Developing a Go-to-Market Strategy

An online university had developed a new competency-based learning model to complement its existing online program. This new offering had been introduced to existing students and was ready for introduction to the wider market. Prior to this, the university wanted to understand how the broader audience of degree seekers and employers would react to this new learning model, how it should be positioned, and to learn more about segments likely to adopt.


Ferguson Insights worked with the client to develop an approach that would include feedback from groups key to this product’s success. We led a focus group with salespeople to learn when and how they introduce the product, their views of its benefits and drawbacks, and the ideal organizational profile for this product. In-depth interviews (IDIs) were used to get feedback from employers and degree seekers. IDIs were chosen so we could explain the concept in detail, identify areas of confusion and probe deeply on important issues. Employers shared their views on employee education, reactions to this new idea, and prioritized key features. Degree seekers shared their decision making process to try this new model, their experiences with it and how it aligned with their expectations. These in-depth one-on-one conversations allowed us to tease out the nuances of benefits experienced by different groups and were instrumental in understanding the true value of this new offering.



Learnings from salespeople were used to develop promotional materials that more clearly articulated the differences and benefits of this learning format from the university’s traditional online program. Insights from degree seekers who had tried the new learning model guided improvement efforts regarding interactions with staff and processes. Discoveries from employers and degree seekers were used to develop the product’s value proposition for each audience. Insights from all three groups helped to develop profiles of companies most likely to offer this new learning format to employees, as well as to validate the profile of individuals who would be a good fit for this format.

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