Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD)
Established in 1965, DCCCD is one of the largest community college systems in the state. There are seven independently accredited colleges within the system including Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, Northlake and Richland. On average 80,000 students enroll each semester in a Dallas Community College with access to more than 250 degrees and certificates. Their focus is on preparing students for the real world, whether it’s training for jobs with a specific skill set or instructional teaching through degreed programs that lead to careers. The district receives local, state and federal funding and must comply with the reporting requirements of each entity.
The main objective of our marketing effort is to increase enrollments. It is important to focus not just on the general market, but on both the Hispanic and African American populations as well. Each segment needs a specific strategy that reaches potential students utilizing the most effective methods available. In addition, we need to generate brand awareness among the parents of potential students as well as the market at large. Having a favorable perception in the minds of the community of DCCCD’s position on education and the contributions it makes in terms of educating and supporting students is necessary for the continued success of its programs. Whether it is support of legislation that favors colleges or raising funds for capital improvement projects, we need to make certain that DCCCD is seen in a positive light. Transparency is key and instilling confidence in the community is crucial to our advertising strategy and tactics.
Over the course of the last seven years, the marketing plan for DCCCD has continually evolved. In the beginning, the plan was simple. We invested in television, radio and transit that specifically targeted our demographic. Traditional media was utilized to reach the youth segments while transit gave us greater brand awareness in the market. In time, we added outdoor to the plan which allowed us an opportunity to target the individual colleges based on the locations of the boards. The plan continue to evolve as we included sports sponsorships and opportunities into the mix. As viewing patterns began to shift, we saw an increased need to include a programmatic play in the mix. It was important to reach our target where they consumed media and mobile, connected TV and desktop became a new focus. We developed creative that specifically targeted this consumer and engagement with the brand increased significantly. As audiences for terrestrial radio began to dwindle we shifted budget to digital audio players such as Pandora and Spotify. As media consumption continued to change, we focused our efforts on staying current with all trends and adjusting our tactics and strategy accordingly. We did not wait for the question to be posed to us, instead we were always proactive with the client in bringing new ideas and discussion to the plans. In some cases, we were the first to implement a new idea or try a different tactic. We see ourselves as partners with our client and it is important for us to stay abreast of all trends and emerging media. Our job is to stay informed, educated and proactive. And, an investment in DCCCD’s success is necessary for us to be a committed player.
With our focus on strategic media plans and our collaborative relationships with vendors, we have increased enrollments and fostered a positive awareness of the brand. We continually revisit our objectives and tactics to test their effectiveness and make adjustments as needed. We work in tandem with the media partners to develop impactful campaigns that resonate with the DCCCD audience. By stepping outside the traditional media vehicles and looking at sports, out of home and digital we’ve exponentially expanded their reach of the market. With increased targeting capabilities, we have been able to hone in on their ideal prospect and bring our messaging to the forefront. Interest and registration in DCCCD has increased over the years. And, our targets have expanded to not only include high school students, but also individuals looking for a career reinvention. Our creative strategy coupled with key media choices, has provided the perfect backdrop for showcasing our messaging. As effective negotiators and through the fostering of strong media partnerships, we continually bring added value to the client in the form of sponsorships, billboards and bonus upwards to 20% over the actual spend. Fostering a respectful relationship with our vendors allows us to continually bring these type of offerings to the client. We have continued to enjoy an extraordinary partnership with DCCCD and each year we find new and innovative ways to increase their voice and presence in the market.