TNT6: Get Your Easy Button: Web and Marketing Working Together

Kevin Lavelle, Coordinator of Web Services, Xavier University

Maggie Ridder, Director of e-Marketing, Xavier University


The audio for this podcast can be downloaded at http://highedweb.org/2009/presentations/tnt6.mp3


[Intro Music]

Announcer: You’re listening to one in a series of podcasts from the 2009 HighEdWeb Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Maggie Rauch: So we're going to talk about web and marketing working together with an enrolment charge that we received in the winter, kind of this time last year, in the winter of '08.

[Laughter]

Just to tell--if you don't know Xavier University, we are a Jesuit Catholic university in Cincinnati, Ohio. If you don't follow college basketball, you may not have heard of us. We have about 4200 undergraduates and a graduate pool of about 2700 students, our big graduate programs being in Education and our MBA program. We are a smaller school, but we still offer 81 majors and 45 minors.

I'm Maggie Rauch. I am the director for E-Marketing. I am in the marketing group. If you look me up in the book, I'm Maggie Ridder. I'm newly married, so name change is a little confusing there.

Kevin Lavelle: And I'm Kevin Lavelle. Welcome, everyone. Thank you for being here, the last session of the day. I've been at Xavier for a little over 11 years now, four years as an undergraduate student. I started working two weeks after I graduated in the Admission office. I spent five years there as a recruiter and counselor, and then I transitioned.

I am now a recovering Admission person, as the Admission people like to say. And I work in the office of Web Services. I'm the coordinator of Web Services, which means I plan web services projects and meet with clients all around the university, and I'm part of the Information Resources division. So we're in separate offices, separate divisions, which we will be talking about.

Maggie Rauch: So our goal that was kind of given to us in the winter of 2008, which this came from the administration and the Dean's, as probably many of you know, about that time last year was the panic of the economy and meeting the freshman class. So there was a lot of concern of were we going to be able to reach our numbers and hit our goal for our freshman class we were recruiting was 940 students.

So, kind of from the higher level we were given, we needed to drive more applications and more deposits, thus being able to accept more students so that with a higher yield on them. The charge that we were given was to focus on some of the larger programs that drive students to Xavier, while also kind of focusing on some programs that were a little underserved, didn't have a lot of marketing, but had capacity to grow, and so we wouldn't be putting them over the top. They had some room for students there.

Who we involved. There were three groups that we mainly went with which was Marketing, the group that I'm in, which, University Relations, as we're known as, and then we had to involve Admissions or Enrolment, as many of you know, Web Services, which Kevin is under, kind of our information resources.

So those were the three groups that kind of came together after the administration gave us kind of our initial marching orders.

Our challenges. Our challenges were that the administration gave us the programs. We didn't really have a say in what we were going to focus on. So those were just kind of given to us.

Timing. Timing was a little stressful because we were actually in the middle of the recruiting cycle. So there was the question of, well, we have some inquiries out there, we have some applications out there, how are we going to market to all of them?

And then the budget's always a problem. It was kind of up in the air of how much money do we actually have.

Kevin Lavelle: So now that Maggie sort of laid out the scenario that we were working with and the marching orders that came from the administration, we were sort of left to our groups to sit down and decide what is this going to look like, how are we going to execute this general plan.

The initial plan that was presented to us, or the initial idea was to sort of go big. So have billboards spread across Cincinnati, to try and increase interest, get the word out there about our Business program and Education and Sports Studies, Sports Marketing and Sports Management, those sorts of things. To try and make a big splash.

But I think as we realized the budget concerns, but also if we were really trying to grow enrolment, that might grow interest, especially as you look over the course of the winter, most students have already made their decisions about what schools they're going to be applying to. We might make some headway with sophomores and juniors in terms of their interests and knowledge of Xavier, but you're not really going to grow enrolment that way. Our immediate focus was on seniors, getting the freshman class and sort of weathering the difficult economy. So we quickly moved away from the idea of this sort of big-budget, big-exposure plan.

Another couple of reasons that we cited for moving away from that, which we had to cite those reasons to kind of get off the plan, we had some existing resources out there that we really needed to take advantage of.

