Work — Meredith College
Using advanced analysis techniques to evaluate brand strategy
Since the launch of the campaign, Meredith had its most successful fundraising campaign in history. Beyond Strong, the fundraising campaign, surpassed its goal by more than $15 million. In addition, the college saw increased web traffic from new visitors, increased campus visits, and enrolled its 2nd largest freshman class.
However, in 2019 Meredith College sought us out to conduct a market research effort designed to evaluate the ongoing campaign. And particularly, to evaluate the marketing program among all of its prospective student audiences.
One important aspect of this research study was the use of MaxDiff analysis, a method that allows us to require trade-offs through multiple iterations of decisions and allow us to hone in on attributes of importance to different prospective student audiences in their decision-making process. For Meredith, we used this method to test ideas related to the current marketing program, in addition to other key marketing messages used over time, to help the College understand the hierarchy of their messaging.
The research showed us that Meredith College’s marketing campaign is still a reasonable option for the College with some slight tweaking. By and large, messages targeting outcomes were significantly more motivating to prospects than messages targeting student life and location. When drilling down to detailed messaging with the marketing campaign, we found that messages around specific programming and its benefits, the “how”, needed to be more directly tied to Meredith’s outcomes, the “what”.
In the past, the campaign exclusively used profile style photography, but the College wanted to know the extent to which they could include more environmental shots. Going through various scenarios of photography styles with prospective student audiences, our research showed that overwhelmingly audiences lean towards environmental-style than profile-style. Using this data, our recommendation to the College was that the campaign would be much more powerful if environmental shots were incorporated into its creative strategy.
*The figure below utilizes stock images.
Our research tested out a wide variety of headlines used by Meredith College in previous and current advertisements across their various prospect types to determine which ones resonated the most with different audiences. In the end we were able to help the College narrow that list of priorities down to focus on headlines that are most powerful in targeting each prospect group.