In 2012 the University of Maryland Department of Economics received final regents’ approval to launch a new Masters program in Applied Economics. The department’s goal was to fill the first cohort with a minimum of 15 students, and to put a marketing program in place that sustained enough excitement to create a second cohort immediately after the first was filled. There was less than a year to get this done. Helicopter Marketing was hired for a complete program launch.
The program was unknown, we faced venerable competitors Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University, and the timing was critical. We worked with the department to create a detailed marketing plan, which accommodated the many milestones and deadlines that were required. Then we managed all of the tactical and technical aspects of the plan. We created:
- Relevant messaging to reach and compel the intended market (professionals, primarily in the Federal Government) to attend info sessions. This required careful attention to language, minimizing academic jargon and making the case for the program’s practical relevance to the students’ careers.
- Branding, including a host of printed materials, PPT templates, and signage.
- Website – a complete UMD micro-site to house program information, handle inquiries and direct applicants. (visit site)
- Advertising campaigns, using a variety of radio and online outlets. We handled all buys, creative and traffic, and press releases/PSAs.
We began designing the plan in August 2011. By May 1, over 40 applications were received for the first cohort that Fall. Not only did the department max out the seats in the program, they had a waiting list for Spring. Helicopter Marketing handled the second advertising push for the following cohort. Due to the traction created, the department will hire a staffer to handle ongoing marketing.
“…In August of 2011, the department retained Helicopter Marketing to design and implement a full-scale marketing plan to attract applicants to our program. Helicopter Marketing’s efforts proved enormously successful; we have exceeded our target enrollment and look forward to welcoming our first cohort of students in fall of 2012…Helicopter’s expertise was crucial to our success…”Marianne Ley Hayek
Executive Director of Professional Masters Program
University of Maryland, College Park