St. John’s-Ravenscourt (SJR) is a leading private academic institution whose history dates back almost 200 years. Their progressive approach to education challenges students to push themselves every day so they can become the best version of themselves. In the spring of 2016, SJR approached Metric Marketing to help them increase their early enrolment numbers through data-driven marketing.
We began by commissioning third-party market research aimed at identifying audience motivators and people in geographic regions who were more likely to enrol their child. Based on these findings, we segmented our audience into three psychographic profiles and built a campaign platform and media strategy focused on connecting with these communities.
We started with a creative approach that was based on a single moment—the first time a parent recognizes that their child has untapped potential. The campaign included six creative elemnts, each of which spoke to a different skill set, with the theme line, “It’s easy to spot a future student.” Each ad featured a child building on one of their interests, and ads ran a mix of online and offline media solutions.
After running this campaign for two years and carefully tracking its performance, we put our findings to work when developing the next iteration. The new campaign concept, “Turn Learners into Leaders,” depicted SJR’s focus on nurturing each learner's unique strengths and interests so they can become the best version of themself.
Our initial campaign surpassed all performance expectations, attracting more than 300 parents to SJR’s open house. This meant we could narrow our focus for the next campaign, refining our audience profile and hyper-targeting qualified leads with messaging that would be specific to their stage in the customer journey. We also dialed up the focus on academic programming, a key competitive strength of SJR. Ads featured students in all program areas, with an emphasis on sciences, health, debate and other academic streams.
We also expanded the campaign to new geographies, in accordance with SJR’s new goal of growing enrollment in its domestic boarding program. Ads featured older students—which reflects the acceptable age for boarding students—along with a new headline and feature programs that were deemed in demand in select geographies.
The campaign ran in market via online ads and directed parties to conversion pages that told the SJR story and delivered a contact form users could fill in to learn more. Retargeting allowed enhanced messaging to guide users from awareness to consideration, and A/B testing enabled us to continuously optimize the campaign, which we did by cycling through multiple executions and displaying higher-performing ads throughout the campaign.
Creative messaging and visuals developed for the campaign also guided new marketing and communications collateral, including a viewbook and program insert.
Over the years, these campaigns have continuously filled spots at the SJR open house with qualified leads that have gone on to enrol and thrive in the school’s environment. They’ve driven hundreds of conversions and helped raise awareness of the SJR brand, with more than 18.5 million impressions over the course of four years.
Along with providing the most successful recruitment campaigns in the school's history, Metric’s data-driven approach has enabled SJR’s senior administrative, marketing and recruitment teams to better understand their audiences, refine their approach and use the tools they have to their fullest possible advantage.