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Maximizing the Emerson College Purchase Funnel - Complete Marketing Plan

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  • 1. Emerson
College
Graduate
Admissions
 Marketing
Plan,
May
2009
 
 TEAM
INVISION
 Gabriela
Escalona,
Aprile
Keith,
Sonam
Sagar,
Benjamin
Schwarz,
Zeenat
Rasheed,
&
Wakaba
 Yamagata
 Global
Marketing
Communication
&
Advertising
Capstone

 Spring
2009

  • 2. 
 
 Table of Contents SITUATION ANALYSIS .................................................................................................3 POSITIONING .............................................................................................................. 11 TARGET AUDIENCE ................................................................................................... 14 MESSAGING STRATEGY............................................................................................ 19 PURCHASE FUNNEL ANALYSIS ............................................................................... 24 MARKETING & COMMUNICATION OBJECTIVES .................................................. 26 COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES & TACTICS ......................................................... 27 EVALUATION .............................................................................................................. 48 OVERALL BUDGET ..................................................................................................... 49 APPENDIX .................................................................................................................... 52
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 2

  • 3. 
 Situation Analysis I. 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 bachelor’s degree. 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. II. Workplace Trends 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 today. 























































 1
www.kaplan.com
 2
www.mbainfo/new_page/interessenten/recruitment_trends.php
 3
“To
get
an
MBA
or
an
MA
in
Communication?
That
is
the
question”.
Pincus,
David
J.
Communication
 World
Special
Issue.
February
1997.
 
 3

  • 4. 
 III. Emerson College Facts a) Client Hierarchy • • Emerson College represents innovation and creativity in communication and the arts. 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 programs. 
 4

  • 5. 
 b) Positioning • 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. 28‐29
 5%
 30+
 9%
 23
and
below
 30%
 26‐27
 23%
 24‐25
 33%
 23
and
below
 24‐25
 Source: Emerson Graduate Admissions 
 5
 26‐27
 28‐29
 30+

  • 6. 
 • 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 together. 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 programs) Local Boston radio advertising (WERS/WBUR) Metro newspaper in Boston (for continuing education programs) Petersons Guide Listings 
 6

  • 7. 
 e) Recruitment Goals Communication Management 25 Students Health Communication 20 Students IMC 65 Students 
 7
 GMCA 42 Students
  • 8. 
 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 different countries. • 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 degree. • 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. 
 8

  • 9. 
 g) Emerson College Graduate School SWOT Analysis Strengths • • • • • • • Weaknesses Specializes in communications Satisfies the needs of a broad audience with varying educational and work backgrounds Highly credited and reputable faculty with a strong academic and professional backgrounds Offers well-rounded learning experience Opportunities • Bad economy + increasing globalization = demand for postgraduate degree Increasing number of GMAT takers proves the desire and need for higher education Number of competitors is low since marketing communications is still a new area • • No point of parity between Emerson programs and other master’s degrees Some confusion between programs Threats • • 
 9
 Due to the lack of a business school image, the programs have low credibility Seen as a “small school” in Boston Low awareness outside of the communications industry
  • 10. 
 h) Positioning Analysis: • The current comparison between Emerson’s programs and an MBA is inaccurate. o Admissions criteria into MBA programs require at least 2 years of work experience. o Emerson does not require any work experience in order to be admitted. 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. 
 10

  • 11. 
 Positioning I. Strategic Criteria 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 professional. 
 11

  • 12. 
 II. Recommended Positioning • Overarching theme o Emerson is a resource for its students.  Provides education and experience  Provides the ability to grow and improve personal and professional skills • Positioning statement 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 creative environment. 
 12

  • 13. 
 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 health industry. • 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. 
 13

  • 14. 
 Target Audience I. Demographic Considerations • 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. Psychographic Considerations • The “Emersonian” 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 skills. o Engaged: Students must be involved in the world around them, and extremely interested in growing their knowledge base and skills. 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. 
 14

  • 15. 
 • Special qualities for each program o Communication Management: Students who want to use communication as a way to raise social awareness and understanding 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 
 15

  • 16. 
 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 
 16

  • 17. 
 Segmentation Strategy • 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. 
 17

  • 18. 
 • International Students 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. 
 18

  • 19. 
 Messaging Strategy I. Consumer Insight Based on the emotional mindset of each of the above target audiences, a common emotional need can be identified across the targets:   II. Fear and uncertainty about the future Desire to maximize personal and career potential Messaging Criteria 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” 
 19

  • 20. 
 III. Customized Message By Audience IV. 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. 
 20

  • 21. 
 V. Sample Creative: Undergraduate Seniors 
 21

  • 22. 
 VI. Sample Creative: Mid-Career Marketers 
 22

  • 23. 
 VII. Sample Creative: Career Switchers 
 23

  • 24. 
 Purchase Funnel Analysis I. Overall Purchase Funnel Inquiries
‐
1,909

 100%
 Opportunity
to
 increase
number
of
 inquiries.
 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. 
 24

  • 25. 
 II. Stage-by-Stage Tactical Analysis 
 25

  • 26. 
 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 purchase funnel: Consideration
 Inquiry
 
