Emerson College Graduate Admissions
Marketing Plan, May 2009
Gabriela Escalona, Aprile Keith, Sonam Sagar, Benjamin Schwarz, Zeenat Rasheed, & Wakaba
Global Marketing Communication & Advertising Capstone
Graduate School Industry Trends
A large number of students hope to improve their employability with a higher
degree. A postgraduate degree provides an edge over other candidates with only a
Research shows that a typical person is likely to have ten different jobs between the
ages of 18 and 39. Having a masters or post graduate degree allows them to be a
viable candidate for a variety of jobs.
The number of GMAT test-takers is on the rise. Testing year 2007-08 was a record
year for the GMAT, with 246,957 exams administered. This was a global increase of
over 11% on the previous year. This suggests that a greater number of people are
considering going to graduate school to study business-related fields1.
Additionally, the global economic downturn and record unemployment levels are
increasing the number of applications to graduate school as workers who have been
laid off shore up against changing workplace trends through advanced degrees.
Due to the increase in national and global competition within the workplace,
postgraduate degrees—whether they are MAs, MBAs, or PhDs—have become a
vital qualification. The skills and knowledge gained from a postgraduate degree are
an incredible asset to employers, who are willing to put a monetary value on them by
rewarding masters degree holders with higher salaries. The starting salary for a
bachelor’s degree in communications is approximately $35,200. However, the
starting salary with a master’s degree is approximately $59,2002.
Moreover, the communication and business sides of an organization have become
partners—it is impossible for one to survive without the other. Whether a student
should become a businessperson who is a communication specialist or a
communications specialist that happens to work in a business setting is still
debatable3. A balanced understanding of business strategies and knowledge of
effective communication is the key to success for professionals in the workplace
3 “To get an MBA or an MA in Communication? That is the question”. Pincus, David J. Communication
World Special Issue. February 1997.
Emerson College Facts
a) Client Hierarchy
Emerson College represents innovation and creativity in communication and
Within the graduate school of communication, the Communication
Management (CM), Health Communication (HC), Integrated Marketing
Communication (IMC), and Global Marketing Communication &
Advertising (GMCA) programs take marketing communications to a higher
level, molding a student body of critical thinking, strategic, and businessready communicators. They are categorized as Business Communication
These programs are positioned as an alternative to an MBA (“Does an MBA
really suit you?”)
o MBAs are considered to be a powerful tool to advance careers. As
applications to business schools have increased, Emerson’s position is
intended to appeal to the business-oriented student.
o Most students who pursue an MBA are not aware of other graduate
programs that better meet their career goals. Emerson is a solution for
individuals whose interests lie in creative pursuits.
c) Target Audience
Age: Students in Emerson’s business communication programs are young.
86% are 27 years old or below.
23 and below
23 and below
Source: Emerson Graduate Admissions
Undergraduate Major: Most business communication students have a
communications or liberal arts background.
Source: Emerson Graduate Admissions
d) Current Recruitment Tactics by Emerson Graduate Admissions
Recruit at graduate school fairs
o At 42 schools, including those with feeder programs, places with
high Emerson reputation, and those that are geographically close
GMAT/GRE test takers
o Based on their stated education objectives and areas of
concentration, as well as other demographic and test score criteria.
o In 2008, purchased 9,000 GRE list names.
Advertise in trade journals (mostly related to Fine Arts and Writing
Local Boston radio advertising (WERS/WBUR)
Metro newspaper in Boston (for continuing education programs)
Petersons Guide Listings
e) Recruitment Goals
f) Qualitative Research
Discussions with Current Students
Discussions with current students from Emerson College’s four graduate programs
brought about three key findings:
The main strengths of Emerson College graduate programs lie within its
geographic location in Boston; the focus on developing writing skills; and the
diversity of classes, both in terms of content and class composition, as it
accepts students from varying academic and work backgrounds, as well as
The primary weaknesses include the lack of parity between Emerson’s
programs and other master’s degrees, which makes it difficult for students to
explain their respective programs to outsiders; there is also cognitive
disconnect with the term ‘business communications’ and Emerson because of
its reputation as a creative school.
