While our competitors were experiencing a dip in enrollment, we set our goal to see an increase of 3%. And when the chalk dust settled, we ended up achieving 16%.
San Jacinto College was entering a “base year” for funding – meaning that their enrollment numbers for the year would impact the state funding the College receives for the next two years. We needed to increase enrollment by March 1, but also beat our competitors in the space so that the College would get a bigger piece of the pie. Funding is based on your percentage increase or decrease against everyone else.
We focused our tactics on direct response. This meant our media buy and creative executions were beholden to performance and not brand awareness—which we had set high during the previous year. Of course this effort still built our brand, as it was a product of the sum of our exposures. So in essence, we built our brand while focusing on generating demand.
Tracking our digital media was the easy part—we have the formula down on tracking conversions and sending visitors directly to the application or enrollment pages straight from our ads. Tracking our traditional media presented more challenges that we met with innovative uses of partnerships. By teaming up with iHeart Media, we activated our #250 campaign, which allowed traditional TV and radio spots to feature a call to action driving listeners/viewers to call “pound two fifty” and say the keyword “San Jac”. From there, they were connected directly to the College customer service department and sent a follow up text message with a link to the San Jac website. To support all media, creative and email templates were updated to be direct response oriented. And as our results show, we got the responses, the school got the enrollment numbers and everyone on the team got an A.