Borders College – Market Research

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In addition to further education opportunities for young people, Borders College also offer a diverse range of evening and community classes and courses to the people of the Scottish Borders and beyond. These classes are ideal for the leisure learner and those who need to top up their learning for career development. There are anecdotes of people queuing down the street, wait patiently to book when a new programme was launched, but recently Borders College identified a drop-off in the number of student enrolling on these courses.


We were asked to research a reason for the drop-off in bookings, to assess whether the marketing communications were effective and if the programme of courses still met with the needs of the market.


We took a broad approach to the project. Initially we analysed historic data supplied by Borders College, this included demographics, socio-demographics and geo-demographics of previous students.

Following this desk research, we carried out an online survey which was sent to all previous students and opened up to the general population via a survey link which was promoted on the College social media channels.

We analysed the results from the survey and cross referenced with the desk research in order to make observations and recommendations.


The staff from Borders College were able take a lot of positives from the results of the market research we carried out for them. Not only did it confirm that the student experience was overwhelmingly positive, with a 90%+ repeat enrollment rate, but also established they are the market leaders in the Scottish Borders for leisure and top-up leaners. The research also identified opportunities to reduce the programme content, consider alternatively approaches to price and payment options and look at the branding of the programme.


“Working with Emily is like having an extra member of the team on board. Emily takes time to understand and look at any project in a holistic way and offer a range of potential solutions with real outcomes which can deliver tangible benefits to your organisation.

I was highly impressed with the service given from the initial discussions to the final delivery and presentation of our project. We will certainly be using the services of McGowan Marketing again.

Cameron Reith
Marketing Manager – Borders College

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