Case Study

Quest College Case Study

Case Study Summary

How a college with outstanding credentials but reducing enrolment utilised customer research and insight to transform its market positioning and strategy.

The Brief

Quest College has an enviable reputation, prestigious premises, excellent results and a talented staff team but enrolment was in decline. Liz was asked to develop alternative propositions for business growth using quantitative and qualitative research based evidence from a range of stakeholders.

The Challenge

Quest College can be thought of as a 'best kept secret' - a high performing business training college which offers an excellent alternative to university. Quest was amalgamated from Lucie Clayton, Queen's and St James's. Nowadays, for many, Quest's 'finishing school' / 'secretarial college' background is an outdated proposition and is competing primarily against vocational courses at university. Quest needed to re-define itself, but without losing its excellent reputation amongst its loyal influencers - parents, schools, employers and recruitment consultants. But how far could the college go to update and broaden its reach without alienating its current advocates? Liz was asked to devise and deliver customer insight and market research to address these questions and propose options for a revised positioning.

How We Helped

There were several phases to this project, each of which Liz planned and managed:

  • Scoping of project plan, research requirements and deliverables
  • Scoping and support for set up of a new customer relationship management system and process
  • Specifying of internal data requirements for subsequent analysis
  • Design, recruitment, dissemination, analysis, reporting and presentation of a range of primary research outputs:
    • Parent survey
    • Student survey
    • Courses survey
    • Employers and recruitment consultants' interviews
    • Concept development and production of creative stimulus materials
    • Parent focus groups
    • Student focus groups
  • Internal data analysis from newly acquired CRM system
  • Secondary data analysis from external published data including catchment area analysis
  • Reporting, final presentations, conclusions and recommendations from findings.


The use of a range of research methodology from a good cross-section of stakeholders led to a series of powerful recommendations. The college is now implementing these by:

  • Continuing termly use of parents and student surveys
  • Dedicating internal resource to the development of new courses / methods of delivery to achieve college programmes with wider appeal
  • Setting an away-day to brainstorm course content and structure
  • Defining ways to reach key influencers and articulate the revised proposition
  • Redefining the proposition in terms of its target market, messaging, marketing plans and collateral
Quest College

Quest College

Quest College