 26
 Application
 Acceptance
 Enrollment

  • 27. 
 Communication Strategies & Tactics I. Increase coverage among targeted audiences a. Undergraduate Seniors 1. Attend graduate school fairs in 47 feeder schools (see appendix for selection strategy) Target Audience Undergraduate seniors Execution Booth & Posters. Distribute information material about Emerson and programs. Rationale Feeder schools are a targeted access to reach prospective students that have a related background and mindset for Emerson’s graduate programs. Timing September-January Budget $4,700 
 27

  • 28. 
 2. Create a speaker tour for 20 key schools in New England & Mid-Atlantic regions Target Audience Undergraduate seniors Execution 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, and materials. Rationale 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 Timing September-January Budget $5,000 
 28

  • 29. 
 3. Run print ads in 12 college newspapers Target Audience Undergraduate seniors Execution Advertise in schools with competing programs and most targeted student body Run 1/4 PG BW ads Rationale College students are engaged with their newspapers; they read it regularly and pay attention to the advertising for relevant information. 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 college paper. 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 Timing 3x in Fall semester (monthly) Budget $ 10,786 
 29

  • 30. 
 4. Attend student competitions Target Audience Undergraduate seniors & parents Execution 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 Rationale Targeted access in student-friendly, relevant environment. Passionate, high-achiever “Emersonians” are likely to be active with national competitions. Opportunity to be relevant and memorable. Timing March & June Budget $2,000 
 30

  • 31. 
 5. Purchase test lists Target Audience Undergraduate seniors Execution Continue purchasing GRE list names, but reduce from 9,000 names to 5,000. Instead add names from GMAT (5,000) and LSAT (1,000). Rationale Recommended Filters: • 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”. Timing All year round Budget $5,800 
 31

  • 32. 
 6. Increase presence on Gradschools.com Target Audience Undergraduate seniors Execution 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 following programs: Advertising & Public Relations (IMC, GMCA) Communication Management (CM) Corporate Communication (CM) Health Communication (HC) Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC, GMCA) Marketing (Business) (IMC, GMCA) Rationale Undergraduates are heavy users of Internet and use it as a research tool. Gradschools.com is considered a credible source of information. Timing September – January Budget $3,000 
 32

  • 33. 
 7. Increase presence in US News & World Report key issues Target Audience Undergraduate seniors & their parents Execution Run 1x FP4C ad in USN&WR • • Rationale 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 the publications. Timing September & May Budget $11,460 
 33

  • 34. 
 8. Advertise in Trade Journals Target Audience Undergraduate Professors Execution American Marketing Association • Journal of Marketing • Journal of Marketing Research • Journal of International Marketing • Journal of Public Policy & Marketing Rationale 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 after graduation. Timing September – October Budget $7,390 
 34

  • 35. 
 b. Mid-Careers & Career Switchers 1. Presence at industry conferences Target Audience Mid-careers & Career-Switchers Execution 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 Rationale 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 professionals. Timing May, October/November Budget $1,600 
 35

  • 36. 
 2. Increase Search Engine Results Online Target Audience Mid-careers & Career Switchers (also undergraduate seniors, international students, and influencers) Execution Optimize websites so Emerson shows up during more natural search. Rationale 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 • IMC • 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 use. Google is the most popular search engine. Timing September – January Budget $ 1,093 
 36

  • 37. 
 3. Advertising Education Foundation Programs Target Audience Mid-careers & Career Switchers Execution 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 ideas). Inside Advertising Speakers Program Get agency and marketing executives into classrooms to talk about the issues and their experiences and answer student questions. Rationale 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. Timing All year round Budget Free 
 37

  • 38. 
 c. International Students 1. Attend international student fairs Target Audience International students Execution Venezuela 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. Colombia Linden tours in the capital Bogota. Germany EducationUSA Events Study World - International Fair for Higher Education, Berlin(May) Avanti – International Fair, Berlin (June) Greece International Exhibition on Education (Maroussi) U.S. University Fair (Athens) Rationale International students fair are a good way to reach prospective students that consider going abroad but are unsure about exactly where to go. Timing May, June; all year round Budget $4,450 
 38

  • 39. 
 2. Establish contacts with international offices at universities Target Audience International students Execution Establish contacts with universities that offer related liberal arts degrees in communication. E.g. Germany: Stuttgart Media University Pforzheim University Technical University Ilmenau University of applied sciences Wiesbaden Rationale 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. Timing All year round Budget Free 
 39

  • 40. 
 II. Demonstrate value of Emerson College and excite prospective students (all audiences) 1. Increase human touch Target Audience Undergraduate seniors, parents, mid-careers & careerswitchers Execution Make more use of already available tools and expand them for all programs. Promote these contact opportunities more prominently. Open House Have more current students from all graduate programs participating. Personalized Tours Assign students from specific program that matches the interest of prospective students Graduate Program Director Visits Make it available for all programs. Class Visits 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. Rationale Individual contact is the best way to convey a targeted and comprehensive message specific to the needs of a prospective student. Having someone personally help you through the information gathering process is likely to increase the chance of an 
 40

