Is this the right time for Marketing activity?

QUESTION:

Although I applaud the re-authoring of the university website, it has looked rather dull and dated for some time now, I can’t help but think that it should have been completed weeks ago.

Clearing is approaching fast, our numbers are down and it seems risky to leave it so late.

Also the ‘marketing’ people are about to shoot a new promotional video, again I question the timing of this and the fact that, once again, they are using an external company to film it when there is plenty of talent and expertise to produce it in-house.

Could I ask how much is being paid for the video?

ANSWER:

Work on the website is always being undertaken, the current work is as a result of our investment in usability testing with our core audience (prospective students rather than staff). It has been designed to be live for August 2014 in order to push two messages – Clearing and Open Days.

Much more work is being undertaken and web authors around the university will be able to take you through the changes. In terms of marketing materials produced, we do, as much a possible, utilise the skills of the university or our graduates. Indeed many of the marketing team are staffordshire graduates and we use the film and photography expertise of FACT on a regular basis. Further investigation is underway to broaden this opportunity and to have students and academics participate in work would be welcomed.

Will the signs at Stafford Railway Station be moved to Stoke?

QUESTION:

Will the signs at Stafford Railway Station ‘Home of Great Minds’ now be moved to Stoke following the announcement of the closure of the Stafford Campus? Or is this, yet another example, of short term thinking which only wasted money at a time of supposed cut backs?

ANSWER:

The University has sponsored Stafford station as a two-year arrangement (a standard sponsorship agreement with the operators of advertising at Virgin stations), expiring late 2015. We chose to advertise at the Station for two reasons. Firstly it offers a strong opportunity for both the commuters of Stafford and occupants of the trains on one of the busiest lines in the country to be exposed to our brand, and secondly, when we made the decision to sponsor,we were made aware of two competitor Universities who wanted to purchase the sponsorship.

As we will be remaining in Stafford until late 2016, we will review whether to undertake a further sponsorship next year. In terms of Stoke station, we are very keen to have a presence at the station platform, however as the building is listed we are having to work with English Heritage to find an appropriate solution, which is taking some time.

Do we advertise near our competitors?

QUESTION:
The battle to win students:
Whilst driving around the city its not unusual to see adverts for other local Universities – Wolverhampton currently have a huge ad up in Meir.
I always feel affronted that they are trying to fish in our pond.
Just wondering if we do similar advertising in and around Derby, Wolverhampton etc?
Thank you

 
ANSWER:
‘Backyard’ competitor advertising has been the strategy with Derby for a couple of years now – using predominately outdoor campaigns. Derby have been quite tactical in their purchase , taking the time (and the budget) to choose sites near to competitor institutes. Wolverhampton this year have invested in a broader West Midlands outdoor campaign; starting in the Summer it has been weighted to Birmingham with some visibility on the North Midlands.
Last autumn we also ran an outdoor campaign to support the opening of the Science Centre and included Birmingham and Derby in our planning. Universities, for some reason, have a history of using outdoor mediums (posters and bus-sides) but can prove costly for the exposure/reach. Staffordshire University currently is ensuring the education and student channels – where students are likely to search and enquire – are maximised. We will then support this with regional brand and call-to-action advertising using cinema & radio and tactical outdoor. Final media plans and creative will be circulated this month.

Will we launch an advertising campaign to rival Derby University’s?

QUESTION:
I’ve noticed a huge billboard advertisement on the A500 just before the junction for our University advertising Derby University (lots of TV coverage too).

Is Staffordshire University planning an advertising campaign to counter this in our local area?

 

ANSWER:
There are a number of universities within the region at present that have high profile advertising campaigns, notably Derby University, Birmingham University and Birmingham City University – using a combination of prominent outdoor posters and television commercials.

We can clearly see that Derby University is keen to try and attract students from our region – this kind of local competition is common, for example East Midlands is very competitive with the Nottingham, Leicester and Loughborough HE institutions trying to attract ‘local’ students.

Although they undertook the same strategy last year, our research shows very few of our local students choose Derby University as a consequence of their advertising. Nevertheless it is important that we maintain and grow our awareness, with publicity being a key aspect of this.

Therefore, current campaigns that are underway include:
‘ There’s still time to take your place in 2012’ – This is a campaign dedicated to getting out the message that we’ve extended our ‘clearing’ activity to five weeks instead of two, with university investment in radio, digital and press publicity.

Staffordshire Graduate – A digital, press and outdoor campaign will commence in late September/October 2012, with television opportunities being assessed.

New Science Centre launch – An exciting PR & outdoor campaign is being organised to take place between October – December

If you would like any more information or to make a suggestion for future campaigns, please email marketingandpublicrelations@staffs.ac.uk