Emerson has a great reputation among undergraduate universities.
Undergraduate professors associate Emerson with advanced communication
techniques and recommend it as a graduate school for further studies.
Discussions with Graduate Program Directors
Discussions with the program directors from the four graduate programs in question
brought about three key findings:
Emerson College graduate marketing programs have a more specialized focus
than an MBA degree, but cover a larger breadth than an advertising master’s
Emerson College graduate programs provide both a strategic understanding
and creative application of marketing communications.
The students who fit best into Emerson graduate programs are proactive, selfstarters with a variety of interests, who take charge of their life and future.
g) Emerson College Graduate School SWOT Analysis
Satisfies the needs of a broad
audience with varying
educational and work
Highly credited and reputable
faculty with a strong
academic and professional
Offers well-rounded learning
Bad economy + increasing
globalization = demand for
Increasing number of GMAT
takers proves the desire and
need for higher education
Number of competitors is low
communications is still a new
No point of parity between
Emerson programs and other
Some confusion between
Due to the lack of a business
school image, the programs
have low credibility
Seen as a “small school” in
Low awareness outside of the
h) Positioning Analysis:
The current comparison between Emerson’s programs and an MBA is
o Admissions criteria into MBA programs require at least 2 years of
o Emerson does not require any work experience in order to be
o MBA programs are standardized and have accredited curriculum.
Emerson does not have an accredited MBA program, and the courses
required for MBAs are not all offered at Emerson.
o The association with an MBA creates expectations that graduates from
Emerson’s business communication programs will fill MBA positions.
The comparison with an MBA conflicts with the Emerson brand.
o Emerson is a communication-focused school that prepares its students
to become effective communicators in various environments. MBA
programs do not prepare their students to be communicators.
o Emerson does not have a business school affiliation or image; it is
primarily associated with the arts. The college is known for
innovation and creativity.
Emerson College graduate programs should:
Reflect the strengths of the Emerson brand.
o Emerson is a small, dynamic, and creative community. The school’s
small classes, diverse students and faculty, emphasis on creativity, and
focus on communication distinguish it from other universities. These
attributes create an atmosphere for graduate students to grow and
develop their talents that other universities cannot offer.
o Emerson has a strong sense of mentorship and collaboration. Students
work with professors and peers to develop a greater understanding and
application of course curriculum. Team and group projects are
common in Emerson’s programs because the school recognizes the
importance of being able to work in a group dynamic in order to be
successful in the workforce.
o The Boston location is a key strength for Emerson. Boston is thought
of as an educational hub. Emerson’s location in Boston boosts its
reputation as a distinguished school.
Distinguish the graduate programs as unique and specialized.
o The Business Communication graduate programs are more focused
than an MBA and broader than other master’s programs.
o The graduate programs emphasize both right and left-brain activities,
with a varying level of emphasis on the strategic and creative aspects
depending on each program.
o There is a balance between theoretical study and practical application.
Professors have a variety of backgrounds, ranging from academic to
o Emerson is a resource for its students.
Provides education and experience
Provides the ability to grow and improve personal and
o Emerson Graduate Programs give you the tools to sharpen your
critical thinking skills and become a business-ready communicator.
o Emerson offers a communications toolkit:
Tool #1: Communicate Strategically
Students develop consumer-focused marketing skills as a result
of professors that are specialists in the communication fields.
Tool #2: Think Creatively
Students learn to think creatively as a result of Emerson’s
Positioning of Programs
Programs range from Academic to Practical and from Broad to Specialized, and can
be charted as shown on the grid below:
Communication Management (CM): Emphasis on theory but has several
electives with broad application, such as Human Resources, Crisis
Management, Negotiation, and Stakeholder relations.
