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How we continue to grow awareness for a college

Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology [MITT] provides certificate, post-graduate and diploma-level technical training for career-oriented, post-secondary and secondary students in four clusters of specialization: business and information technology, health care, human services and skilled trades.

THE CHALLENGE

MITT was founded in 1983 and has undergone a significant evolution over the years. Starting as the South Winnipeg Technical Vocational Centre, the school underwent several changes of name and mandate over the decades - resulting in a lack of awareness and a straightforward message that could help the brand differentiate from other schools and engage with their audiences. 

The school’s evolving history and multiple audience groups made raising awareness and telling a clear, consistent brand story a challenge. Metric Marketing was asked to come alongside the marketing team at MITT and help develop the brand - and then roll out a compelling and effective recruitment campaign.

THE STRATEGY

We began this project by gathering as much information as possible about MITT, its audiences and stakeholders, existing perceptions and desired outcomes. This included interviews of internal and external stakeholders, surveys and focus groups. This primary research was complemented by in-depth market research. The information we gathered enabled us to develop profiles for MITT’s key audience groups, including the resources they use and how they make decisions regarding post-secondary education. By measuring how MITT was perceived and studying its position in-market, we could clearly define its unique strengths and establish benchmarks against which future brand and marketing efforts could be measured.

With audiences profiled and benchmarks set, our next step was to define the MITT brand. We understood that MITT’s value proposition was to bridge the gap between students and the workforce by equipping them with the knowledge and work skills they need to step into a career they love and hit the ground running. This brand definition worked on many levels - giving meaning to the school’s existing brand, addressing the needs of all audiences, and highlighting the common thread that ran throughout MITT’s many divisions and mandates. 

At every stage of the brand project and its rollout, we worked closely and collaboratively with the MITT marketing team, equipping them with tools to facilitate board and stakeholder buy-in and data to back up their strategic and creative decisions.

With a brand defined and established, we needed to share it out - so the “START HERE TO GET THERE” campaign concept was developed. It communicated the school’s ultimate value to its students and the community: MITT is the place that will come alongside you and help you reach your goals.

THE EXECUTION

Our key audience for this campaign - according to data - was post-secondary students in the domestic market, so our campaign creative as well as marketing tactics were selected to resonate specifically with that audience.

When the campaign first launched in late 2019, it included a mix of digital and traditional platforms - including ultra-targeted campaigns on Google Display, Google Search, Facebook and Instagram as well as billboards, bus shelters, and other OOH mediums. 

Over the past two years, we have worked with MITT to expand and evolve the campaign, using data to refine and optimize our approach (and our use of MITT’s marketing budget) and adding more program-specific assets including videos complete with student testimonials, info sheets, and “last call” ads promoting limited spaces remaining in specific program intakes. We’ve also worked with MITT to refine their email marketing strategy and execution including workflows and creative.

THE RESULTS

As a result of the campaign, MITT has experienced record market exposure with record attendance by qualified candidates - even through some challenging pandemic months. Campaign outcomes have far exceeded MITT’s original goals. 

In 2019, awareness of MITT was just 7.1% (similar to Robertson College at 6.8% and Assiniboine Community College at 6.7%). In 2020, we saw awareness grow nearly 100% - from 7.1% to 14% (while Robertson and Assiniboine held steady at 7.2% and 6.2% respectively). In just one short year, MITT now ranks in the top five Manitoba colleges and universities in the minds and memories of Winnipeg residents.

Here are a few recent highlights:

  • In the last year (September 2020 to August 2021), the MITT website has received 421,362 new users to the website - a 34.3% increase in new users as compared to the previous year

  • Over the same time period, we have seen a phenomenal 12.61% increase in goal conversions including:

    • More than 10,000 contacts (clicks to call and email)

    • 1,499 recruitment form inquiries (an increase over the previous year)

    • 1,492 attributed student registrations

"We have an amazing partnership with Metric Marketing.

They have become an extension of our in-house creative team.

Their expertise in digital marketing has made a measurable difference to our institutional goals.

They continually challenge us to think beyond the expected. Their insight and experience in the post-secondary education industry is an asset to MITT.

There is a spirit of collaboration with the Metric team that is unique from other agencies."

- Carisa Laturnus (Creative Director)

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