Creation is a BIG Deal
Imagine with me … for a minute. Imagine that approximately 60,000 christian kids and 25,000 christian”‘influencers” are a captive audience for 5 days. Should Eastern be there?
4-5 years ago, Eastern leadership made the commitment to aggressively market Eastern’s College of Arts and Sciences during Creation East & West. Several Jumbotron videos, Main/Fringe Stage announcements and T-Shirt Dare/Trivia give-aways later; CAS marketing is seeing a return on its marketing strategy and tactics.
The College with the most T-Shirts wins at Creation. Colleagues have asked me in the past, why are the T-shirts so important? If you have read Malcom Gladwell’s, “Tipping Point,” you may remember his example of the sandals in the sand carrying a company’s message every time a person took a step. Same idea. High school students put them on during the Creation Festival and wear them all day. If you get enough, it makes it look like Creation is blanketed with Eastern images. You have your “moving billboards” and the kids are pumped to wear a College T-Shirt. It’s a win-win.
It’s not all fun and games. We must be able to measure a strategy. Since 2008, CAS marketing has been tracking Creation East & West as a first source (the first point of entry to Eastern’s communication campaigns). The actual process is that students will fill out information cards while at Creation to learn more about EU. In 5 years we have seen inquiries double. Additionally, 5x as many applications and 4x as many deposits can be traced back to those Creation information cards. It takes several years to paint a clear picture because these students can be in 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grade when filling out a card. In our current economic climate a doubling in anything is considered success.
Using data to project ROI. In 2012, University Marketing strategically moved to message CCGPS, Palmer, THC, and CAS products at Creation East to 1) saturate the audience with Eastern branding and 2) to see if the yields may increase across all colleges like they have for CAS. Don’t forget the 25,000 influencers at Creation. Featuring great programs (ie. in SMS, Seminary, our new Online Youth Ministry Program and others), University Marketing anticipates equivalent returns as was with CAS. Several new tactics were negotiated and deployed including:
- an additional Eastern Tent close to an alternate high traffic area at Creation.
- Sponsorship of the Youth Ministry Pavilion where Duffy Robbins is a key speaker.
- EU Tattoos and Balloons for the little ones to draw in Mom and Dad.
- a doubling of EU T-Shirts.
Until a quantitative and qualitative analysis can be measured over 2 years time, positive anecdotal feedback from this years’ strategy gives us a sense of how we are doing. Here are a couple of examples:
- Stemming from the announcements on the main stage, our CCGPS recruiters had multiple adults every day walk up to the booths and say, “I didn’t know you had ____x____. Tell me more about it.”
- Several strong leads for our online youth ministry leadership program were generated through our sponsorship of the Youth Ministry Pavilion.
- Kids and parents alike were coming up to both booths and saying, “I see Eastern T-Shirts everywhere. How can I get one?”
Executed well with strategy and tactics, it is clear that opportunities’ like Creation Festivals can increase the Eastern brand, inquiries, applications, and deposits. University Marketing will continue to explore opportunities like this to enhance our brand and enrollment #’s.
Can you suggest other opportunities like Creation where Eastern should have a similar presence? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View Eastern’s most recent video campaign featured at Creation called “Imagine Eastern.”