Health Communication (HC): Emphasis on theory and specialized to the
Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC): More practical than theoretical
and has various electives in which to specialize or attain a general knowledge
of Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations.
Global Marketing Communication and Advertising (GMCA): Emphasis on
practical applications and specialized with a global emphasis.
Educational background and work experience
o Difficult to set benchmarks for these criteria
o The ideal target would have a business or liberal arts background
with 2-4 years of work experience.
o However, there are no requirements for educational background or
work experience. Emerson tries to have a mix of backgrounds and
work experience because this increases the diversity of the student
population and encourages peer learning.
o An imbalance may negatively impact the experience of the
program; therefore graduate program directors must create their
classes carefully maintaining a balance of educational background
and work experience.
o From a targeting perspective, education and work background are
not the primary attributes to consider. There are certain attributes
that will indicate a match for the Emerson environment.
o Communicator: Emerson is school of communication. Students
who are already communicators will be able to build upon their
o Engaged: Students must be involved in the world around them,
and extremely interested in growing their knowledge base and
o Self Starter: Emerson is a place for “doers.” Emerson provides
the tools, but projects are the creation of the student.
o Multifaceted: Emerson is a school of diversity. Students have a
variety of interests and incorporate their interests and ideas into
courses and class discussions.
o Curious: The Emerson student is curious, wanting to learn more
about their field and about new trends and ideas.
o Communication Specialist: Emerson is a school known for its
communication emphasis. Students who attend Emerson for
graduate school have professional aspirations to become a
communication specialist in the area of their choice.
Special qualities for each program
o Communication Management: Students who want to use
communication as a way to raise social awareness and
o Health Communication: Students with a sense of altruism and
want to bring positive change the world
o IMC: Students that are business minded and can grasp the tools
provided by the program
o GMCA: Students with a global perspective
Attracting international students
Emerson has a diverse student body from around the world, and tries
to attract international students because they bring diverse perspectives
to the classroom. They have different work and educational
experiences that help the class as a whole.
The presence of international students in programs builds on
Emerson’s “Strategic Plan for Racial and Ethnic Diversity.” Emerson
aims to create a diverse student body in order to have globally aware
students and faculty.
The current number of international students in the business
communication graduate programs is approximately 60 students,
i.e.14.8% of students.
Currently the majority of international students come from Asia,
predominantly China and Taiwan.
Source: Emerson Graduate Admissions
Undergraduate Seniors: This group is primarily from a liberal arts school
and has no work experience. They have a bachelors’ degree, but are not
sure what to do next. This group is looking for a specialized advanced
degree in order to be seen as marketable in a world where advanced
degrees are necessary. In making a decision about graduate school, this
group is influenced by undergraduate professors and parents.
Mid-Career Marketers: This segment has been out of college for a few
years and has been working in the marketing industry. They occupy
entry-level or mid-manager positions but want to advance to higher
positions. They want a masters’ degree that will boost their career and
provide a theoretical basis for the practical knowledge they have. Their
employers as well as professional organizations, such as the AMA and the
PRSA, primarily influence this group.
Career Switchers: This segment has been out of college for a few years
and been working in a non-marketing industry. They are not happy in
their current job and have an interest in marketing. They are looking for a
master’s program that not only teaches them the academic side of
marketing, but also provides practical experiences in order to enter the
competitive marketing field. This group is also influenced by employers
and marketing organizations.
o Currently Emerson is drawing the majority of its foreign students from
Asia, specifically China and Taiwan. In order to increase diversity
Emerson should aim to increase its international student population
from 60 students to 80 students across all programs, and thus this
audience is a part of the overall segmentation strategy.
o Additionally, Emerson should try and achieve greater balance in
worldwide representation; Emerson College should focus on students
from Europe and Latin America, specifically drawing students from
countries that already send a lot of students to Emerson.