The Road to Xavier website is an in-house internet, if you will, for admitted prospective students. So high school seniors, once they've been admitted to Xavier, would get access to the Road to Xavier website. They will be able to log in, check their financial aid, interact with current students, interact with one another. They have lots of elements in there that we really drive them towards. And so we didn't want to lose that in trying to engage the freshmen. So we needed to incorporate that and the billboard didn't fit in.

We also knew that down the road we were going to need to involve faculty. For trying to engage students at the department level, we really need the faculty involved because they are the experts in those areas.

From having been a recruiter at Xavier, we are a great Jesuit Catholic Liberal Arts university and we oftentimes sell the Liberal Arts. One of the things that we're not great are in the Admission, in my opinion, is being very specific. We talk about the broad things, but we never really get down to the details of what makes business specifically great or what makes education stand out here versus X, Y and Z other university. So we were going to need to have faculty involved, and we knew that phoning was going to be a component of that as well. So for many, many reasons, we sort of moved off that initial plan.

We then moved in to what we'll call the 'real plan.' A realistic challenge that we could move forward with, and then I think made sense on a lot of different levels. I guess, I would think sophisticated integrated marketing plan. We decided that we were going to move out with three print pieces. First, to create awareness. So the first group that would be mailed would include both the prospective students at the inquiry level, but then students who had already been admitted and were involved in the sort of the admitted stage process.

The second level would be promoting department-level events, so having the academic departments host their own specific events and Business and Montessori Education and Art, something that had not been done previously. So we needed this campaign to build towards something.

And then the third level would be sort of a general push about outcomes: what our students do, their successes, first the undergraduate students, and then after they graduate, really highlighting, sort of making that final sales pitch on why Xavier and why our specific program.

We also decided that we were going to create landing pages that would integrate with the current Road to Xavier framework. And this is a real challenge in the sense that we weren't just dealing with admitted students. We were asked to try and generate interest among sort of that inquiry stage, so students who had shown interest but who hadn't yet applied or been admitted. And so we couldn't put everything that we wanted on the Road to Xavier because that would be too easy, because students who hadn't been admitted yet obviously wouldn't have access to that level.

So we couldn't put it behind a password. So we needed to find a way to incorporate Road to Xavier in that password-protected area but also leave it above the log-in so that all students would have access to it if they wanted to. We decided that the landing pages we were going to incorporate profiles, videos, and would allow the students to register for the specific events, those academic departments. We will be showing this in just a little bit.

We talked about the--I mentioned the events that each academic department was expected to put on in whatever that meant for them specifically. And we'll show what that meant. Of course, this was also sort of Web, Marketing and the Admission deciding this. We hadn't really talked to the faculty yet, so... That was a fun conversation that we let Admission have, telling the academic side that they were going to have to be putting on these events to make this whole thing go.

Some additional elements: profiling of students and alums, an email campaign to coordinate with, the print and web, alumni-phoning, faculty-phoning and data feedback, which we'll mention in a bit.

I think one of the most important elements of this particular plan is that once we decided on sort of the overall picture, we really laid out specifics of what each group was going to take charge of.

Admission, we decided that they were going to work with faculty and be our primary faculty liaisons. So they were going to work with the faculty to coordinate the phoning that came, so faculty members in that department calling admitted students, talking with them, answering their questions and promoting their department.

We're also going to ask them to coordinate the events because Admission really focuses on putting together those larger open house or those sorts of events, so working with the faculty to create some sort of an experience to engage those students at the department level.

Admission also put together some academic fact sheets that we incorporated on the web, and the phoning campaign. So they became our liaisons really to the academic side of the house.

Marketing was really focused on all the print pieces, so putting together everything that was mailed out, the profiles that were contained there. Since they were doing the print side of the profiles, they also put together the videos that we are going to highlight online. So they focused a lot on the content.

And then Web Services, our office, really created the landing pages for each of the academic departments, incorporated the Road to Xavier design and logged in with that. We fed data back to Admission, which became very, very important. Data in the sense that we were able to track, because it's our own sort of in-house internet, when students logged in, how many times they logged in, if they had created a profile, if they had updated their profile. All of those sorts of things, all of those pieces of data we were able to push back to the office of Admission so they would know who, in a sense, the hot prospects are.

