The Sage Colleges – Recruitment Research

Objective
With enrollment declining, The Sage Colleges needed to rebuild its marketing approach . The college set a goal to restructure marketing efforts and to have its website be the number one marketing and recruitment tool for the college .

Methodologies
Sage turned to Zone 5, its marketing partner since 1999 . Zone 5 conducted a variety of surveys and focus groups to gain feedback from current students, graduates, and transfers about the college, its website, and marketing . In total, there were more than 200 internal and external participants in this study .

Additionally, Zone 5 administered a quantitative phone survey among 400 regional high school seniors and their parents to gauge attitudes and perceptions of the Sage brand . A baseline was developed for use in future updates to confirm that we are moving the needle .

Sage and Zone 5 used this data to develop new, more effective marketing and communication strategies . The college decided to refocus its efforts, expanding its use of traditional media and putting more emphasis on Web 2 .0 efforts . Our marketing communications strategy was to develop a fully-integrated campaign with surgical timing in a narrow window of prospects’ decision- making (and admission staff efforts) designed to influence admissions yield for several key programs .

Results
Enrollment has increased significantly . Since restructuring marketing and overhauling its website, Sage has experienced double-digit enrollment increases:

  • Admission to Russell Sage College for the incoming 2010-11 freshman class: + 46%
  • Summer 2008 programs: +21%
  • Incoming Transfer students for the fall of 2008: +31%