Europe: Germany and Greece
Latin America: Venezuela and Columbia
o It is important to note that international students who choose not
attend graduate school in the US often do so because of the financial
difficulties and difficulties getting information about graduate schools
and financial opportunities.
Based on the emotional mindset of each of the above target audiences, a common
emotional need can be identified across the targets:
Fear and uncertainty about the future
Desire to maximize personal and career potential
Thus, the messaging must:
1. Address the unifying emotional needs of fear, uncertainty, and desire to
maximize potential, while being customized to each target audience
2. Reflect the revised strategic positioning of Emerson College
Highlights all the factors that make Emerson a “Resource”
Avoids a direct comparison with MBA programs
Establishes marketing as a business discipline
Conveys that a graduate degree in marketing will equip the target with
the skills to become a “business-ready communicator”.
3. Reflect Emerson’s heritage and commitment to bringing “innovation to
communication and the arts”
Customized Message By Audience
International Students Message
International Students often want to attend graduate school in the United States
because graduate education in the US is considered to be high quality and
provide practical value in preparing people for careers. Additionally, there may
be political or cultural reasons that may drive young people to pursue an
education in the U.S.
Messaging in international students should address these concerns, as well as
those unique to each country.
Purchase Funnel Analysis
Overall Purchase Funnel
Inquiries ‐ 1,909
increase number of
Largest drop off is from
inquiry to application.
Applications ‐ 386
20% of inquiries
Accepted ‐ 264
68% of applications Improvements can be
Enrolled ‐ 138
52% of accepted
made to increase
number of accepted
students who enroll.
The weakest points in the funnel are found in the Inquiry to Application Stage and
the Accepted to Enrolled stage.
The drop from inquiry to application is approximately 80%.
The drop from Accepted to Enrolled is approximately 50%.
These drops suggest “leaks” in the marketing strategies used by Emerson
Graduate Admissions during these stages.
Marketing & Communication Objectives
Based on the purchase funnel analysis, the key marketing objective is:
to manage the purchase funnel more effectively to retain the maximum number of
prospective students at each stage.
Additional communication objectives and strategies can be derived from this key
marketing objective, in order to address the various “leaks” at different stages of the
Communication Strategies & Tactics
Increase coverage among targeted audiences
a. Undergraduate Seniors
1. Attend graduate school fairs in 47 feeder schools (see appendix for selection
Booth & Posters.
Distribute information material about Emerson and
Feeder schools are a targeted access to reach prospective
students that have a related background and mindset for
Emerson’s graduate programs.
2. Create a speaker tour for 20 key schools in New England & Mid-Atlantic
Work with career offices to create “Emerson Event” during
career fair weeks.
Send admissions team, GPDs, existing students, and
accomplished local alumni.
Describe and promote all programs with Q&A, info session,
48% students come from New England, 9% from New York.
A more concerted effort in these regions will likely yield
better results. Chance for Emerson College to explain the
programs, create awareness, and establish brand expertise
3. Run print ads in 12 college newspapers
Advertise in schools with competing programs and most
targeted student body
Run 1/4 PG BW ads
College students are engaged with their newspapers; they read
it regularly and pay attention to the advertising for relevant
92 % of college students have read their daily college
newspaper in the past month;
44% state that campus newspaper advertising is information
they read and seek out;
73% of readers say they look at the advertisements in their
61% report that they tell a friend about something they saw in
the campus paper; 55% attended an event as a result of
something they read, while over 40% saved an article or ad
for future reference and 36% continued to research products
or services online after reading it in print.
Source: Alloy Media & Marketing
3x in Fall semester (monthly)
4. Attend student competitions
Undergraduate seniors & parents
National Forensics Tournament (Debate) (March):
Emerson booth, signage, distribute signage – create awareness
Distribute Emerson branded water bottles for thirsty students!
American Advertising Federation Conference (June):
National Student Advertising Competition & Recruiters Expo
Booth, brochures, signage
Emerson booth, signage, distribute signage
Targeted access in student-friendly, relevant environment.