If you're looking at 200 nursing students and you know that 50 of them have been on the Road to Xavier within the last three days, you know that 50 of them hadn't been on at all, that really tells you who you should be focusing on as you're really trying to use those finite resources. I think, again, as a former Admission person, that's some of the most critical data and allowed Admission and the faculty to really focus on the most interested students.

Maggie Rauch: So these were the eight programs that were kind of identified that we were going to start to market to, some of them being our larger programs, Business, Nursing, Undecided, some of them being a little bit smaller, our Art department, Communication Arts, Montessori Ed. They were a little bit but smaller had room for capacity.

So those were the eight that were identified that we were going to focus on for this time. The messaging of it was actually--we started, we knew we had these programs kind of like, "What are we going to do?"

We actually got our entire marketing team together, which also involves printing services, our e-marketing, print graphic designers. Even if you weren't involved in the project, we went and got everyone together for a couple of hours just to brainstorm. What messages do we want to get out there? What do we want to do?

And really when it came down to it, we realized, and that we've heard time and time again, is that students want to hear from other students, want to hear from people their age. So we knew that we wanted to focus on either current students that were doing something in these programs, or young alums probably no more than three years out.

In our brainstorming session, we finally came up with kind of the "I Am" campaign. And "I Am"... I'm not getting out here.

[Laughter]

Maggie Rauch: The "I Am" campaign was basically... And here's one of our examples. It was kind of like, "I Am", what is my role currently, whether it's the job I'm in or what I'm doing as a student?

What is my role in service? Service is a very large component at Xavier. Service is built in to pretty much your program at Xavier. So we wanted that certain Jesuit service component pulled in and then with the foundation of our tagline, "The power of X." So that came out of a large brainstorming session that we had, "Moving Forward".

From there, we went with--as Kevin said, there were three print pieces for each program. So we did a total of 24 print pieces. And working with our writers. And our writers also write for our magazine, so they were tuned in to some profiles that they knew, but then also worked with the deans of the specific programs to find out about some kids that were doing some really cool things.

So here's one example of the print pieces. I have tons of them up here because we did 24 of them. These were actually mailed in a clear envelope so they arrived in your mailbox like this because we also know no one will open anything up and read it. So if it was pulled in from the mail and laying on the table, it was right there that they could see it.

This is an example of actually one of our young alums. He is an '07 graduate. And what we wanted to do was tell a story for each of the students. Corey's story was, he was in Sports Studies, one of the programs, and Corey actually interned as a student with the Cincinnati Reds and he was involved in their program for bringing baseball to Inner City children. So he worked raising funds for that program and also getting the Reds players to come to the events. So he did that as a student. And then after he graduated, he actually is now working in marketing for the Reds.

So we wanted to focus on what is that service component, and then what was the outcome. Because we have also learned from parents, outcomes are a big deal. If they're going to spend all the money, they want to know that it's going towards something.

So we did 24 of those, each one focusing on a student and not program, also kind of highlighting the program at a high level. And then the big thing was to drive them to the website, to drive them to the landing page where they could learn more about the program, they could view videos on all the kids, and also be able to register online for events for their specific program.

We did three different mailings. January was our largest number because we went with inquiries and applicants, so that was 28,000. And then in February and March, we actually went with accepted students who had identified that they were interested in particular programs.

Kevin Lavelle: To touch a little bit on the website of the house. Again, we developed a landing page that complemented the print piece that went out. So, the print pieces are being passed around. If you'd like to take a look at the end of the session, we have the Roadto.Xavier.edu, which is our general Road to Xavier website available to all admitted students. And then we would do /Business or /Sports or /Montessori for the individual programs. And so it complemented the print piece, and the print piece really drove them to the web where they could find more, watch a video, where they could register for the academic event, those sorts of things.

Just to look at some of our traffic. The only way we advertised these programs was through the print piece and through the emails that were sent out to interested students. So it wasn't like there was a lot of outside traffic or students who might just randomly stumble upon the pages. They had to be a part of this specific campaign to know it was there.