  • 41. 
 application. 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. Timing All year round, except Eat & Greets from January – March Budget $2,000 (Eat & Greets only) 
 41

  • 42. 
 2. Use Web 2.0 tools Target Audience Undergraduate seniors, international students, mid-careers & career-switchers Execution 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 specific updates. 3. Alumni Show how program has helped them for their career and personally. Monitor all feedback channels (~10min. daily)! Main responsibility: Admissions & Graduate assistants. Follow-up with students that inquired information (use their preferred contact method!) Responsibility: Admissions. Facebook • 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. Twitter • Create ECGradAdmissions account • Start “following” prospects to answer questions • Update with information on info sessions, open houses, events, etc Flickr • Photos of students, alumni, GPDs, guest speakers • Campus, facilities Program Blogs • Expand on existing blogs and ensure that there is one 
 42

  • 43. 
 timely blog for each program • Give current trends in their respective industries, important current events, etc • Updates about admissions deadlines and requirements Linked In • Alumni groups • Alumni comments about their respective programs • Prospects can request to join group; accepted members should be given password to iTunes U YouTube Channel • Emerson College Graduate School channel • GPD videos introducing the program, talking about classes • Alumni videos with interviews/comments from alums talking about their experience before, during and after Emerson. Information about how their Masters from Emerson differentiates them in the market and makes them an asset • Montage videos of current students in each of the 4 programs, life at Emerson, first hand experiences iTunes U • Sample lectures from each of the 4 programs • Campus tours • GPD, Alumni, and current student videos • Tours of facilities, e.g. focus group rooms, Will and Grace set Rationale 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. Timing All year round Budget Free 
 43

  • 44. 
 3. Create engaging initial information package Target Audience All inquirers Execution Add engaging and exciting aspects to the existing information package: Include examples faculty published works • Adds credibility to the faculty and increases prospect awareness of Emerson’s impact on the industry as a whole 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 content Emerson Play-Doh • 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 school memorable • 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 password) Including creative tools in the information package helps to establish an emotional connection to prospective students and delivers the main positioning message. Rationale Timing All year round (whenever inquiries are made) Budget $500 for Play Doh (remaining from separate budget) 
 44

  • 45. 
 III. Remind prospective students about their emotional connection with Emerson (all audiences) 1. Increase relevant human contact Target Audience All accepted students Execution 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 questions • 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. Rationale Timing April – May Budget Free 
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  • 46. 
 2. Provide reminders about Emerson advantages Target Audience All accepted students Execution 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, Nintendo) • Bobbi Brown (CEO, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics) Rationale Include visuals of Boston to entice based on campus location and local features: 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. Timing April – May Budget Free 
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 IV. Website Recommendations: • Integrate the admissions page into the main website. Having multiple pages creates confusion. • 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 tactics. 
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 Evaluation 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. 
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 Overall Budget *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. 
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 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. 
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 Schedule C – Google AdWords’ Keyword Sponsored Links Source: Google AdWords 
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 Appendix I. Individual Program SWOT Analysis a) Communication Management Strengths • • • Weaknesses Very customizable Main emphasis is one application, with some theory courses as well Option to complete a master’s thesis or a capstone project • • • Opportunities • • • Very broad No real focus in the program Website is unclear, it does not describe possible careers in an effective way Threats Provides people who are unsure of a career in communications a broad look at the field Most professors within the department have PhDs and Masters degrees Option of full or part time enrollment allows students to have a job • • 
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 Name of the program creates confusion Other programs are more specialized, allowing for a closer look at a specific part of communications
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 b) Health Communication Strengths • • • • • • Weaknesses Joint program with Tufts medical school adds credibility Provides training in medical communication Offers summer prerequisite courses for people without a science/medical background Opportunities • Comparable with an MPH Alternative option for students with an interest in health without the hassle of medical school Offers a lot of hands-on, practical experience which is vital in the health industry • • Many students go for an MPH instead Classes focus on communication rather than health Threats • • 
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 Tufts already has a Health Communications specialization within their MPH program Boston houses some of the most well-reputed health and medicine programs in the nation Emerson is seen as an arts and communications school, courses in health can be seen as a disconnect
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 c) Integrated Marketing Communication Strengths • • • • • • Weaknesses Options for both full and part time enrollment Students have a variety of educational and professional backgrounds Flexibility and options in terms of classes and a final thesis Opportunities • Gives people without work experience a chance to earn master’s degree More focused than an MBA More comprehensive than an advertising or public relations masters degree • • • Unclear difference between GMCA and IMC Concentrations are very broad Very costly Threats • • 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 Strengths • • • Weaknesses One year, intensive program High number of international students Accredited by the International Advertising Agency • • Opportunities • • • No flexibility Cost for one year is equivalent than that of other two year programs Threats Practical application opportunities Due to globalization in the working world, knowledge of international communications tactics is becoming increasingly important Opportunity for people without any work experience to earn a master’s degree • • 
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 No requirement for work experience can limit knowledge Low level of awareness
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 II. Purchase Funnel by Program Source: Emerson Graduate Admissions 
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 III. Feeder School Selection 
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