Community College Issues Digital RFP

Community College Issues Digital RFP

Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio has issued an RFP for a digital advertising company. Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) is Ohio’s first community college and remains Ohio’s largest public community college.

For more than 50 years Tri-C has provided high quality, affordable education and programs to more than 900,000 members of our community. Each semester Tri-C offers more than 1,000 credit courses in more than 190 career and technical programs and liberal arts curricula. Tri-C also grants Short-Term Certificates, Certificates of Proficiency and Post-Degree Professional Certificates.  The mission of the college is to provide high quality, accessible and affordable educational opportunities and services — including university transfer, technical and lifelong learning programs —that promote individual development and improve the overall quality of life in a multicultural community.

The Integrated Communications Department (ICD) provides all communications and marketing support to the College, including market research, media relations, creative design and printing, photography, website design and update and strategy, print, broadcast and digital advertising, social media monitoring and marketing campaigns, and crisis communications. The staff includes a vice president who reports directly to the College president, three directors, campus-based marketing managers, an interactive communications staff, a design staff (including interactive design), writers and copy editors, an internal communications manager, and a department administrator who manages the budget.

Current Advertising and Overall Marketing

The College has traditionally relied on strong broadcast and print advertising campaigns leading up to each enrollment cycle (August, January and May start dates). In the past five years, the College has pursued digital advertising, as well. Channels have included digital ads on specific news channel websites, digital/mobile/app ads targeted at specific demographics for various campaigns, re-targeting and re-messaging, targeted e-mail campaigns, and promotional posts and ads on social media channels. The College does optimize for Search Engine Marketing, and is looking to hone efforts in this channel.

The goal of current marketing efforts is to support the overall brand of the College, and to drive visitors to the College website, with the ultimate goal of increasing enrollment. In FY16 (July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016), 1,464,647 users visited the website with over 10 million pageviews.  For the first five months of FY17, the website has had an average of 300,000 sessions per month.

Marketing Challenges

The College enjoys high brand awareness (91 percent in 2016 marketing survey of county residents), but that awareness is broad and shallow. Individuals are often not aware of specific programs, campuses or training opportunities. The College’s biggest challenge is the ability to convert leads into enrolled students, for potential students enrolling in academic programs with a goal of transferring to a four-year institution, and for people looking for short-term training in specific workforce programs. While the College definitely attracts inquiries, it is difficult to measure the conversion rate. Marketing and enrollment functions are separated, and developing a consistent feasible conversion process has been difficult. The College has also been challenged with lower-than-average retention rates semester-over-semester and year-over-year.

Scope of Work

Digital campaigns for six-month period, January 17 – June 30, 2017. Types of campaigns will include:

  • Targeted e-mail campaigns
  • Targeted digital/mobile/app ads
  • Social media advertising
  • Geofencing
  • Content Marketing
  • Improved SEO and SEM
  • Other digital channels, as recommended and appropriate

Proposals Due by December 27, 2016

Main Point of Contact Information:
Courtney Clarke
District Director, Strategic Planning
2500 East 22nd Street
Cleveland, OH  44115

Leading PR firms in Ohio include Fahlgren Mortine, Eric Mower & Associates.

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