you describe them in specific […]
  • Asking lots of questions leads to the best path

    “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. They want a quarter-inch hole.” This quote by Theodore Levitt, Harvard Business School Professor, underscores the importance of understanding the needs of users if you truly want to accommodate them. But even in this example, knowing that they want the quarter-inch hole doesn’t go far enough […]
  • Reach for the stars

    It’s easy to get caught up in the immediate tasks of running your unit – especially during a pandemic, when the day-to-day often feels like all we can manage. But with the “new normal” constantly in flux, it’s more important now than ever for your unit to be engaging with your audiences and reaching for […]
  • Growing a campus-wide market research program

    Unity, consistency and data-driven strategy. I was excited about the goals of the Strategic Marketing and Branding office before I even officially joined the team a couple weeks ago as the new Market Research Director. My own approach aligns well, as I plan to create a much more unified market research program at the university […]