Lynn University, Small-Budget Marketing Campaign

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2012, Click to Enter The 2014 American Business Awards

Company:  Lynn University
Company Description:Lynn University is an independent, innovative college based in Boca Raton, Florida. U.S. News & World Report recognizes the university as one of the nation's most innovative colleges and consistently ranks it among the top five most international schools, given its approximately 3,000 students from almost 100 countries.
Nomination Category:Communications & Marketing Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category:Small-Budget Marketing Campaign of the Year (<$3 million / €2 million)

Nomination Title:  Lynn University, College Reimagined

Tell the story of this nominated marketing campaign for the judges (up to 525 words). Describe the genesis, planning, execution, and results to date of your campaign. If applicable, remember to describe what's unique or innovative about your campaign:

Campaign genesis

Lynn University set a bold new direction in fall 2013, launching one of the nation’s most extensive iPad-powered learning programs.

Using Apple technology, Lynn delivers its nationally praised core curriculum and enhances learning experiences with multimedia content—replacing textbooks with faculty-produced e-books and saving students up to 90% on materials.

In its first year, Lynn provided more than 600 iPads to incoming freshmen. As of fall 2015, 100% of Lynn’s students are participating in the program.

In just two years, Lynn earned recognition as an Apple Distinguished School, and its vision for a whole new style of teaching and learning became a reality.

Development and planning

As one of only a few U.S. universities to implement this innovative tablet-based learning program, Lynn developed a plan to leverage its first-mover advantage.

Business goals were to recruit “right-fit” students and faculty; increase student enrollment and generate leads; and pioneer a more affordable, higher-quality educational experience.

In turn, communication objectives were set to differentiate Lynn from its competition and demonstrate program benefits; build program awareness and increase qualified leads; and become a leading voice of positive change and best-practice sharing.

Led by Chief Marketing Officer Sherrie Weldon, Lynn’s in-house marketing and communication department developed a campaign that considered input from students and university leaders. Messages were A/B tested and measured against a previous benchmark campaign.

A market analysis ensured maximum visibility with minimal resources and prioritized campaign funds based on the following factors:

• Track record of successful Lynn recruitment
• Competitive pricing relative to average state university costs
• Demand for majors offered
• Unmet need due to recent for-profit college closures

Execution

Lynn’s in-house marketing and communication team debuted the “College Reimagined” campaign—an extensive nationwide multimedia effort that included:

• Strategy, planning and message development
• Creative design and production
• Videography and photography
• Copywriting and editorial
• Public relations
• Web content and SEO
• A lead generation platform with custom micro-site, email marketing and direct mail

Two advertising agencies supported media planning and buying:

• Nationwide digital advertising (display and retargeting): Carnegie Communications
• Local market media: BFW Advertising + Interactive

Results

Recruitment:

In fall 2015, Lynn welcomed its largest class since 2006. In a survey of Lynn students, 69% said the iPad influenced their decision to come to Lynn.

Lead generation:

From fall 2014 to fall 2015, prospective student inquiries increased 46%. Lynn.edu year-over-year web traffic increased 30%. Traffic to the lynn.edu/ilynn microsite increased more than 650% following public launch.

On Facebook alone, Lynn increased engagement and weekly impressions by nearly 70% within three days of public launch.

Awareness and industry leadership:

U.S. News and World Report ranked Lynn among the nation’s top 25 most innovative colleges. Lynn’s innovations were featured by NBC Nightly News, Inside Higher Ed and Forbes, among other national and trade media.

In a survey of prospective students, 70% of traditional students and 65% of adult students said the “College Reimagined” ad increased their interest in Lynn.

Lynn faculty and administrators have been invited by dozens of other universities in the U.S., Japan and Ireland to demonstrate on-campus mobile technology best practices.

Provide a brief biography of the leader of the team that planned and executed this marketing campaign (up to 125 words):

Sherrie Weldon
Chief Marketing Officer
Lynn University

An experienced senior executive and strategic marketer, Sherrie Weldon has amassed a career spanning over 20 years of corporate and agency roles in New York, London and San Francisco. She has worked for leading brands including Sony, Philips, HP, Xerox, FTI Consulting and Florida State University.

Since joining Lynn University in 2013, Sherrie and her team have modernized the university’s brand, incorporating professional communications into the campus culture and aligning marketing with the university’s 2020 strategic plan. Her recent achievements include university-wide brand guidelines, a new athletics brand for Lynn’s national champion Fighting Knights and international recognition for the university’s innovative iPad-powered learning program.