From the Nominator
"In prior years, it was reported that over 80% of admission inquiries, applicants, and enrollees were drawn to The Colorado Springs School (CSS) due to word-of-mouth referrals from current or past families. However, little known about the other 20% of interested parties.
Prior to July 2021, CSS devoted much of its advertising budget to digital and print publications, radio, and tabling at in-person events, but had no real way of tracking from where admission inquiries had been generated. The School's inquiry form and admissions application did not include direct questions that would enable the Office of Marketing & Communications nor the Office of Admissions & Financial Aid to pinpoint exactly which media source or publication offered the most return on investment and best reached the school's target demographic with the promise of a conversion.
The "Discover The Colorado Springs School Difference" marketing campaign is ongoing for the 2021-2022 academic year and features consistent branding and messaging across a variety of media--from radio to digital or print magazines, social media, in-person tabling, and more. Each ad's captivating photos and text demonstrate the key programs and offerings that make CSS so "different." Rather than driving prospective families to the CSS homepage, a new landing page (www.css.org/discover) was also created on the school's recently-launched website and is highlighted within each ad to not only make the "call to action" easier all around, but to track the total number of impressions produced by advertisements overall."
From the Judges
The "Discover" advertising campaign is a great example of a school making important iterative changes on their existing marketing plans. We applaud them for making sure their resources were being used in a way that they could track and better understand. We were particularly struck by the applicant's clear use of data to support their initiative's award application. This project serves as a good reminder to all of our marketing teams that we need to actively find ways to track our marketing spending. Few schools can say that their initiative helped to double their applications year-over-year, and we love to see evidence of interdisciplinary cross-collaboration between different school departments!