5 March 2019
The UCCS Marketing Department won two awards, gold and bronze, at a Council for the Advancement Support in Education (CASE) conference for their new “UCCS Fuels Success” campaign launched during the fall semester. Members of the marketing team said that much of the success was because of student involvement.
The gold award was won for the video ad that launched on Monday night football in October and the bronze award was awarded to the annual UCCS view-book, a compilation of pictures and selling points of UCCS.
According to the CASE website, this organization recognizes best practices in advancement and outstanding people who contribute to the growth and understanding of the advancement profession in higher education institutions.
CASE graded UCCS’ promotional material on standards such as creativity, originality, budget, results and understanding of the target audience.
This campaign officially launched in October, but the process of initiating the new campaign began in 2017 when UCCS began a partnership with Karsh Hagan, a marketing firm based out of Denver. Since this partnership, UCCS has begun interviewing students, both prospective and current, as well as faculty and staff, to determine the kind of content that would go into the final products for the video ad and the view-book.
According to Eric Nissen, associate director of Marketing and Communications, students would prove to be at the center of the initial marketing strategies, which assisted in the collection of these awards. He said that the marketing team would show prospective students, as well as current ones, various design ideas for the overall advertisement campaign and determine from their feedback which designs to incorporate.
“I think really, the students were at the heart of it from the very start,” said Nissen.
According to the marketing team at UCCS, students had a hand in the video production and aspects of the marketing project overall. The production company that made the video invited students to be a part of the production process last summer.
Nissen said that the video ad emphasizes and showcases a student, taking priority over things like buildings or events, which is often a marketing strategy for other universities and colleges around campus.
Students interested in marketing were offered opportunities to participate in planning meetings, and according to Mark Belcher, digital content program director in UCCS’ Marketing Department, these students “brought a lot to the table.”
This new marketing campaign included the television ad, but also included various forms of digital and print media: the mural on the side of Cragmor Hall, the view-book, and new banners posted around campus, all displaying the new campaign slogan “UCCS Fuels Success.”
This amount of success tells the marketing team that “our pieces are being received very well,” according to Belcher. He went on to say that they will certainly consider entering more competitions and continuing to see how well these pieces hold up compared to a wider array of pieces constructed by competitors in marketing around the region.
Jeff Foster, brand manager for the Marketing Department, said that while the recognition is nice, it’s basically a “cherry on top.” Foster concluded that these successes do little to inform further strategy, but does everything to reinforce it. Recognition such as this demonstrates to other faculty and staff on campus that the efforts of those in marketing are paying off.
Nissen said that additional measures have been taken to show that the ad campaign is working well.
When analyzing the views for the videos, the Marketing Department learned that the video had over two million full views, which indicate that viewers were not only watching the videos but watching them in their entirety.
“Those are the sort of things we do to help us decide that this is the right direction to go, or that this is not the right direction to go. Those are the things that we’ll use going forward as we think about and decide our plans for next year,” said Nissen.