As Alverno rolls out its newest marketing campaign, Sebastian Thachenkary, director of Marketing Communications, wants to be sure audiences are receiving the right messages in the right medium. When developing Alverno’s plan, Marketing conducted research with both current and prospective (high school) students, faculty, and staff to help define the messaging and approach perspective audiences find appealing.
Three key terms emerged: history, tradition and innovation. “People want to see a more complete picture of what Alverno really is, and what makes the College unique,” says Thachenkary.
Alverno brought in Lipman Hearne (LH), a Chicago-based agency known for its work with educational institutions including women’s colleges like Smith, Bryn Mawr and St. Catherine. Using the research and marketing history, LH recommended the media buy move away from traditional print and billboard media.
“We put a greater focus on digital advertising because that’s what our audiences are using,” says Libby Morse, LH’s senior VP and creative director. “We’re seeing strong growth in this area, and it’s a great way to engage with students.”
In addition to broadcast and outdoor media, Alverno has a greater digital and online presence than before, including tablet and mobile websites, and paid and earned social media.
A new element is the #LoveTheChallenge hashtag campaign, giving the Alverno community a chance to share information. Students, faculty and staff use it to talk about events, programs and experiences. “A successful hashtag campaign will generate more social media views and conversations about Alverno than anything we could buy,” explains Morse.
The new marketing focus will help the College raise awareness and grow enrollment. While targeting enrolling students is a primary focus, the program will also reach influencers such as parents, employers and school counselors. Other components of the marketing mix will target prospective graduate, transfer, adult and returning students.
“We have additional targeted strategies in place to communicate with all audiences,” notes Thachenkary. “We’re also incorporating video, which provides a great avenue for people to talk about Alverno from various perspectives.”