Armstrong implements stronger marketing campaigns

Grace Powers, Staff Writer

Director of Marketing & Communications Allison Hersh conducted a Fall 2016 Marketing Panel last Thursday, Nov. 3. The panel discussed the team’s new “wish list” initiatives for recruitment in the Atlanta, Florida and South Carolina areas, as well as the progress made in newer advertisement campaigns launched in Sept. 2016.

Hersh’s goals for her team’s new advertisements included raising Armstrong’s exposure, positioning Armstrong as prospective students’ first school choice and increasing overall recruitment.

Marketing has designed their application of these goals to reach not only prospective students, but also their parents, prospective donors and community members in general. These are all areas in which Armstrong offers in-state tuition and is recruiting from regularly.

Based on predicted maximum exposure, Hersh determined that TV and YouTube commercials as well as geofencing ads–a newer method of using a specific geographic area to increase views of digital advertisements–were the top three most effective strategies to satisfy marketing goals.

Utilizing 30-second TV commercials in the Atlanta metropolitan area, Hersh’s team broadcasted their Start Strong campaign that shares personal experiences of Armstrong’s current and past students. These commercials air on WTOC, WJCL and FOX 28 during prime-time programs like “The Walking Dead,” “Bones” and “American Ninja Warrior”.

Similar but shorter 15-second Start Strong commercials can also be viewed as YouTube advertisements in key counties in Atlanta. Launched in Sept. 2016, the campaign has received strong feedback among 16-19-year-old audiences with a video-completion rate of 35%.

Geofencing advertisements in key high schools in the targeted areas  broadcast Armstrong advertisements before, during and after recruiter visits. This method has proven most popular on mobile devices and received over 1,000 interactions within its first month of activity. Interestingly, students in Florida responded most positively with Atlanta being a close second and South Carolina providing the least interaction, with over 250 clicks.

In addition to Hersh’s “wish list” campaign strategies, the team has also launched three other advertisements that utilize billboards, landing pages and a microsite that includes a virtual tour, live social media feeds, student testimonials and TV commercials. From Sept. – Nov. 2016, Hersh’s team has set up billboard ads in four locations including Buckhead, Marietta and metropolitan Atlanta that all showcase Armstrong’s messages. Such phrases include: “Dream Big. Start Strong,” “Get the Armstrong Advantage” and “Fast Forward Your Future.”

Similar messages can be seen in her team’s new landing pages, which are featured on numerous digital campaigns, including Google AdWords, Carnegie and geofencing campaigns. These landing pages are effective in that they are adaptive to all mobile formats, making them versatile. When clicked, the pages will transport viewers to the new admissions microsite, This microsite was also launched in Sept. and has attracted 3,441 users and 5,225 views within its first month and has reached a repeating-visitor rate of 16.4%.

With Hersh’s team’s new marketing strategies, all major digital campaigns now direct interactive viewers to Armstrong’s admissions microsite. The microsite has maintained a steady number of pageviews with top interactions from Florida and Georgia areas.

Hersh and her team plan to continue producing successful marketing campaigns.

“We came in 2nd place to Duke University last year for a national award for Best TV Commercial for our Start Strong commercials,” Hersh explained, and she believes one crucial reason for this success comes from the composition of her marketing team.

“We develop all of our [creativity] on-campus, from start to finish. I lead a creative team comprised of individuals from various departments and offices on campus, which also includes students.”

After the marketing panel, Hersh and her team will continue to broadcast Armstrong’s story and messages to raise awareness and increase admission, interactions and attendance at recruitment events.