Social Media is the Biggest Threat to an Inferior Product

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Today, we all make purchasing decisions based on incomplete information. Due diligence depends on our perceived importance of the purchase at hand. Sometimes we browse Amazon reviews or look for Consumer Reports’ confirmation. Sometimes brand reputation affects us or we solicit our friend’s recommendations. But the beautiful future of perfect decision making based on wholly complete information is not yet here – although it’s coming.

Today, students are still choosing schools based on incomplete information. You’re enrolling students who might be better off going somewhere else, and you’re losing a whole bunch of students who would have been better off choosing you. And the question is – in this upcoming world of perfect information, does your school still win?

Is your school really the best possible choice for Johnny Prospect to make? Based on his major, where he lives, what he’s looking for, his financial need and his academic qualifications – is your school truly the best choice? Or is the school just down the road or just across the state line a better fit? Because long-term, decision making based on incomplete information will no longer exist. And if you are even the second best choice, you will lose every time.

We’re still at the stage where we love what Facebook offers – an ability to speak directly, en masse, to both the prospect and the student. But, social media is a double-edged sword. It lets them speak, too, and we can’t control what they say. The only thing we truly have control over is our product – our academic experience.

As the walls continue to come crashing down, as we become more transparent against our will, as review sites get more comprehensive, as outcomes between schools become more comparable, as it becomes increasingly more difficult to hide an inferior product, students will be able to know without a doubt whether or not your school is the best choice for them.

May the best schools win. And they will.

About the Author
Eric Olsen is the Web Content Manager for Lewis University, a mid-sized Catholic and Lasallian University near Chicago, IL. Follow Eric on Twitter.

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