OPMs vs. Unbundled Services: Which Higher Education Solution Delivers the Most Value?

OPMs vs. Unbundled Services: Which Higher Education Solution Delivers the Most Value?

When colleges and universities seek out third-party solutions for online program development, marketing, and enrollment initiatives, they have a couple of options. 

One option is to invest in an OPM (Outsourced Program Manager) that bundles up those services as part of a comprehensive revenue sharing program. Another option is to link up with a marketing agency or enrollment services partner that provides fee-based unbundled services.  

OPMs were once considered the go-to approach for schools. But developments in the past decade have demonstrated the advantages of unbundled marketing and enrollment services as well, leaving many schools uncertain of which solution will deliver the most value.

A Brief History of OPMs

OPMs proved to be an excellent solution for undercapitalized initiatives in the online learning space during the early 2000s. 

Some OPMs became highly specialized in certain content areas or fields. They gathered, designed, built, published, and facilitated the delivery of online graduate programs. They also drove marketing and enrollment services for those programs. 

Because OPMs were (and still are) revenue sharing programs, their return on investment varied considerably depending on the strength of a school’s brand. Generally speaking, the stronger the brand was, the higher a percentage of revenue the school itself would receive.

OPMs shouldered a steep upfront investment in building and marketing a school’s program. They implemented 5-10 year contracts with schools to ensure an adequate return on that investment. 

But midway through these contracts, schools might experience buyers’ remorse. Once its programs were well-established, OPMs often became increasingly hands off—just as schools were beginning to send them bigger and bigger checks.

Around 2008, the OPM model began to mature, and the market became finite. OPMs knew they couldn’t implement the same programs across too many schools, so they started unbundling their services.

OPMs vs. Unbundled Services

Unlike OPMs that cover the entire spectrum of the online learning space, unbundled services provide niche offerings for higher education clients.

Some companies specialize in building and creating content for schools. Others, like MindMax, specialize in marketing and enrollment solutions. Even some of the big OPMs began unbundling their services, focusing on fee-for-service solutions instead of revenue-sharing programs. 

Today, schools have a choice between investing in an OPM or paying for unbundled services. But how can they know which solution will provide the most value to their institution? Here’s how I suggest breaking it down. . .

An OPM is a good fit for your school if:

  • You have insufficient capital to achieve desired results 
  • You’re under pressure to address a specific opportunity quickly 
  • You need to get to market quickly with few resources 

Unbundled services are a good fit for your school if:

  • You have a track record of providing online programs without third-party support and are looking for an opportunity to be more successful 
  • You already have certain elements of your online program development, marketing, or enrollment initiatives under control 

At MindMax, we believe that a school’s needs are dynamic. We offer both fee-for-service and revenue-sharing programs as part of our unbundled services model—and we provide significantly more flexibility than an OPM.

Our services align well with schools that manage their own online program development. In today’s digital world, it’s easier than ever for schools to own these efforts themselves. They gain far more value from partnering with a company like MindMax for the marketing and enrollment services that drive prospective students to these programs. 

One of our core values here at MindMax is “get results,” and that directive fuels our approach to providing unbundled services. We use hard work and innovation to accomplish goals for our clients—and we’ll always be honest and transparent before asking anyone to sign a contract.

Interested in learning more? Contact MindMax today and find out how we can help your university reach their enrollment goals.