Author: Paul Neal

Paul T. Neal (paul.neal@cace.org) is Sr. Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment at Cairn University and co-founder of Charter Oak Research where he serves as Principal and Chief Research Officer. Charter Oak Research is a marketing research and consulting firm focused on resourcing and supporting Christian schools and colleges, other Christian ministries and for profit organizations. Charter Oak brings marketing research to bear on the strategy and tactics of enrollment and advancement needs of clients to improve brand awareness, perception and sustainability. Paul has presented and been published on: the use of normative data in analysis, respondent motives, trends in education and online communities and respondent quality. Prior to founding Charter Oak Research, Paul was a Principal at Olson Research Group for 15 years as well as serving as the Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Federalism at Temple University responsible for qualitative research on political culture and U.S. Public Policy. Paul has served as an adjunct faculty member at several Philadelphia area universities. Paul is a graduate of Eastern (B.A.) and Villanova (M.A.) Universities and attended Temple University for further graduate study.

Effective Messaging: Summary vs. Significance

School leaders know the importance of supporting the admissions efforts of their school with well-developed plans in order to effectively communicate with prospective parents before, during and after “sales efforts” (admissions team activities) have taken place. Marketing efforts can increase the pool of families exploring your school as an option and also prepare prospective families with …

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Five Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

We all make mistakes. They are unavoidable but not always easy to explain—especially when others have made the same mistakes in the past and share their learning experiences. David Urban and Paul Neal, of Charter Oak Research share the following five marketing mistakes in their blog and webinar: Believing we are misunderstood Not giving others …

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Five Marketing Mistakes

We all make mistakes. They’re unavoidable but not always easy to explain—especially when others have made the same mistakes in the past and share their learning experiences. Maybe that is why lists of “top 5” or “top 7” mistakes to avoid are everywhere—the lists always seem to odd numbered, right? Well, here are 5 marketing …

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The Perfect Storm?

In October and November of 1991 an unnamed nor’easter grew in strength off the east coast of the United States absorbing an already existing Hurricane Grace and eventually reaching full hurricane strength itself. Going unnamed during the event in order to avoid confusion with the previous hurricane, it spawned waves recorded at 100 feet high …

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Marketing Research for School Innovation

All change involves risk. Change that is truly innovative requires understanding and awareness.  Research helps minimize the risk inherent in the decisions around innovation. For the school leader or educator, research provides the intelligence to make informed decisions based on real needs and parent expectations. Awareness of what parents (and students) want allows us to …

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Marketing Research, Part 5: Brand Awareness & Perception

In the final installment on marketing research, I want to focus on how awareness and perception impact Christian schools. Awareness is critical to understanding how a school can increase its reach and perception impacts a school’s ability to capitalize on increased awareness.  The two should be explored together because change in awareness impacts reach and …

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Marketing Research, Part 4: Brand Positioning

When working with Christian schools all over the country, one of the first things I hear from leaders or those involved in Christian education is, “we are the best kept secret!” While to some extent this is true, most often your school is known. The problem is what is known is not very significant. In …

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Marketing Research, Part 3 : Message Testing

Do you know what’s important to your current and potential school families? It’s different from what you may call key distinctives or core values (why we do what we do and the words that best describe our deliverable). Key distinctives and core values may be important ways of talking and thinking about your school, but …

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Marketing Research, Part 2: Satisfaction in a Changing Market

This is the second blog in a 5 part series on the types of marketing research that prove to be the most effective for Christian schools and how to think strategically about research. My goal is to provide a small toolbox of articles that can be used by Christian school leaders to assess their overall …

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Marketing Research, Part 1: Price

This is the first in a 5 part series on the types of marketing research that prove to be most effective for Christian schools and how to think strategically about research. This blog series will explore the following elements of marketing research: Pricing Satisfaction Message testing Brand Positioning Brand Awareness & Perception Let’s start with …

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