Interface: The Web School

Client :Interface: The Web School

Categories:Target Market Identification, User Testing

KOVUS Hours :200

Target Audience Discovery

Interface Web School is an Omaha-based code school that offers comprehensive educational courses for people seeking to become web developers. Interface had been running successfully for almost two years, but wanted help identifying their most successful customer personas so they could focus their marketing efforts on this target.

Project Goals

KOVUS was hired to provide clarity on Interface’s ideal target in the Omaha, Nebraska markets. The primary project goals were as follows:

  1. Increase qualified course applicants
  2. Identify persona(s) of best target market(s)
  3. Improve content and messaging on website
  4. Create marketing strategies to reach target personas

KOVUS Services

Segmentation of 70+ former students
13 Qualitative Interviews
BONUS: 2 New Enrollees
Interface Website

In the Details

Market Research

KOVUS began the project by identifying 5 criteria that were important to the segmentation of the target demographic:

  • Primary Motivation for Attending
  • Current Career Type (technical or non-technical)
  • Career Status (employed full time, employed part time, unemployed)
  • Highest Level of Education
  • Technical Knowledge

All prior Interface students were classified in these 5 key criteria to identify trends in the type of student that was attending interface and develop a theorized target market. KOVUS developed a quantitative research survey that was sent to all former Interface students and interviewed three recent Interface graduates to understand their mindset and motivations for attending Interface. Using data collected from the quantitative research (survey), qualitative research (interviews), and segmentation analysis of prior students, KOVUS developed the following demographic and psychographic profile of the target student:

Age: 25 - 35

Location: Omaha, NE

Education: College graduate with non-tech degree

Technical Expertise: Beginner with interest

Current Career: Non-technical career

Current Salary: Entry level $30,000 - $45,000

Years in Current Career: 2 - 6 years

Work Hours: 40 hours per week (standard business hours)

Risk Aversion: Very risk-averse

Desired Type of Company to Work for After Graduation: Generally desires to work for a startup, small or midsize company

Motivation for Attending Interface: Career Transition

While this target may seem obvious in retrospect, this target was drastically different than the original target and persona’s developed by Interface when they started the program. These were the original personas:

  • “Ambitious high schooler” Sarah, Age 17, high school senior (private school) or home schooled
  • “Aimless college grad” Joe, Age 22, recent college grad with his Bachelor's
  • “Discontented employee” Mary, Age 33 - Customer Service Representative

Based on the newly identified target, KOVUS conducted 8 additional interviews with candidates that met the target market criteria in order to validate the perceived persona.

Key Outcomes

Based on the results of the research, the five key members of the Interface leadership team were able to come to a clear consensus and agreement on the type of student Interface should target.

The research indicated that the target student was employed full-time and Interface’s night classes were very important to target students and a real differentiator from competing programs. The Interface tag line on the website was updated to reflect this information. The tagline was changed from “Building People who Build the Web” to an improved tagline of “Keep Your Day Job, Upgrade Your Skills.”

During user testing KOVUS discovered that students that would be good a good fit for Interface classes disqualified themselves because the content describing the courses was highly technical and potential students felt like they weren’t the right fit for the course. The course page was re-designed to navigate students to the correct course without using technical language.

Only 1 out of the 8 students in the defined target had heard of Interface prior to being recruited for the interview. This indicated that there was opportunity to reach students that had simply not heard of Interface program. In addition, the research indicated that the target student was very risk adverse, and wasn’t likely to sign up for a program without a significant amount of information. KOVUS recommended developing a social media campaign to encourage potential students to attend free open house events. This strategy was implemented and has been extremely effective in helping Interface recruit its target student.

The purpose of conducting research is to gain valuable insights that will drive future sales. However, through the research, KOVUS found and conducted 2 interviews with students that had never heard of Interface, but during the interview became interested in Interface and eventually became students in Interface programs. It’s always a bonus when our research projects drive sales! In addition, this created further confidence that the KOVUS recommended target was a good fit.

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