post image February 14, 2023 | 3 min Read

Designing a Successful Academic Program: Pros & Cons of Various Offer Types

Welcome to Part 3, a continuation of our series on Designing a Successful Academic Program, where we are going to evaluate different offer types that you could make available to qualified academic end users.

Please check out Part 1, where we discussed Why Academic Programs work, and Part 2, where we provided tips and strategies for software companies looking to design an academic program.

Variables to consider when deciding on offer types

There are several variables to consider as part of your program objectives when deciding on the best offer type(s) to make available.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is my primary objective increasing share over the longer term or driving short term revenue?

  2. What types of institution types to I want to support?

    • Should I limit to degree or diploma granting higher education institutions only?

    • Should I include vocational and career colleges?

    • What about K-12 students, or those in between high school and college?

  3. Is this a worldwide benefit or do I want to restrict by geography? If so, do I want different offers by geography?

  4. Do I want to make this available to all academic users in an institution, or should I limit it to students and educators only?

  5. Do I want to only focus on students in a particular department, major, or concentration, like STEM?

  6. Is this intended to be an additional benefit to academic users at institutions that already have a commercial relationship with my organization, like volume or site licensing?

The answers to these questions will inform the type of offer you create for your program and the surrounding terms. They can have big impact too – for example, even charging as little as $10 for the offer could impact adoption rates by over 40% versus making it available at no cost. If I have a revenue focus, this helps to inform my price. If I am share focused, I have to think very hard about the upsides and downsides of free versus paid.

Example scenarios

Some of the best programs that we’ve evaluated address all of these questions as part of a complete strategy. Many even have different flavors to their programs based on the mix above. Here’s an example scenario:

  1. Product X has a regular retail price that anyone can buy at $250 MSRP

  2. Product X is offered at a 50% discount ($125) as a gated retail offer for any type of academic user affiliated with any type of academic institution anywhere in the world.

  3. Japan is a target geography for me, so I am going to extend an even greater discount of 80% ($50) to qualified academic users there.

  4. Product X is applicable to the curriculum, so I am going to encourage course adoption by offering 100% discount ($0) to verified educators only, and I’ll also provide them with other digital teaching resources and course packages for their LMS.

  5. I have several academic institutions already buying volume licensing from me for lab and on-campus use. I am going to extend home use rights to students at those institutions only for non-commercial (teaching and learning use) for a flat fee of $10.

  6. Building out the licensing terms for offers within an academic program can be quite powerful with the right partner. You have many different options available for segmentation and each can be used to your advantage to encourage certain program objectives.

In Part 4 of our series, we’ll analyze different academic programs offered by software vendors.