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JCU blitzes publicity with a broader marketing plan

January 26th, 2012

A commercial for the University featuring several JCU students and alumni aired in Pittsburgh during the NFL’s NFC Divisional Playoffs on the local Fox affiliate, WPGH-TV.

According to Tonya Strong-Charles, director of media relations & communications, it was a good deal for the University to buy air time that was still available during the game.

“It was a unique opportunity in Pittsburgh to get our message out to a new audience,” said Strong-Charles. “There’s been a bit of buzz. A lot of people have seen it and that’s what we want.”

Assistant Vice President for Integrated Marketing and Communications John Carfagno said JCU is already getting feedback as a result of the commercial.

Traffic to the University’s website has increased 7 percent from the Pittsburgh area since the commercial aired. Carfagno also said there have been emails from alumni who saw it.

Strong-Charles said she has already run into a perspective student from the Pittsburgh area who mentioned he saw the commercial.

Although there is already some positive feedback for JCU since the commercial aired, Carfagno said it would be a couple of weeks before they really know what impact the commercial has had.

“We’ll get a better understanding [of the impact] from the survey results of visiting perspective students,” he said.

The commercial played during the playoff game was part of the University’s most widely targeted commercial campaign.

“[It was] strategic,” Carfagno said of the campaign. “We’ve been concentrating our marketing on Northeast Ohio and Ohio proper. This was a much more concentrated effort to reach to other areas.”

This recent campaign targeted areas of high recruitment for JCU, including Chicago, Pittsburgh and Toledo, in addition to Cleveland.

Aside from broadening its focus regionally, JCU is changing the way it reaches out to prospective students and their families in other ways as well.

“We were relying too much on print in northeast Ohio when we needed to be out further with more tools,” said Carfagno.

This multimedia plan includes more online advertisements, radio advertisements and television commercials, and keyword buys on Google in which JCU advertisements will appear when certain keywords words are searched.

These new marketing strategies are paid for by an already set aside annual marketing budget that is divided among various projects. According to Carfagno, new multimedia will probably become a greater part of the overall marketing campaign for the University.

“We’ve found that when people visit campus they tell us JCU is a well-kept secret. We don’t want to be a well-kept secret. We want to be on the tip of peoples’ tongues,” he said.