Passionate, high-achiever “Emersonians” are likely to be
active with national competitions. Opportunity to be relevant
March & June
5. Purchase test lists
Continue purchasing GRE list names, but reduce from 9,000
names to 5,000. Instead add names from GMAT (5,000) and
Degree Objective: MBA, MHA, MPH
Intended Concentration: Health Care Administration,
International Business, Marketing, Public
Administration, Public Policy
Undergraduate GPA: 3.0-4.0
GMAT Total score: 400-800
All ages, going to northeast/undecided US
Targeted access to those considering graduate studies. GMAT
test takers considering business school and could benefit from
Emerson programs. LSAT test takers are often natural
communicators; attributes overlap with “Emersonian”.
All year round
6. Increase presence on Gradschools.com
Optimize presence on Gradschools.com:
Purchase presence on “Featured Graduate Programs”
on home page to increase overall brand awareness for
Emerson programs to increase awareness for specific
programs on credible website
Pay for “Sponsored Links” as part of search results for
Advertising & Public Relations (IMC, GMCA)
Communication Management (CM)
Corporate Communication (CM)
Health Communication (HC)
Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC, GMCA)
Marketing (Business) (IMC, GMCA)
Undergraduates are heavy users of Internet and use it as a
research tool. Gradschools.com is considered a credible
source of information.
September – January
7. Increase presence in US News & World Report key issues
Undergraduate seniors & their parents
Run 1x FP4C ad in USN&WR
September issue (America’s Best Colleges), May issue
(Best Grad Schools)
Only Boston Metro circulation
USN&WR is considered industry expert in academic
rankings. They are a great source of credible information for
undergraduates and their parents.
The Boston Metro “regional buy” requires lower out-ofpocket cost, has a targeted audience and is a good way to test
September & May
8. Advertise in Trade Journals
American Marketing Association
Journal of Marketing
Journal of Marketing Research
Journal of International Marketing
Journal of Public Policy & Marketing
Public Relations Society of America
Public Relations Journal
Targeted towards practicing experts and academics in the
field; halo endorsement of credibility from magazines.
Fall is key advising period for seniors deciding what to do
September – October
b. Mid-Careers & Career Switchers
1. Presence at industry conferences
Mid-careers & Career-Switchers
PRSA International Conference: Different Cities (Oct/Nov)
Networking opportunity; offers pre-conference
workshops and Master’s classes:
attract mid-career marketing professionals interested in
learning more/continuing education
GPDs could hold a workshop
Use Emerson PRSSA students as event volunteers
AMA Non-profit Marketing Boot Camp: Boston (May)
Offers introduction to marketing fundamentals; likely
attracts new professionals interested in part-time
degree or career switchers
Can target based in Boston area (also available in
Chicago and DC)
GPDs could teach, have a booth
Use Emerson AMA members are event volunteers
Build credibility within business environment for industry
2. Increase Search Engine Results Online
Mid-careers & Career Switchers (also undergraduate seniors,
international students, and influencers)
Optimize websites so Emerson shows up during more natural
For those keywords that currently do not deliver Emerson
Programs through natural search, buy ads:
• Master's in marketing communication
• Masters in marketing communication
• MA in marketing and advertising
• Boston masters in marketing
• Masters in healthcommunication
• Masters in communicationmanagement
• Masters in organizationalcommunication
• Masters in international marketingcommunications
• Masters in international advertising
• Integrated Marketing Communication
• Health Communication
• International Marketing
• Communication Management
• Global Marketing
Mid-career and career switchers are likely to do a lot of their
research online. Optimizing keywords is important as there is
a variety of possible word combinations that prospects would
Google is the most popular search engine.
