Central State University, a predominantly Black, state-supported
university in Ohio,
had established a goal to increase its student enrollment by 25 percent
within one year. Five months before the start of a fall academic school year
(a traditionally slow period for student recruitment) the agency developed
and implemented a strategic marketing plan designed to provide Central State
University with access to potential students.
The agency contacted churches and other community groups in Ohio's
four major African American markets: Cleveland,
to set up recruitment fairs on successive weekends in the summer.
Five strategic communication tools were used:
Community Relations, Advertising, Media Relations, Direct Mail, and
Focus sought and gained permission from religious organizations in the
abovementioned key Ohio cities (Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus)
to host recruitment fairs at their respective churches. Members of the
university's alumni association and civic organizations joined to circulate
fliers, and to promote these recruitment fairs at their respective churches.
To expand the university’s base and to support the recruitment fairs,
the agency created, developed and executed a first ever radio and print
advertising campaign under the theme: Discover Central State
where dreams become reality for the University. An eight-week schedule of
ads were concentrated before the recruitment fairs and continued until the
start of the school year.
Media relations consisted of leveraged advertising dollars with newspaper
articles, editorials, public service announcements and interviews on public
affairs shows. The newspaper articles featured recent Central State
launching great careers. . Arthur E. Thomas, then president of the
university, wrote print editorials and appeared on radio public affairs shows
broadcast interviews with university officials, students and alumni.
As part of its strategy to re-position Central State University as a
first-class institution of higher learning, the agency produced a direct mail
and general admissions brochure for prospective students and their parents.
Each piece depicted a high technology and quality of lifestyle theme that
became the focal point of the university's marketing strategy.
Focus Communications identified and recommended that the University hire a
telemarketing manager to coordinate that critical function. The university's
telemarketing staff played a key role in locating prospective students at
high schools, churches and community centers, and tracking them through the
final admissions process.
At the end of a
four-month period, Central
officials reported a 20 percent increase in student enrollment.
Following the recruitment
drive, the agency targeted several professional and civic organizations that
agreed to assist the University with student recruitment. It marked the first
time that organizations including the National Association of Negro Business
and Professional Women’s Club, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and the
National Council of Negro Women involved themselves in such ventures.