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Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education

A Promising Future: In 1992, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education enacted Oklahoma’s Promise. The program was designed to reward income-qualified students with full college tuition. By covering college expenses, Oklahoma’s Promise would open doors for students with scarce financial resources. There was just one problem. The program was drastically underutilized.

Promises, Promises: Visual Image undertook a research study to understand why the program wasn’t thriving as expected. The results spoke volumes. Only 34% of adults had heard of the program. Most of them expected college to inflict financial hardship on their families. And perhaps the most telling statistic – the majority of the target demo felt they hadn’t been given an opportunity to enroll in the program. Availability wasn’t a problem. The issue was communication.

A Growing Awareness: To maximize the client’s marketing investment, we decided to focus our resources on one crucial metric: awareness. Utilizing an integrated media campaign, we targeted school faculty and low-income families with a steady flow of communications. We wanted the public to be aware of the program’s existence. We wanted parents and faculty to steer qualified candidates toward enrollment.

The Results: To measure our campaign’s effectiveness, we compared activity for the 2008 campaign period to the same 50-day period in 2007. We were more than pleased with the results:

  • Phone calls increased by 59%.
  • E-mails increased by 121%.
  • Online applications increased by 144%.

The Lesson: Marketing is all about communication. And communication begins with listening. By understanding the perceptions and attitudes of our target audience, we built a strategic campaign that changed behavior. Research and strategic thinking are the foundation of our business. And our award-winning creativity flows from these key ingredients. That’s our marketing philosophy, and it’s served us well for 20 years. In the face of a rapidly transforming media environment, it’s one thing we don’t intend to change.