September – January
3. Advertising Education Foundation Programs
Mid-careers & Career Switchers
Visiting Professors Program
Place advertising and marketing professors inside ad agencies
for eight days, where they can get real-life experience in how
the business works (lectures, discussion forums, exchange of
Inside Advertising Speakers Program
Get agency and marketing executives into classrooms to talk
about the issues and their experiences and answer student
Partnership with this organization would position Emerson
faculty as opinion leaders and experts in the academic side of
marketing. It emphasizes Emerson’s positioning in terms of
balance between theory and practice.
The visiting professors program would expose Emerson
faculty and programs to mid-career marketing professionals;
and establish Emerson as credible in the business world.
The inside advertising speakers program would introduce
agencies to Emerson programs and make them realize the
value of hiring graduate students from Emerson.
All year round
c. International Students
1. Attend international student fairs
Become a member in the AVAA (Asociacion Americana de
Amistad), a non-profit company that helps Venezuelans to
study in USA and Canada. Benefits are the opportunity to be
present in their Educational International Fair, have
information about Emerson on AVAA website and receive
monthly a database of Venezuelans potential target audience.
Linden tours in the capital Bogota.
Study World - International Fair for Higher Education,
Avanti – International Fair, Berlin (June)
International Exhibition on Education (Maroussi)
U.S. University Fair (Athens)
International students fair are a good way to reach
prospective students that consider going abroad but are
unsure about exactly where to go.
May, June; all year round
2. Establish contacts with international offices at universities
Establish contacts with universities that offer related liberal
arts degrees in communication.
Stuttgart Media University
Technical University Ilmenau
University of applied sciences Wiesbaden
Students use their international office often as information
source before going abroad. Contact with these offices is a
good way to distribute information about Emerson.
All year round
Demonstrate value of Emerson College and excite prospective students
1. Increase human touch
Undergraduate seniors, parents, mid-careers & careerswitchers
Make more use of already available tools and expand them
for all programs. Promote these contact opportunities more
Have more current students from all graduate programs
Assign students from specific program that matches the
interest of prospective students
Graduate Program Director Visits
Make it available for all programs.
Allow students to audit/visit classes to observe and better
understand the Emerson experience.
Encourage current students to bring prospective to visit class.
Make this available for all programs.
Eat & Greets
Organize an event for each program at a local
restaurant/diner so prospects can come and meet
GPDs/current students/alumni in an informal setting and
discuss Emerson’s programs.
Individual contact is the best way to convey a targeted and
comprehensive message specific to the needs of a prospective
Having someone personally help you through the information
gathering process is likely to increase the chance of an
A personal experience on campus gives prospective students
also a chance to “test” the Emerson way. This is an important
factor as education is an experience good.
All year round, except Eat & Greets from January – March
$2,000 (Eat & Greets only)
2. Use Web 2.0 tools
Undergraduate seniors, international students, mid-careers &
Use the Web 2.0 tools described below, keep them up-to-date
and split maintenance as follows:
1. Admissions office
General questions about Emerson (positioning,
finance, facilities, etc.) and Boston (networking, city
location). General information updates.
2. Graduate assistants & student ambassadors
Answer specific questions about the programs and
give personal insights about live at Emerson. Program
Show how program has helped them for their career
Monitor all feedback channels (~10min. daily)!
Main responsibility: Admissions & Graduate assistants.
Follow-up with students that inquired information
(use their preferred contact method!)
Fan pages, Alumni pages, Program groups
Links to Twitter, YouTube, Linked In, Flickr, Blogs
Pictures of current students / life at Emerson
Post updates about upcoming events, conference
presence, professor accomplishments, etc.
