When Data and Bold Creative Converge to Create a Competitive Advantage
By diving into audience insights, we helped WSU understand their students, tell their story and move into the digital space.
To learn about current and prospective students and alumni at both WSU and WSU-Rochester we did market research and completed a brand awareness and perception study. We asked persona-driven questions, learning which themes and messages would resonate. The data helped us develop campaign concepts that supported brand development.
Concepting — integral to our comprehensive process — laid the foundation of our work. We developed a campaign that told the WSU story in a way that resonated with all prospective students through a single overarching campaign concept, but with a tailored approach that conveyed the uniqueness of each location. We created three concepts, each with a cohesive story arc that tied together all online and offline marketing and advertising campaign efforts. Although the first two themes embodied WSU’s students and dynamic campus, the third concept, “Choose to Wonder”, was a perfect fit for WSU’s audiences and truly embodied the WSU experience.”
“Choose to Wonder” came to life in collaboration with WSU’s admissions and marketing teams. Through numerous conversations with students and faculty, we realized a common theme: self-discovery. We created the concept to convey the experience of exploration. To choose is a concrete, definitive act. To wonder is an abstract, instinctual gesture. Therefore, when you “Choose to Wonder,” you are acting definitively and thinking creatively. It’s the perfect metaphor for the WSU experience. The concept was a hit with faculty and staff, and MediaCross brought the concept to life through new marketing strategies that we adapted based on WSU’s unique needs.
We developed a plan for achieving WSU’s goals and expanded their visual identity to direct mail campaigns, email templates, an acceptance packet, digital advertising, viewbook, program brochures and more. We had to be flexible and re-strategize WSU’s print pieces completely. Each print piece created for WSU had to deliver critical messaging and highlight key reasons why students should choose to be a #Warrior. By breaking things down into “sprints” with specific projects and tasks, we were able to get more accomplished faster and with greater success. Our plan became the roadmap for achieving goals and guiding decisions.
WSU’s big, printed housing information packet conveyed information, but at a high production price and with little-to-no-way to know ROI. It also had a dated look which needed to be refreshed. Rather than sending a big, costly packet, we sent a single postcard that directed students and their parents to visit an online microsite that conveyed the same information.
Additionally, when developing the production specifications for each piece, MediaCross carefully considered the folds, paper weights, and more in conjunction with WSU’s in-house printing capabilities to ensure the final pieces were not costly to produce or mail.
We moved WSU’s recruitment efforts into the digital space, launching a multi-tactic digital campaign to push students through the funnel. Our customized, comprehensive, 12-month media plan used pay-per-click advertising by strategically targeting keywords and audience types to tap into the many online searches prospects do when researching colleges; IP targeting to quickly get WSU’s message in front of the right audience at the right time; display advertising; email marketing (including email template creation); and social advertising on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook to increase awareness, applications and ultimately yield.
We created two printed viewbooks—one geared towards traditional freshman, the other tailored to the unique needs of students at WSU’s Rochester campus.
In lieu of a costly printed booklet, we moved student housing information to a digital microsite. A postcard was mailed to students, informing them of the new site.
A comprehensive digital campaign, including these display ads, was an integral part of our marketing strategy for WSU.
This unique print piece, with a tear-off coupon for the campus store, was created as part of Winona’s recruitment toolkit.
We created an infographic handout for graduate studies and transfer students, to pair with the with the Rochester campus viewbook.
From concepting to publication redesign to digital marketing to market research, MediaCross was able to help WSU and WSU-Rochester increase brand awareness via a cohesive story that helped grow visits and applications—graduate applications alone increased by 73% and visits are also up 30% year-over-year.
The brand study gave WSU a new world of audience understanding, furnishing them with new data that provided the basis for our solutions and has set us up for the next concepting cycle.
Our digital marketing efforts increased click-through-rates (CTRs) on mobile and desktop devices. We saw one of the highest desktop CTRs of any of our higher education clients.
WSU saved money by increasing and improving its digital marketing and advertising efforts and scaling back costly productions of printed pieces.
Our online and offline efforts brought more students into the funnel. With PPC advertising, we drastically increased the odds that students searching online for colleges would land on WSU’s website.
The days of relying on non-trackable, traditional media are well behind WSU. Our multi-tactic digital campaign enables WSU to track ROI automatically, quickly measuring campaign effectiveness and quantifying results.
Increased brand awareness had a snowball effect, growing WSU’s audience exponentially; the direct and organic traffic to WSU’s website has increased nearly 19% since our partnership began.
If you’re ready to get serious about your marketing efforts, we’re ready to take you there.