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University of Redlands: Marketing Case Study
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University of Redlands: Marketing Case Study

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  • 1. Case study Strategic Marketing & Brand Development
  • 2. Situation + The University of Redlands is a private liberal arts university with a 103-year history located between Los Angeles and Palm Springs in Inland Southern California. The University ranks highly in Princeton Review’s annual list of top colleges. Forbes ranks the University in the top 5% of America’s best colleges and the University is repeatedly ranked both an A+ School and a Best Value by U.S. News & World Report. For traditional undergraduates—recruited nationally—the For Adult Learners: University has a complex recruitment model based on a • he School of Education offers teaching credentials as well as advanced T residential College of Arts and Sciences. It also offers adult degrees including a unique doctorate in educational justice. programs for business professionals and educators through its • ver 30 years ago, the University pioneered adult business education O School of Business and School of Education. in the West with Whitehead College, now renamed the School of Business, offering programs for working adults in undergraduate degree Historically, marketing has been individually handled across all completion as well as masters in management and MBAs. academic units by admissions departments. This resulted in a silo • hese programs are offered through a network of eight regional T approach to marketing that often worked at cross-purposes. locations from West Los Angeles through San Diego, covering more The University’s revenue generation is 86% tuition-dependent. than 17,000 square miles and six distinct media markets. Since 2008, high regional unemployment coupled with a rocketing For Traditional Students: home foreclosure rate—plus increased competition—began • tudents may choose from 40+ majors/programs or customize their own S to negatively impact enrollments. Enrollments were trending through the uniquely innovative Johnston Center. downward in all academic areas. • mall class sizes, a strong community culture and a stunning campus are S big draws. • he majority of students attend college within 100 miles of home, T although admissions focused a disproportionate amount of resources on out-of-state recruiting. 1 2
  • 3. Mandate To reverse the trend towards lower enrollment, marketing was brought into the University as a new Align entire University under a data-driven, brand-based, function at the senior administration level. It was given the directive to optimize existing admissions integrated marketing approach to drive increases in admissions. This approach: efforts in order to regain lost market share, and then grow the University to maximize its current • ntegrates disciplines of advertising, direct marketing, interactive and I public relations to maximize effectiveness and leverage budget infrastructure capacity. It had three over-riding goals: • eo-targets Southern California to leverage undergrad trends and G regional locations • Targets areas of admission to help fill programs that have capacity • Improves yield rates, which have been decreasing year-over-year • Tests assumptions with admissions directors • ncorporates the insights of 10 years of data from a higher education- I focused research firm + Increase awareness in Southern California • arkets to potential students by understanding their needs, motivations, M attitudes and behaviors + Increase inquiries in all three academic areas 3 + Increase qualified applicants, particularly those who require less financial aid Solution 4
  • 4. + Analysis & Brand + The marketing began with research and brand discovery: • Reviewed the University Strategic Planning Study and analyzed existing data on current students plus a thorough analysis of the University’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT). Development • historical revenue analysis was generated based on yearly relationship A patterns for inquiries-to-applicants-to-enrollments across all three academic areas. • arketing then conducted both quantitative and qualitative research on M prospective traditional and adult students in Southern California, which uncovered low awareness as well as misperceptions regarding affordability. • brand discovery process was conducted with representatives from all key A Brand Attributes constituencies to reveal the University’s core brand attributes. • esearch indicated a brand message reinforcing the traditional College R 1. faculty and staff culture that provides a holistic A was an incentive to adult students who wanted their degree from a “real” institution as opposed to a for-profit option. education resulting in a unique life transformation The Rationale Redlands holistic education provides so much more than a 2. A welcoming, inclusive and belonging community + 3. Innovation with many “firsts” degree—it provides deeper learning beyond the classroom. With a culture of community service, a faculty committed to personalized education, custom majors, a trend-setting focus on spatial reasoning, ethics and educational justice, 4. The place Redlands has a history of students who are making a difference in the world. Redlands can make the claim that students receive more than an education: they learn = Elevating the learning experience equally about service, commitment, life and the world. 5 6
  • 5. + Print Advertising Outdoor Marketing Strategy An integrated marketing plan was developed Direct Mail Radio leveraging budget resources across all academic areas and reinforcing media vehicles including + Media drove traffic to a revamped University website, which reinforced the brand platform and was engineered for search engine optimization. TV, print, radio, internet, billboards, direct mail, A new campus video tour gave prospective students a virtual visit to the campus, promotions and public relations. and a window into the University’s brand personality. Key campaign messages re-introduced the 103-year old institution to the Existing Website Edit & New Website Development community (Hello. Rest of your life calling.) and positioned the University against Cable Television Online Banners the majority trend in Southern California to attend a public school through the UC or Cal State system (Dare to be different. You’ll fit right in.) New interactive marketing strategies for national high school student recruitment were implemented to reduce cost per lead averages. In addition to brand-based messaging, marketing included increased editorials and Public Service Announcements (PSAs) on tips and trends in higher education to educate prospective students on general information about scholarships, Social Media internships and career advice. The campaign was designed with a consistent look and feel tied into the + boldness of the University’s colors and a confidence in attitude to attract a more demanding type of student looking for more from their educational experience. 7 8
  • 6. Results In the initial phase of the campaign, enrollment declines have been stabilized across all schools. + New marketing strategies are positively changing the recruitment model in the adult programs with a higher percentage of prospects skipping the inquiry phase and going straight to application. Traditional students are increasingly aware of the University and indicating stronger interest to learn more. On its current track of enrollment increases, the University is poised to regain its lost market To regain market share, a significant number of additional leads have been generated and provided share across all three schools within the first 18-24 months of launching the new campaign. to the admissions office of each school to convert to applicants. For Adult Learners: Then, efforts will be geared toward overall growth. + For Traditional Students: School of Business • he College of Arts and Sciences broke a 103-year T school record with 4,017 applications for 2010 • Marketing-generated leads are up 26% • n-state applicants increased by 27% I • arketing-generated applications are up 47% over prior M six months • ocal transfer applicants increased by 32% L • une 2010 was the best recruitment month in the past J • Honors applicants increased by 10% three years • pen Houses are tracking the highest prospect attendance O in the past 10 years + • nternet applications are up 80% over the previous I six months School of Education • arketing-generated leads are up 64% over prior M six months • Internet leads are up 31% • Internet applications are up 30% • verall inquiries are up 22% over the previous year, in an O education industry that is suffering state-wide from teacher layoffs and reduced budgets. 9 10