So we had over 1200 visits for Business, and you'll see it kind of going down. As you get towards the bottom, you see Art and Montessori, which are smaller programs, as Maggie had mentioned, and Communication Arts, which was by far the smaller. And we'll talk about some lessons learned with Communications here in a bit. We saw a good amount of traffic especially for the size pool that we have of students. We saw a lot of interest and repeat visitors to the websites.

The components that went into the website, we had a video that was coordinated with the Marketing office. So they oftentimes, as they were interviewing students for these profiles, would also shoot a video piece, work with the Public Relations office, which is in University Relations with Maggie and the Marketing group, to have a video there.

We had event registration, as I mentioned. We had a faculty member who is a contact from each of the departments, so we had their photo there, and a quick access to be able to send them a direct question. So just name, email address, and the question you have for that faculty member, and they are able to shoot a question to them really quickly.

I was copied on those emails that were sent, and I would say for each department, there were about 20 emails for each of the academic programs. So, about 160 total. So that was a utilized function. Students, when they just had a quick question about, you know, what sort of concentrations are available within Art, well, we have Fiber Arts and Sculpture and Ceramics and so on and so forth. So it was a well-utilized feature.

When you look back at the analytic still, the single most popular thing for students to do once they came to this landing pages was to log into the Road to Xavier website itself. So I'm glad we kept that component because that was what most students were looking for when they hit these pages. They might look at information, but they were going straight in to Road to Xavier.

I'm going to sit now. I'm going to go head and pull up one of the pages just so you can get a sense of what it looked like and hopefully the wireless will work for me.

We have just over 4,000 total undergraduate students, and we're looking for a freshman class. The goal for the freshman class was around 940. I'll be honest with you. I thought that was crazy. The largest freshman class that we had had in the previous five years was around 870. So setting 940 in this economy I thought was crazy. But you do what you're told.

Audience 1: We did think about it as kind of a version of that required us to come into the program but they're recruiting so different compared to that. Most of it is with relationships established. It wasn't because our education school was so good or our MBA programs, our evening MBA programs worked with them. So we did a few things for graduate education, but not to this extent at all.

Kevin Lavelle: The question was, how did we get faculty involved in the process? How did we get them to make phone calls and all of that? Not that I would say we got them to do anything. They were gracious enough to help, but... We'll be hitting on that in just a bit.

Here's a look at the Road to Xavier website. We incorporated the log-in over here on the right-hand side. But we put in fact sheets, link to schedule of campus visit, the actual department website on our public site. We created a page for parents of students who have sons or daughters who might be interested in this particular program. Information for transfer students, that was a late addition, but that's the way it goes.

Ask the Art Department. So Suzanne Chouteau is the chair of the Art Department, so we just put her picture up there and some contact information. The students were able to just shoot off a quick question and really associate a faculty face in contact with the program.

We have the student profile over here on the left hand side. And as you'll see at the top we have some rotating videos such as this. And of course the audio is not hooked up. So we have video in there. No, the audio is not in there.

So we did our best to try and incorporate the Road to Xavier elements but also bring in new elements that complemented the print pieces. All the videos were created in-house and then we all hosted ourselves. We didn't put them on YouTube or anything like that.

Audience 2: Did you do anything more to that?

Kevin Lavelle: Sure. It's stuff that we did later on, add to those sites, but at that point we decided that we wanted to keep it as just part of the specific campaign, but it is later being added into Social Media and we'll likely be repurposing some of the video or profiles again this year to save on time and resources. But we'll probably be using it again for similar endeavors this year.

I think one of the most important elements of the whole process was that it had to build towards something. It couldn't just be this general awareness of our academic programs or you're checking out a website. One of the things that we made clear from the beginning is that we had to have faculty involvement, we had to have an actual program that we could advertise to these students, to get them interested in coming to campus, to really see our facilities, to meet the faculty, to hear success stories, and not just sort of remain on a piece of paper or on the web.

So, when Admission worked with the various academic departments, they decided what would be most appropriate for them. Just a few examples, Art held a showing in the university art gallery. Business held a networking event with some Xavier alums from our Business program, along with some of the mentors who are from local business community who mentor our undergraduate students.

Sports Studies, using some of the contacts like Corey that Maggie mentioned and a few other grads who work for the Cincinnati Reds, they actually held a meeting down at the Great American Ballpark where the Reds play. It was just a great event for students who are interested in sports not just to be on a campus but to sort of be in the environment in that professional sports environment and hearing from some of our alums who work in sports.

