A New Audience Requires a Unique Message

The Story

This university identified adult, undergraduate and online students (also known as “nontraditional” students) as core growth targets. We utilized research findings to drive campaign messaging and creative that resonated with this new audience.

About the Partner

This full-service partner is a nonprofit, faith-based university with more than 6,000 students and growing online programs. The school offers strong undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees, and the MBA and Law programs are highly regarded.

The Problem

The university’s current marketing initiatives and creative struggled to reach this new audience and influence perception of the school’s brand.

The Strategy and Execution

Using extensive research, including interviews with actual prospective students, focus groups, competitive research and brand-tracking studies as the basis of a new campaign, we increased awareness of the university among a targeted audience of nontraditional students.

We discovered the existing cost-per-credit and course structure confused prospective students, and there was an opportunity to help them understand these benefits.

Creative reflected findings from the research. The new campaign messaging articulated motivations for returning to school, showed aspiring professionals in active settings and conveyed Christian values.

The Results

  • Inquiries from this target audience increased from 35 percent to 47 percent of all inquiries during Q1 to Q3 2015.
  • The TV spot achieved the highest touch point originator value in our attribution analysis and converted to inquiry at the highest rate.

The Takeaways

  • Audience research is key to marketing campaign effectiveness.
  • Campaign creative should extend into other channels, including digital display advertising, social media and landing pages, for consistency and brand familiarity.

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