Since updating the strategic plan to gain more students for the 2014-2015 academic year, there have been more developments in the marketing aspect to continue to reach as many prospective students as possible for the academic years to come.
One technique for the marketing team is expanding and developing new markets for Trinity and trying to reach out to areas with high enrollment rates.
“It is not a secret that most of our students come from Texas, and then the second largest group is generally the Southwest. So, we are looking at places in the Southwest where we think Trinity can be a desirable choice””California, namely southern California, and the Colorado areas,” said Charles White, vice president for information resources, marketing and communications.
Trinity actively gets students from southern California and Colorado, but the idea is to market to those areas a bit more strongly than was done in the past.
“What we see is that the Southwest is an area where our reputation is the strongest, so why not focus on developing those before we start reaching out to areas where we are probably less well-known?” White said.
The strategy to impact prospective parents alongside prospective students has been developing as well.
“We want to make sure that we are never leaving parents in the dark during the college process because we realize how important they are, potentially, to a lot of students when they make their decision,” said Michelle Bartonico, associate director for marketing communications.
There are two new additions to the admissions webpage to help prospective parents and students gain insight as to what life at Trinity is actually like. One feature is a live chat and the other is a continuation of the summer research blog.
“We added a live chat feature that is on the admissions section of the Trinity site. The admissions office has a counselor on duty and that person is responsible for taking questions and answering them,” Bartonico said. “It has been really successful for us and what is great is that we have data that we did not have before that helps us give people the information they need.”
Over the summer of 2014, a blog was created to cover all of the graduate summer research and activities that were done on campus, and this addition to the website is an evolution of that blog.
“It is called “The Trinity Perspective” and it is written and curated for students, by students. The audience is primarily prospective students and parents and it is just another way that we can give them honest information about what is here,” Bartonico said. “This is something that is recently developed and is helpful for people to get some genuine information about Trinity. We are trying to be as authentic as possible.”
Another development to Trinity marketing is tailoring ads to the individual.
“You do not ever want to be inundated with ads that are not really relevant to you, so what we are trying to do is if we serve a banner ad to someone, we target them and give them information that might come up to them because they actually want to see that type of information,” Bartonico said.
Trinity is pretty clear about what type of student it wants and modifies marketing to that demographic.
“Trinity students tend to be pretty college savvy, and we think we do better with college savvy people than with people who are not quite as knowledgeable about what they are looking for in a college,” White said. “We are not for everybody, so if you are not the right person for us, we want you to know that early rather than later so that we do not waste your time and you do not waste our time if we are not right for you.”
The marketing team has also placed Trinity ads on television spots to target a specific group of people.
“Not any television, but Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). We do PBS spots in San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles and also in Denver. Because we are trying to be authentic; we are not trying to say “˜Hey, we are everything everyone wants! Everybody can come here!’ No, not everybody, just certain people,” White said. “And it is a little elitist, but we do not have to be shy about that. We are pretty proud of that. We only accept the best.”
The long-term goal of having an integrated marketing plan in the context of the overall strategic plan is making Trinity an even better university for its undergraduates and alumni, according to Michael Fischer, vice president for faculty and student affairs and co-chair of the strategic planning committee.
“From my point of view, it is our way of extending the reputation of the university and making sure that it is better known by prospective students and others,” Fischer said.
Although marketing largely consists of targeting external groups, internal groups such as current students, parents, alumni and faculty will still be targeted with Trinity ads.
“We want everyone to be on message to recognize who we are and to be consistent in presenting Trinity to others,” White said. “We want to be authentic about it to know what we are saying about the place and if that feels good to you then say that about us.”