Create ECGradAdmissions account
Start “following” prospects to answer questions
Update with information on info sessions, open
houses, events, etc
Photos of students, alumni, GPDs, guest speakers
Expand on existing blogs and ensure that there is one
timely blog for each program
Give current trends in their respective industries,
important current events, etc
Updates about admissions deadlines and requirements
Alumni comments about their respective programs
Prospects can request to join group; accepted members
should be given password to iTunes U
Emerson College Graduate School channel
GPD videos introducing the program, talking about
Alumni videos with interviews/comments from alums
talking about their experience before, during and after
Information about how their Masters from Emerson
differentiates them in the market and makes them an
Montage videos of current students in each of the 4
programs, life at Emerson, first hand experiences
Sample lectures from each of the 4 programs
GPD, Alumni, and current student videos
Tours of facilities, e.g. focus group rooms, Will and
Most students and young working professionals use web 2.0
tools. Prospects can be pulled in via tactics that allow them to
find information easily. This allows communicating the
positioning of Emerson College and the graduate programs
more emotionally and efficiently.
These tools tie also into the overall Emerson brand as
innovator in the field of communication.
All year round
3. Create engaging initial information package
Add engaging and exciting aspects to the existing information
Include examples faculty published works
Adds credibility to the faculty and increases prospect
awareness of Emerson’s impact on the industry as a
Include detailed description of how the program will benefit prospects
Similar to Health Comm
“Life at at Emerson College” View-book
Enhance current view book through personal student
pictures and quotes from alumni and faculty
List of Web 2.0 tactics
Shows that Emerson is actively present online and in
touch with modern marketing communication tools
Increases awareness and word of mouth
Also include iTunesU login and password for exclusive
Send two small containers of Play-Doh (in Emerson
colors of purple and yellow) to reflect Emerson
branding as resource for tools to build a bright future
Labeled with Emerson logo and tagline, “Giving you
the tools to mold your future”
Expresses Emerson’s creative community, makes the
Encourage prospects to build some creative with the
Play-Doh, and upload pictures to Emerson Flickr
account to share with other students (provide login and
Including creative tools in the information package helps to
establish an emotional connection to prospective students and
delivers the main positioning message.
All year round (whenever inquiries are made)
$500 for Play Doh (remaining from separate budget)
Remind prospective students about their emotional connection with
Emerson (all audiences)
1. Increase relevant human contact
All accepted students
Send acceptance emails to students instead of snail mail
Best way to communicate on a global scale (consider
infrastructure in other countries)
Appear more current and connect with students faster
on a more personal basis
Send a customized department email template to create
a more personal connection
Include all web 2.0 connection points to give them
access to people who will answer their questions
GPD phone calls
Explain program strengths and how it may be
beneficial for the student
Promote web 2.0 tactics
Put them in touch with program alumni to help answer
Get feedback on application process
Increasing human contact and thus an emotional connection
increases the desire to go to Emerson and makes it more
difficult to deny the offer.
April – May
2. Provide reminders about Emerson advantages
All accepted students
Send short endorsement from Emerson alumni explaining how
Emerson helped them succeed in marketing:
Chris Montan (President, Walt Disney Music)
Denise Kaigler (VP, Marketing & Corporate Affairs,
Bobbi Brown (CEO, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics)
Include visuals of Boston to entice based on campus location and local
e.g. Boston Common, Fenway Park etc.
Positive examples and emotional visual will increase the
motivation to study at Emerson and provides an additional
incentive to come to Boston.
April – May
Integrate the admissions page into the main website. Having multiple pages
Focus on the usability and architecture of the website. From the
perspective of a prospective student, the Emerson website is unfamiliar. The
site needs to be easy to use from a first time user’s perspective. If prospects
are not able to easily find the information they are looking for, they will not
inquire or apply.
Website content should reflect the Emerson brand. Emerson is unique
school offering unique programs. The website should reflect the overall
positioning of Emerson as well as the positioning and uniqueness of each
program. Videos of alumni, current students, and faculty can help emphasis
these points as well as make the website more interactive.
Update the website regularly. Creating content that is interactive and
consistently updated will bring students back to the website.
Integrate multiple channels of contact options. This can include: telephone
numbers, live chat options, Skype video and chat options (especially helpful
for international students), Facebook, Twitter, an Emerson Graduate
Admissions Youtube channel, blogs, lectures on iTunesU, photos on Flickr,
and Linked In groups to connect prospects with current students and alumni.
