The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (based in Saudi Arabia) recently asked Graduate Promotions to create a pan-European, multilingual marketing campaign promoting its postgraduate courses.
A varied portfolio of marketing channels was deployed to target students at 162 universities in 23 different countries.
The task involved determining the most appropriate ways to reach the target audience, with particular reference to both undergraduates and graduates from STEM disciplines.
Among the additional issues to be addressed were gender balance, ethnicity, disability and social mobility. With these factors in mind, our initial research suggested a number of modifications to KAUST’s existing messaging and branding.
The campaign involved the use of four main techniques: on-campus display advertising, online advertising, email marketing via relevant student-facing websites and graduate media, and direct email marketing targeting students via their university departments.
The first wave of the campaign used all four of these methods, while the second refined the approach to focus more closely on the universities and channels that were seen to deliver the best returns.
For a pilot campaign (which it was), the exercise proved to be very successful. The online ads attracted over a quarter of a million visitors, while email messaging via university departments reached more than half a million recipients.
The campaign’s success also prompted ideas for future iterations, including further research into the target market plus additional recommendations for developing the message and boosting brand awareness on campus.