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Experience Strategy Podcast with Stone Mantel

Oct 20, 2021

It’s time to start treating students like customers. Historically, higher education hasn’t leveraged modern customer experience techniques to support students throughout their journeys. In this episode, Cindy Casper, the first insights strategy consultant in higher education, makes the case for taking a fresh look at students’ needs. Tune in to discover the powerful insights and experience strategies Cindy and her team employed at Arizona State University to better support students at their institution.

In This Episode:

  • [02:28] Cindy’s transition from Sam’s Club to Arizona State University. 
  • [06:50] The downside of thinking that students need to prove themselves to be worthy.
  • [12:06] Examining the shift that happens once a client or student is “won over.”
  • [18:10] The importance of making students feel like they matter and KPIs to consider.
  • [23:15] Aspirational vs. social jobs and the impact of having a Success Coach.
  • [29:17] The need to look at student journeys as customer journeys.
  • [32:41] The big opportunity for higher education institutions that want to better understand their customer’s needs and motivations. 

Key Takeaways:

  • There is too much focus on winning the customer or student and not enough focus on their experience throughout the long-term relationship.
  • The shift from marketing to operations can have a significant impact on the customer experience.
  • Like most industries, looking at customer needs and their JTBD reveals huge opportunities to better serve students. By understanding what matters most to these “constituents” we can customize the experience and make it more meaningful.
  • It takes a powerful leader to convince top leadership that they need to think about KPIs and organizational structure to have a better customer experience.


Cindy Casper is founder of Casper Insights, a boutique market research firm that provides insights strategy consulting, project design and analytics to help organizations achieve their goals. Her research and analytics experience spans both supplier and buyer roles across retail, consumer packaged goods and higher education. Cindy is a creative thinker, having devised a patentable process for integrating survey and first-party data to predict consumer attitudes. Cindy is a frequent presenter at insights conferences and webinars. To address the niche needs of colleges and universities, she created Collegiate Insights. 

Cindy is particularly skilled at working across the aisle with chief marketing officers, closing the gap between goals, insights and execution. Cindy is ABD toward a doctoral degree in marketing from Case Western Reserve University and holds an MBA from Bowling Green State University.

Notable Roles & Achievements:

Founder, Higher Ed Insights Collaborative, an organization intended to increase cross-industry excellence                  Managing Director, Knowledge & Insights, Arizona State University                                                                                    Insights and research executive-level positions with American Greetings, Sam’s Club, Jo-Ann Stores and OfficeMax