Education, the Montessori program took a tour of the Montessori lab school, and Nursing took their students through the clinical labs on our campus. So they tried to do it all with sort of the department appropriate within their environment. Please.

Audience 3: OK, what percentage of your undergraduate student body would come from the Cincinnati area?

Kevin Lavelle: Good question. The question was, what percentage of our students are from the local Cincinnati area? About a quarter of our students are from a 30-mile radius, so, what we would consider the greater Cincinnati area. So 25%. Xavier has about--50% of our students are from in-state, in Ohio, 50% are from other states.

I always think that's a tricky number, as a former Admission person. We're in southwest Ohio so you could literally be five minutes from our campus and be out-of-state or you could be four hours away in Cleveland and be in-state, so it doesn't always mean as much having recruited in the Cleveland area.

So I would say, it's about half of our students are from about a two-hour radius of Xavier's campus, and about a quarter are from the immediate Cincinnati area.

Maggie Rauch: We also followed up all of the mail pieces with an email campaign. So emails were dropped approximately two weeks after the mail piece had dropped, so we wanted it to stay fresh in their minds, and then kind of hit up again with the same student that hopefully they saw in the mail a teaser about them.  

A real high level of the program and really focusing on the events. The biggest drive on this was getting them to the website, and then also getting them to that next step, which was registering for the event online. So we also did 24 of these that followed up all the print pieces.

You had a question about phoning. We started phoning campaigns with our faculty calling. I'll start with the student calling. We have an annual fun phone-aton program that is all student-based. So it is student-run, everything. They offered up about two to three of their students of the calling. Normally, each night they were about 20 calling. They offered up two to three of their students for one month that went and called the students, just to get their interests, students that were interested in programs, letting them know about the events, what was out there.

So that's how we got students involved. The faculty calling also came out of... Can we go to the next one, Kevin? We started an alumni ambassador program, getting alums involved in calling students. And we had about 100 alums participate and we gave them three to five names of students. We tried to match it up with where they lived, maybe if they had gone to the same high school as the student, and did an entire program that they could call students--a lot of times they ended up talking to parents more so than the students, but just asking if there's any questions about Xavier, did you hear about the event and this program?

When we had a lot of success with that and we had made... The ambassador program had its own website, we had a full calling booklet of scripts and everything that we put together, and actually what we did was that book copy interests of faculty, and we went and revamped the book that we did with all the calling scripts and the questions and our FAQs and everything, and we went and distributed all that to faculty.

But it was more of a faculty-run on the calling. I would love to say we had a big hand in that, but it was faculty, so we weren't quite as involved. But it kind of came out of that ambassador program that we had.

Kevin Lavelle: I also think that the deans, and the fact that the program did come sort of top-down, we had a lot of support from the deans who were then pushing back on the department chairs and letting them know if they wanted to have enrolment, because I know that no faculty liked to complain, but if they really wanted to increase enrolment in their area whether they were under-subscribed or whether they were one of our largest programs, they're one of the biggest efforts that they were going to need to make was to help put on these events and to make some phone calls.

Even if that was 20 or 30 phone calls on the Montessori level or a thousand phone calls on the Business level, that was what needed to be done. So with Admission pushing and then sort of the administration, the deans coming, we got a little bit more support than we probably previously got in that sort of an effort.

But I also think it took panic of the economy and some real push from the administration to really make that happen. I think if it was just a general solicitation for phoning, I think it would've probably been stopped in its tracks, with the exception of a few departments who were always willing to help.

We had mentioned the events and the attendance there as an important part of the process. Here's a look at the attendance for the various programs. In the left hand column, two of our largest programs, Business and Nursing, had 56 and 52 attendees respectively.

Sports Studies, which is a pretty small program at Xavier, had 11 students who came down to the Great American Ballpark. I believe 10 of those students ended up enrolling at Xavier, so it was an effective program. And for a program that would typically have five to six students in a freshman class, 10 students enrolling just from that one program is a pretty big deal for them.

