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2014-2015 Graduate Recruitment

The Challenge:
Graduate enrollment is an important revenue source for AU and therefore an important strategic priority for UCM. We support most schools with two primary graduate recruitment media campaigns per year. Although their goals, target audiences, and strategies vary, the overall objectives are to increase prospect inquiries and drive applications.

UCM works with each school to develop an audience profile (demographic and psychographic) to ensure our media and creative are as targeted as possible. For example, for the 2014–2015 School of Communication campaign, we determined that prospects:

  • are typically 25- to 30-year-olds with a bachelor’s degree and a background in communication, marketing, and media industries
  • reside in the Washington, DC, New York, and Philadelphia markets
  • see themselves as media-savvy and respond favorably to innovative approaches to communication (e.g., Pandora)
  • tend to resist traditional advertising approaches, such as print display ads and online banner ads
  • are more likely to engage and inquire about SOC as a result of a digital communication/contact

The Solution:
UCM partners with schools to provide strategic guidance that helps them manage fall and spring media plans. Throughout each campaign, we monitor successes and optimize efficiencies wherever possible. At semiannual planning and results meetings, UCM gives each school an in-depth analysis of their campaign performance, and we discuss goals for the next recruitment season.

Results:
Collaboration with schools and careful analysis enable us to better target our work and capitalize on new paid media opportunities. For example, LinkedIn InMails resulted in strong performance for SOC’s Master’s in Media Entrepreneurship and SPA’s Master’s in Organization Development programs. We also leverage highly targeted media and creative. Many digital publishers, such as Google Display and Facebook, use interests and psychographic information to target audiences. We took advantage of this targeting, resulting in higher click-through rates and attendance at open houses (for CAS) and applications (for SOC).

UCM continues to apply the following key learnings for enrollment campaigns:

  • identifying specific targets by interests and behavior is critical to success (e.g., digital media rely on behavioral targeting to effectively deliver messages)
  • developing creative integration across school advertising leverages the total investment in the marketplace
  • alignment with the university brand campaign builds on existing brand investment and recognition