Anglia Ruskin wins marketing accolade

Published: 15 May 2009 at 15:27

University wins bronze award after it receives two award nominations

Anglia Ruskin University has picked up an award for marketing after recently being shortlisted for two awards for ‘outstanding marketing programmes’ designed to recruit more students into higher education.

The nominations for the 19th Annual Heist Awards covered two campaigns implemented during 2008.  The marketing projects were recognised within the categories of Best Part-Time Prospectus and Best Integrated Regional Campaign.

Anglia Ruskin University’s Best Part-Time Prospectus nomination won the bronze prize in its category.  The Study to Suit You publication encourages prospective students to ‘study closer to home and to suit their lifestyle’. It offers those interested in part-time higher education, a rapidly growing proportion of HE students, the opportunity to choose from over 350 part-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Explains, Senior Marketing Executive Alison King who led the project,

"The key challenge in building and promoting part-time courses is to ensure relevance to the individual and workforce needs of the knowledge economy and the need for flexible, demand-led courses, delivered at times and in places and formats suited to the individual.”

"The part-time prospectus is a key publication in the promotion of our flexible courses and we know from our market research that it remains the single most important method of communicating with our prospective students."

The aims of the campaign were to raise awareness of Anglia Ruskin’s extensive part time offering, increase the number of applicants by 15%, reduce the cost of previous prospectuses by 50% by amalgamating the previous offerings into just one publication, and to produce a publication which complied with the University’s environmental policy of using 70% recycled paper stock.

The prospectus has a subtle magazine style, featuring a brief overview of courses with links to online materials. It is a substantial, high quality document which demonstrates the breadth of course portfolio and the expertise of Anglia Ruskin University. Through the imagery, the team helped to portray the community aspect relating to part-time students to help give confidence to prospective students who might be nervous about a return to study.

It was analysis of the previous year’s Integrated Regional Campaign that created the subject of the second nomination for the Student Recruitment programme for the Faculty of Health and Social Care (FHSC). 

Research from focus groups and brainstorming sessions identified that there was a distinct requirement to develop a single prospectus that would combine the whole FHSC offering to drive up student numbers for both March and September intakes.

The target audience for the FHSC was identified as ranging across HE students of all ages and study grades. This wide and varied audience ranged from young undergraduates and per-registration students starting their career (A Level study to foundation certificate or degree) through to experienced staff (CPD) looking to further their education, knowledge and qualifications (up to Masters level).  It also included career changers and mothers returning to work as among the key focal groups.

Speaking about the prospectus, Alex Rosenthal, Recruitment and Marketing Manager for FHSC and Campaign Director said,

"Key insights directed the design and construction of the prospectus. It was paramount that the target audience identified with the chosen collateral and that it had clear navigation. The prospectus was designed with an ad style feature to heavily promote the need to attend an Open Day as these regular events had been identified as the best catalyst for turning interest into application."

The key tools involved in the campaign included the prospectus, events and Open Days, website, a dedicated call centre, email, direct mail, mailing stakeholders and cover-wraps on local press. 

There was a clear call to action, as all messaging encouraged people to attend Open Days or request a prospectus. 

Describing the theme of the campaign, Alex Rosenthal continues,

"Our key message was that we offer professional courses that change people’s lives. We highlighted the fact that the career paths prospective students would follow would be emotionally rewarding.  To do this, we used emotive imagery with vibrant colours and key quotes to bring life and energy alongside a personal feeling of well-being.  The addition of case studies offered personal recommendation and support."

The campaign achieved and surpassed all four primary objectives.  It increased student intake, adding a 25% increase to the previous year’s record 51% rise; created a much improved prospectus; implemented a fully integrated programme; and captured information and statistics to benefit future campaigns.

The internationally recognised Heist Awards for higher education have been running since 1988.  Heist is a leader in marketing services to the education sector.