Then it started to get smaller with Pre-Med, Undecided, Montessori Education. Art only had one. Communication Arts did not hold an event. I think one of the things that we push back on is that we were handed these programs. We did not have a strategic say in saying that we should be focusing on Business and this program and that program.

Communications at Xavier is a good program. It's a department in, I'll say 'turmoil', and I'll leave it at that. I don't think it was a very good strategic decision. We pushed it, we made the pieces and all of that, but I think it shows in the web traffic that was relatively low and the fact that they were notable to pull off an event, I think that was a real missed opportunity, and so I think that's one of the disappointments that we had. But then again, the programs were selected for us and so we did what we thought.

I think Business and Nursing had strong attendance because they are some of our top programs and there's a lot of interest there. They also did some smart things. They combined their events around some of our larger open house days. So if we had a Saturday open house day in March, they would host something on Friday evening. So students who might have already been in town or who could combine trips to come in and check out Business and check out the university as a whole at the open house were able to do so.

Specifically, something like Pre-Med, which only had a few students but is a great program, they decided they were going to try and do their event in conjunction with academic days, sort of a faculty symposium, that was also at four o'clock on a Tuesday afternoon. So I think to the question of, how many students are local, well that shut about 75% of our prospective students out immediately because students who were more than an hour away can't be at Xavier four o'clock on a Tuesday.

And, no offense to the academic departments, but a faculty symposium just isn't going to draw kids in the way a trip to the Great American ballpark or meeting with business mentors or in touring the nursing facilities would. So I think, again, that was their decision, but I think as we evaluate and look back on it, I think they could've planned a little bit better and maybe chosen a little bit better venue to make their program accessible to prospective students.

Overall, for these events, the yield was around 70%. Keep in mind that Xavier are your yield rates, so the percentage of students who were admitted who actually enroll is in the low 20's. So 70% is pretty strong. From the ambassador phoning program, the yield rate was around 40%, so, again, established some strong connections.

Just a look at enrolment by numbers. The top left-hand graphic, which is relatively small, but you can tell from the scale. Xavier this year welcomed our largest freshman class in University's history.

Again, our goal was 940, which I thought was ridiculous. I thought 850 was much more reasonable. We finished at the end of September with a freshman class of 1,174. So we were a good 250 students or so above where what our goal was. So we had a great year and I think this campaign was certainly a part of that.

If you look at the percentage increase in the enrolment for the various academic programs that we focused on, Business increased by 36%, Montessori Education increased by 100%. Now, 100% meant they went from three majors to six majors. They were still excited about having six majors, but keep in mind, Nursing had a huge increase, 104%. They went from 56 majors to 114 majors, which is just outstanding for what is a great program.

Physics increased 325%. No, again, they went from five to 17, but they had a huge increase and they're very, very excited about that. Pre-Med, 42%. Sports Studies, 38. Undecided, 18%.

The two programs that did not really see an increase would be Art, which stayed flat. They had three majors initially and they have three majors again this year. And Communications actually dropped in terms of their majors. So, again, I think we need to be more strategic in terms of the programs that we highlight and that we select, and that's something that we'll recommend moving forward.

I think a few of the lessons that we learned going through this whole process was sort of dropped on us in November, around Thanksgiving time, and they said, "Hey, how fast can you get all of this up?" And after making our decisions of an integrated print, web, email, phoning campaign, we were able to get it up in early January and continued it through the enrolment of May the 1st and welcomed our largest freshman class in history. So we're really excited and very proud of that.

I think we need to, again, focus on the programs that have the potential for growth and also the capacity for growth. It makes no sense to focus on programs that are at capacity. They can't take any more students, so why and try and build enrolment there. Keep doing the things that you've been doing. But if there are programs that could grow from a facility standpoint, from the faculty standpoint, then I think that we need to focus on those. Communications did not fit that bill, and I think--we recommended moving this year that we not pursue highlighting Communications.

Collaborations within the department was key. Once we've decided on a plan of action, we move forward with it. We met regularly. We would have a standing meeting every Thursday afternoon at two o'clock to meet every week, sit down and talk about what elements Admission have put in place in terms of place and faculty phoning, elements Marketing have put together in terms of the print pieces and the videos, what we had put together on the website and registration and all of that.

