Case Study: How Gray Associates Grew Awareness and Built Credibility in the Non-Profit Higher Education Sector


How Gray Associates Grew Awareness and Built Credibility in the Non-Profit Higher-Ed Sector

How did Gray Associates grow their presence in the non-profit higher education sector?

Gray Associates logo with tagline, Data + Insights + Strategy

The Challenge

Gray Associates had built its business on providing strategy consulting services and knowledge management software to institutions of higher education, empowering academic and enrollment leaders to assess market demand for new academic programs. However, Gray was not yet a household name among colleges and universities. Gray recognized that it would take time and effort to create awareness of a new methodology to assess academic program potential, to continue building credibility with non-profit colleges and universities, and to become a recognized source of critical program data.

Gray sought out a respected strategic partner whose clients would benefit from the capabilities Gray had to offer. In Academic Impressions, Gray found that partner.

AI has served over 3000 institutions of higher education, designs and directs over 200 workshops and webcasts for higher-ed professionals every year, and maintains an e-newsletter, Higher Ed Impact, with a subscription of over 56,000 administrators and academic leaders.

With deep knowledge in higher education, AI knows that assessing market demand for new academic programs is a challenge our own constituents are looking for help addressing; our own programs and events bring together experts on this issue. Seeing the opportunity for Gray’s analytic capabilities and services to help meet that need, AI was eager to help Gray gain visibility and connect with our subscribers.


Working with AI

After a successful experience providing an instructor at an AI conference, Gray felt that they had found the right connection with AI.

To help inform more institutions about their work, Gray chose to reach out by producing an educational video and advertising it in AI Daily Pulse. One of the unique aspects of this partnership was the close collaboration between AI and Gray staff. “AI was really good at collaborating with on how to position the ad so that it would speak to this audience,” Bob Atkins, CEO of Gray, recalls. “We received specific advice that was always on point.”

Working closely with AI, Gray created an educational video that provided real value to AI’s subscribers and demonstrated the level of expertise Gray Associates could bring to the table.

“We saw two benefits right away to working with AI. First, AI knows non-profit higher education deeply and knows how to help us make contacts in that space. Second, when we followed up with contacts made through AI, people were eager to talk to us. AI is a trusted source, an organization people know and respect.”

- Bob Atkins, CEO and Founder, Gray Associates

The Results

"There was an expectation from those we contacted," Atkins continues, "that we were a credible organization, even before we spoke. The fact that they discovered us through AI conferred that trust. That ad was one of the most productive outreaches we have ever done. Within two days, we had a call from a community college that contracted with us two weeks later for a small but significant project that returned revenue ten times the value of the ad. And immediately after that, we established a partnership worth tens of thousands of dollars with a second institution in California."

From that one ad, Gray Associates saw:

  • 150 plays of their video
  • Several partnerships with new institutions within the first few weeks
  • 50-60 additional highly qualified contacts that Gray is in conversation with

"Together, Gray and AI recognized an opportunity to help institutions manage their program portfolio in a challenging environment. Our expertise, combined with AI's reach into the non-profit sector, has made this an effective partnership that is already helping institutions across the country.”

- Bob Atkins, CEO and Founder, Gray Associates

Grow your presence

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