Extended Learning at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) offers graduate and undergraduate credit programs, training and lifelong learning opportunities for individuals and corporate, governmental and community groups in North San Diego County. Through its online classes, it also provides courses to people around the world.
Extended Learning had been spending heavily on higher education PR and marketing and not seeing the results the department desired. Student enrollment was often lower than expected causing the cancellation of many classes. To correct these issues, Extended Learning outsourced its marketing and PR to (W)right On Communications.
(W)right On Communications implemented a series of higher education PR and marketing communication changes including a new branding strategy, better use of online analytics and cost reductions on collateral production—all intended to measurably improve outcomes and boost student enrollment for the department:
- New marketing logo, tagline and URL: The right course.
- Keyword feature in the course catalog to measure and monitor which courses were being searched.
- Resized course catalog and improved direct mail targeting for greater ROI.
- Implemented Google pay-per-click campaign to drive visits to the website.
With a shrinking higher education PR and marketing budget, (W)right On Communications achieved cost reductions while also posting increases in all marketing metrics, helping drive Extended Learning’s marketing function toward a more accountable and sustainable model.
- Overall cost savings of 6% in its first year and 29% in its second year inclusive of all marketing fees and services (copywriting, design for course catalog and website, SEO and email development).
- Unique website visits grew 17% year over year.
- Student enrollment in classes offered in both years grew 45% year over year.
- Student enrollment overall grew 5% year over year.
- Class cancellations decreased by 86%.
- Email click-throughs achieved double the industry average at 18%.
- Course catalog costs fell by 51% for printing and 56% for mailing.
Through the agency’s work, new disciplines, measurement structures and accountability were instilled in the organization, while concurrently management was freed to focus much-needed attention on other areas.