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Out-of-the-box ABM

Extend your marketing mix outside the "Facebook/Adwords" box

3 min read

How to boost MBA enrollment in a competitive market

Is out-of-home the missing piece of your MBA marketing plan?

In a content-saturated digital environment, it's becoming increasingly challenging for universities to connect to their target audience. As a result, many universities need to fine-tune their advertising efforts if they’re to increase student enrolment and brand awareness.

MBAs require a considerable investment of time, money, and effort. To effectively market your MBA program, it's necessary to explain why the investment is worth it. While an MBA program might not be suitable for everybody, the degree provides massive value to students. Some of the benefits you could emphasize include real-world experience, in-depth business knowledge, and an extensive alumni network.

The benefits of your MBA program are easy to prove. After all, most higher learning institutions possess a wealth of data. The challenge comes in when choosing a medium that can effectively communicate these benefits and reach a large number of consumers.

Let’s get into the reasons why out-of-home advertising is the perfect medium for this promotional move.

Case Study: Queens University Charlotte

Today’s higher education recruiting environment is rapidly shifting. As digital transformation continues to disrupt industries and the workforce of the future, few people are willing to interrupt their careers to go back to school. As a result, more and more people are opting for flexible programs that allow them to work and study at the same time.

The Challenge: Although Queens University offered a flexible, high-quality MBA program, the major problem was conveying this to prospective students in an effective way. The target audience was young professionals with less than ten years of experience in the Charlotte area of Queens University.

The Solution: To reach young professionals, Queens University needed to highlight its flexible learning solutions. Launching a successful outdoor advertising campaign requires research, planning, and seamless execution. The OOH ads were action-oriented, thought-provoking, and fun enough to engage with the target audience.

The advertising campaign ran for almost two months and included the following OOH media formats:

  • 1x billboard with extension to reach commuters from one of the popular south Charlotte suburbs
  • 1x airport bus parking shuttle to reach business professionals who frequently traveled for work or leisure
  • 5x light rail advertising to reach commuters as they traveled to and from work.

The Results: The ad campaign was highly successful, leading to a 23% increase in inquiries about the MBA program and a 4% increase in traffic to the Queens University Charlotte homepage.

When leveraged right, out-of-home advertising can play a huge role in increasing brand awareness and influencing the decisions of aspiring students.

Let's break down why the Queens University outdoor ad campaign was so successful.

How Out of Home Can Help Drive Your Educational Marketing

Successful marketing involves creating a persona that’s the ideal representation of your target demographic. A persona will help you tailor your marketing strategy to their behavior and help you catch students on the move. Here's what Queens University got right.

1. Speak to your target audience

OOH has the unique ability to deliver your message directly to your target audience and in a way that resonates with them. The Queens University ad campaign went with a less is more approach to create a compelling, impactful OOH message. For instance, one of the ads features a man in business attire doing the splits with a book in hand featuring the tagline "The most flexible MBA in the region."

It was a light-hearted ad that created a natural and engaging proposition that would appeal to young business professionals. The key is to engage with your audience on an emotional level.

2. The right location

Queens University didn’t saturate the market with their advertising. Instead, they chose prominent high foot traffic areas frequented by their target demographic. By getting the location right, it’s easy to figure what OOH display formats will best suit your goals.

Using a multi-format marketing mix allows you to efficiently and effectively communicate the value of your MBA program using the specific strengths of the specific display formats chosen. Billboards are great for drawing the attention of motorists and pedestrians, while light rail and airport bus shuttle advertising have the potential to be viewed for longer periods of time.

3. Make it captivating

OOH ad designs need to be high-contrast and eye-catching so they can be visible from far distances. However, to really capture attention, the ad must be creative. Nothing is more efficient at captivating audiences than creative advertising. It's memorable, longer-lasting, and drives consumer action.

Creative messages get more attention and are likely to influence consumer behavior.

Capitalize on the Outdoors

With the growing apathy towards online advertisements, higher education institutions are turning to the outdoors to increase brand awareness. OOH ads are tailor-made for universities and colleges. They allow for targeted messaging to reach specific audiences and will enable you to stand out from the clutter.

In an increasingly competitive market, it's crucial to take advantage of the benefits of OOH to increase student enrollment.

Do you want to increase enrollment for your higher-ed program?

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