University’s revised marketing plan uses social media to reach students – PNW Pioneer

PNW is using new strategies to reach potential students, focusing on digital marketing and high profile recruiting.

The Admissions and Marketing departments have partnered to address a challenge in higher education: the demographic cliff, a sharp drop in traditional college-aged students who may be targeted for recruitment. Departments began developing new digital campaigns targeted to attract transfer students and freshmen.

“This is one of the most extensive marketing campaigns we’ve done,” said Kris Falzone, Associate Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communications. “We have invested $200,000 in digital marketing and are refining the entire recruiting process. »

The new campaign comes at a time when registrations at PNW have dropped significantly. The enrollment of 6,242 students this year reflects a decline of more than 31% since the 2016-2017 school year, when PNW had 9,119 students.

Web enhancements for the Westville experience, dual admissions, and transfer students have been revised. The university has improved hyperlinks and career descriptions for specific programs.

“These web pages are designed to allow students to find themselves through what they see,” said Julie Wiejak, Acting Executive Director of Undergraduate Admissions. “We could use field imagery to target Westville students and maybe downtown Chicago imagery for the Hammond campus.”

The goal is to target potential students with images and messages likely to attract them.

“A lot of market research is done,” Falzone said. “We analyze data, zip codes, and forms of interest from surrounding areas of Illinois and nearby towns in northwest Indiana.”

This new digital approach stands out from traditional advertising.

“We have seen a significant decline in traditional methods, such as radio, magazines and newspapers, due to the trend of reading content and watching videos online,” said Matthew Hanson, associate professor of marketing. “All businesses, not just higher education, are generating increased demand for online ad placement to attract new customers with measurable results.”

Mary Beth O’Connor, associate professor of communications, said the change was necessary to be considered current.

“Using ‘old-fashioned’ ad placements can give younger audiences the impression that a university is out of step with the times,” she said.

Ads featuring PNW were placed on major social media platforms including Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, as well as Google and Yahoo Mail. These digital ads are designed to target students and families looking for key colleges and programs.

“A core tenet of successful marketing is to reach the target market where they are frequently found,” O’Connor said. “Social media is extremely important for a younger demographic.”

Hanson said a focus on digital is key to attracting new students.

“Statistically speaking, digital methods tend towards a younger audience, given that they grew up with technology in the palm of their hands,” he said. “I have never seen such demand for digital placement in my 20 years in marketing.”

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