1 LERN Award Nomination, Marketing Campaign San Diego State University College of Extended Studies Hotel, Tourism and Management (HTM) Master s Degree Program Working in conjunction with our main campus HTM Department (within the SDSU College of Business), the College of Extended Studies developed a new hybrid master s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. The hybrid component consisting of one week of classes on campus to begin the program, a year s worth of classes conducted online, and then a final week on campus for wrap-up. This award entry is for the marketing campaign that was conducted to support the program. In early meetings with the campus faculty as this program was being developed in , it was apparent that marketing would be a key component to recruit students into the program. We began our marketing efforts by conducting three focus groups, two with SDSU graduates who had completed the HTM Bachelor s degree program, and one with industry professionals. From these meetings, we developed three different brand options and presented these to the campus faculty. They were blown away with the quality and magnitude of the presentations as they had not been exposed to this type of presentation working as academicians. The chosen brand was The Edge which relates to the USP of getting the edge you need to advance your career by enrolling in SDSU s master s degree program in HTM. You ll see this concept in submitted materials, which include s, a printed brochure, blogs on the instructors, a video promoting the program as well as individual videos featuring the instructors, Google and Facebook ad word campaigns, a new logo, a powerpoint template, and additional Internet content. This was an Integrated Marketing Communications Campaign planned out in advance of the program, and materials were targeted to SDSU HTM alumni and industry professionals with at least five years of professional experience. First to be completed was a video so that we could post it on our website, and start to make it viral to create a buzz about the program. The video was also used by the program director in personal sales visits to hospitality organizations in San Diego. And since this was an online program, it was used throughout the process in international marketing efforts. Next to be created was a brochure for a traditional direct mail campaign targeted to SDSU alums in HTM and select industry professionals throughout Southern California. As these activities were being conducted, the program faculty were being interviewed, and their stories were posting to our blog, as well as being distributed via their own social media outlets such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Instructors were also videotaped, and made available to inquiries and prospects. Early campaigns featured the faculty, then as we progressed, subsequent campaigns began to focus on students who had enrolled in the program, so as to transition the message from being from us to the potential student; to being from peer to peer. As inquiries began to come in via our web form, we used our CRM (Intelliworks) to manage the flow of communications to the inquiries. The communication flow plan included the mailing of the brochure, adding inquiries to the ongoing list, and some personal telephone recruitment by the program director of those inquiries he considered hot (either because he knew the person, or was familiar with the company they worked for).
2 Additional marketing efforts included a Google Ad Words campaign, a Facebook ad campaign, stories in our digital publications, Internet and traditional media relations efforts, and finally an open house on campus for inquiries and prospects to come and hear about the program. The program began in the summer of 2012 with 14 students. The cost of the program per student is $23,000. For a new master s degree program in a specialty area such as HTM, 14 students is considered a successful introductory group. Although extensive, the actual marketing costs for this program were very minimal with less than $5,000 being spend on the brochure and on the Google and Facebook ad campaigns. ROI will depend on some back-end instructor costs that will be determined in the summer of Materials that supported this integrated marketing campaign that are included with this entry include: 1. Printed brochure, development of logo 2. Series of campaigns 3. Copy of blog stories on instructors 4. Thumb drive with HTM promo video, and individual instructor videos used virally. Also on the thumb drive is a folder with links to all the Internet stories, outside blogs, and traditional print stories that appeared about this program. Also included is a copy of the story that appeared in our digital publication, Upfront. 5. Google ad words and Facebook ad campaign reports While this group of students was on campus this summer, extensive marketing activities took place in anticipation of beginning the marketing campaign for next year s cohort of students. During the week, we took video of sessions, industry experts speaking, social activities, and more. We also interviewed a majority of the students, and will be following them throughout the year to document their experiences, and then use social media and traditional marketing tools to help market for next year.
3 Section One Printed Materials and Logo The logo was developed using input from focus group research, and presentation and refinement within the HTM working group. We printed 1,000 copies of the brochure and distributed them on personal sales calls, and in a direct marketing effort to those SDSU alumni who had graduated with an undergrad HTM degree. The photos in the brochure are original, and reflect the branding used in other materials. (one stock image was used).
4 Section Two Campaigns was a vital component of the overall marketing strategy. As the number of inquiries grew, so did the list. As this is a new program, we wanted to develop a very robust campaign plan and decided that in this instance a weekly was not overload. As you can see from the attached materials, every week an instructor was interviewed and an message was crafted based on what that instructor said. This strategy was carried through for a series of weeks, until students started to enroll in the program. We then switched to a new strategy that focused on developing a peer to peer message. To accomplish this, we interviewed the incoming students, and featured them in the campaigns with the message of come join me in this hot new program.
5 Section Three Instructor Stories Creating as much content as possible was a key strategy in marketing this program. We strove to create the content and then get it out virally on the Internet wherever we could. A key part of the content was instructor interviews, both in written format and in video format. In this section you ll see printouts of the stories in printed format. These first appeared on our blog, then on corresponding web pages, then as part of campaigns, then in PR efforts as we posted to other blogs, and sent out via viral PR services.
6 Section Four Videos and Posted Stories In this section you ll find a thumb drive with the main HTM promotion video, as well as individual instructor promotional videos. Also on the drive is a file with links to stories about the program that appeared in a multitude of online sites, outside blogs, and traditional print clips. Also in this section is a copy of the story that appeared in our main online publication called Upfront.
7 Section Five Google Ad Word Campaign and Facebook Ad Campaign Another key component to the marketing plan was to run a concurrent Google ad word campaign and Facebook ad campaign. The target market for the program (younger professionals) utilize these marketing avenues to a great extent, and we knew that we needed to place high on search engines both organically and in the paid listing as well. The organic listing was top three almost immediately on those search terms that we used heavily in the copy, and as a nice complement to successful organic efforts we ran a fairly robust Google ad word campaign. Additionally, we used Facebook for an ad campaign. As you can see from the first Google analytics report, the HTM page was getting the most direct hits, as well as the most visits on our entire site (after the home page) during the Google and Facebook ad campaigns.
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