I also think it's important for us to have a key single contact person from those groups. I was the Web person who worked with our staff. Maggie was the point person who worked with the marketing staff. And then one of our counterparts in the Admission office, Mary Anne, was really the key person who focused and coordinated all the admission efforts.

We didn't have a thousand emails circulating. Maggie handled everything with her team, I handled everything with my team. It was a larger group effort of probably 20, 25 people, but we only needed three people contacting about what was needed, what was still needed to be done and all of that, and that really made the process move a lot better and a lot clearer.

Maggie Rauch: Part of our moving forward, we are in the process of starting this all over again right now. Our first--we are going with the same approach with the student profile web pages, all the integrated marketing. We're trying to get ahead of it this year so that our first one will drop November 1st to our inquiry pool that concurrently have.

We're trying to recycle, re-use what we can of the profiles that we have, but we are revisiting the kids because some of them are a year into their career. So we're trying to use what we can because we have a lot of photography and video that we did last year.

But expanding on the students. We have some kids that were--the kid that we focused on on Undecided actually went into Comm Arts eventually and he's now in film school in New York. So it's a great another piece that we can add on to him. So we're trying to utilize what we do have.

But we're also... This year we had a little bit more say in the programs that were handed to us so that we could kind of, with web traffic and everything, kind of get out there of what we think what would be strong programs, so that may be the Arts and the Comm Arts kind of fall off this year.

And focusing our other one is--last year we did Montessori Education. We're this year at a higher level. We're just going to go with Education because it's a much larger pull for us.

Also one of the stronger focused events we had, Sports Studies had a great event, but then we had some, like our Undecided pool, which was a little too broad, a little too general. They were in a room like this so they weren't really engaged. It wasn't tying them in. So working this year, trying to bring Career Services and getting their involvement, getting our mentor program involved so that it's a little more engaging to both parents and students.

Probably our biggest thing moving forward with our large classes, now we've got to build a dorm because we went from our freshman--all dorms went from a double to a triple this year. So, on the campaign side, we've got a big initiative. We've got to house all these kids somewhere, so that's probably another big one we have.

Kevin Lavelle: I think that's a good problem to have if it's--

Maggie Rauch: It's a good problem.

Kevin Lavelle: That's where we're at.

Maggie Rauch: It's a really good problem.

Kevin Lavelle: We have a little bit of time left to take a few questions. And we'll repeat the questions so that it's all available for the podcast, so, please.

Audience 4: I'm speaking to the fact according to the number of things you just saved, this is how much our approval rating was previously. That this campaign will have the overall numbers. Do you capture it maybe or do some other things?

Kevin Lavelle: Sure. I would say--all of this was generally additive. We had never done anything that focused specifically on the academic departments. From a print mailing perspective, certainly we all have--all the departments have the public facing website that's out there. We track their traffic and trends and all of that, but it wasn't sort of at this level. So in a lot of ways it's all sort of relatively new.

If you look at the yield percentages for those various academic programs, whether they came through this or not, our overall yield increased around--we had about a 40% larger class, and so if look at some of these programs, they were some of the largest contributors to the increase in enrolment.

And you see Business, Nursing, and Undecided as three of the largest drivers of that 250 or so extra students in the freshman class.

All of the web traffic, by trying to isolate it not make these URLs available to the wider public, we know that all the traffic that came to the website came because of either the email or the print piece. It couldn't be just some general student who is out there and found a link off of our public facing website.

And then we're also able to track how many students who logged into Road to Xavier came from the Nursing landing page or the Business landing page, so we were able to get a lot of great analytics once they kind of went from this stage into the Road to Xavier website. That's what we're really able to track at an individual level. Students who had activity here took it to Road to Xavier and then we were able to feed that back to Admission office. 

So I think it'll be nice for us next year to have two years of data to compare, but looking at the overall trends, I think we did pretty well. But I think there are some programs that did better than others, and that's something we need to address. Please.

Audience 5: What's the motivator for the student body for doing this?

Kevin Lavelle: Sure.