Follow up. Use inquiry form to gather information and ask for preferred
method of contact. Provide Twitter name to all inquirers.
Measure. On inquiry form, ask how the person found out about Emerson
and use the data to determine which media is most effective.
Include opportunities for applicants to provide feedback on the application
process. The “Application Process” survey should include detailed questions
that ask about prospect interaction/response/opinions on all recommended
There are three areas of the purchase funnel that need to be evaluated to measure the
success of this communication plan:
Generating Inquiries: The first goal is to increase the number of inquiries to
the Emerson graduate programs. To reach this goal, this plan has listed
several tactics. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of these tactics, the
number of inquiries for the current year should be compared with the number
of inquires after these tactics have been implemented. An increase in the
number of inquires would signal a success. It is recommended that
prospective students fill out a “How did you hear about Emerson” question in
the inquiry form in order to determine which tactics are the most effective.
Converting Inquiries to Applications: The second goal is to increase the
percentage of inquiries to applications. To measure the success of tactics
specified for this goal, the percent of applications from inquiries would
increase when compared to the percent of previous year before the
implementation of the tactics. In order to best understand which tactics work,
a questionnaire would be sent to all applicants in order to determine which
tactics were the most beneficial.
Increasing Enrollment: The final goal is to increase the percent of student
who enroll after being accepted. To determine the effectiveness of the tactics,
admissions will compare the percent of enrolled after implementing these
tactics to the percent of enrolled prior to using the tactics, in order to
determine if they were successful.
*Exact costs not available due to costs varying on case-by-case basis, or due to lack of vendor response to cost
inquiry; applied best estimate based on comparative media costs.
Schedule A – College Newspaper Cost
Source: Media Kits from Individual Newspaper Websites
Schedule B – Professional Journals Costs
Source: Media Kits from Individual Journal Websites
*Exact costs not available due to lack of vendor response to cost inquiry; applied best estimate based on
comparative media costs.
Schedule C – Google AdWords’ Keyword Sponsored Links
Source: Google AdWords
Individual Program SWOT Analysis
a) Communication Management
Main emphasis is one
application, with some theory
courses as well
Option to complete a master’s
thesis or a capstone project
No real focus in the program
Website is unclear, it does not
describe possible careers in an
Provides people who are
unsure of a career in
communications a broad look
at the field
Most professors within the
department have PhDs and
Option of full or part time
enrollment allows students to
have a job
Name of the program creates
Other programs are more
specialized, allowing for a
closer look at a specific part of
b) Health Communication
Joint program with Tufts
medical school adds
Provides training in medical
Offers summer prerequisite
courses for people without a
Comparable with an MPH
Alternative option for
students with an interest in
health without the hassle of
Offers a lot of hands-on,
practical experience which is
vital in the health industry
Many students go for an
Classes focus on
communication rather than
Tufts already has a Health
specialization within their
Boston houses some of the
most well-reputed health and
medicine programs in the
Emerson is seen as an arts
and communications school,
courses in health can be seen
as a disconnect
c) Integrated Marketing Communication
Options for both full and part
Students have a variety of
educational and professional
Flexibility and options in
terms of classes and a final
Gives people without work
experience a chance to earn
More focused than an MBA
More comprehensive than an
advertising or public relations
Unclear difference between
GMCA and IMC
Concentrations are very broad
Emerson does not have a
business school image
Lots of competing programs
A two year commitment is
too much for some people
d) Global Marketing Communication & Advertising
One year, intensive program
High number of international
Accredited by the
Cost for one year is
equivalent than that of other
two year programs
Due to globalization in the
working world, knowledge of
tactics is becoming
Opportunity for people
without any work experience
to earn a master’s degree
No requirement for work
experience can limit
Low level of awareness
Purchase Funnel by Program
Source: Emerson Graduate Admissions