Maggie Rauch: We'll repeat the question. What drew kids to log in? The Road to Xavier, as soon as they're accepted to Xavier, they're provided with their username and password upon acceptance. And it's pretty much after they're accepted, it is on every communication piece that really goes out the door, because they have to go into the Road to Xavier to, like, all of their housing is in there, all of their financial aid is in there, pretty much everything is housed within that portal. So it's their number one resource to get in there.

Kevin Lavelle: They really have to do their business of admission once they've been admitted. They have to go to the Road to Xavier website. And so we know that 43% of students who are admitted never go on Road to Xavier. That's 43% of students that we don't have to focus on, you know? You can focus on the 57% that did. So right off the top you're eliminating two-fifths of the students who you know who have been admitted but really aren't that interested.

And from an Admission standpoint, the ability to focus on those who are and know who those students are at individual level is just great information. It allows us then to focus on print pieces or email campaigns later on. You know, we don't have to hit everyone. We can focus our phoning, our email campaigns on just the students who are specifically still interested interacting with Xavier. Please.

Audience 6: So what this is from, is this kind of a transformational thing? Because you had a relationship before.

Kevin Lavelle: Great question. The question was, did this sort of a cultural change to this project sort of bring us together? Did we have a good working relationship already or was this sort of a top-down, make-it-happen sort of a deal?

From my perspective, from at least from a Web perspective, and also as a former Admission person, I think we work pretty well together. I think, even the fact that we're in three divisions, we're in three totally separate facilities on our campus, I think we talk and interact pretty well. I think that this project brought us together on a much larger level and made us work a lot more closely than we ever had before.

Which doesn't mean--I mean, Maggie and I meet all the time to talk about mutual projects between the Web office and the Marketing office, so it's not like it was the first time we had ever met. But we worked a lot more closely on this project than we probably had on anything previously.

Maggie Rauch: And I would say from my perspective, the one benefit was it came from a very high level. It was supposed to be this billboard campaign which we're thinking, 'What 17-year-old is reading a billboard?' You know?

But when we finally got together and it got down to the level of people that were going to implement it, the higher-ups really allowed us to do our job and drive what we wanted to do and where we landed on all of the delivery bullets we wanted to come across. That was the key component for me. That, it started high and we were really able to drive it from kind of efforts and on the inside.

Kevin Lavelle: We still have time for one or two more questions. Question there. Please.

Audience 7: How was it made, in-house?

Kevin Lavelle: It was all developed in-house. We've had the Road to Xavier website for about five years now. We originally started this process--five years ago we worked with Hanson Dodge, which is a marketing firm out of Milwaukee. And then after the first two years, we really cut ties with Hanson Dodge and we brought it all completely in-house. And two years ago we rebuilt it all from scratch within the Web office. And so we do it all sort of in-house.

We'll also have a Post-Recession tomorrow if you want to see Road to Xavier more specifically and ask some specific questions. I'd be glad to talk about it anytime but, we'll have the poster session tomorrow. Please.

Audience 8: Do you have any number of the topic or trends?

Kevin Lavelle: I would say no.

[Laughter]

Kevin Lavelle: Our largest cost came almost exclusively to the print side of things. We did just admits for the second and third mailings, which is around 4,000 each, but we went out to over 20,000 for the first one. And so that ate up almost our entire budget. We had a little bit in there for video shoots, all of the web stuff was done in-house, so we developed that ourselves. That was just our time. So I would say in general, no.

We didn't have a huge budget to make all of this happen. I think our total budget in summer was around $20,000.

Maggie Rauch: Yeah, I think in total we spent about $20,000 and I would say 95% of that was on the print pieces, the production of it and the mailing of it. The only other expense, really, that we had was video, and we already had kind of a monthly retainer for videos that we get anyway and we used it for a few months to get the videos for this. But other than that, it was in-house. And it's online, it's free, right?

[Laughter]

Kevin Lavelle: Right.

Maggie Rauch: So everybody says.

Kevin Lavelle: So nothing specific on this campaign. Certainly within Admission and Enrolment, they do all of those sorts of projections.

Maggie Rauch: Sure.

Kevin Lavelle: I think the one number that mattered to the administration ultimately, though, is 1174. It's a huge freshman class and that's sort of the endgame, which was a great thing to deliver.

I think we're done. Thank you all for coming.

Maggie Rauch: I think we're done. Thank you!

[Applause]