Value, as a noun, has 15 definitions. As a verb, it has three. And while most of them relate to monetary or material worth, Worcester State University also sought to elevate the less tangible and more subjective definition related to excellence, usefulness, and importance in an April marketing campaign aimed at the incoming Class of 2017.
“Where can you find the best education for the best price? Not Harvard. Not Yale. Not M.I.T., or some school on the west coast,” the campaign ad that ran on Pandora.com said. “Get the prestige without the price at Worcester State University. Ranked a ‘Best Value College’ by The Princeton Review, and ranked as a “Best College in the Northeast” for nine straight years. Now we’re going for 10. Worcester State University.”
The campaign used social media to find out what our students and alumni find most valuable about their Worcester State experience. Through status updates on Facebook and Twitter, followers were encouraged to share their most valuable Worcester State experience via a special Facebook application for a chance to win a $50 Visa gift card and $50 to the WSU bookstore.
The campaign also featured billboards along I-290, a targeted email to accepted students, a targeted postcard mailing to accepted students, online advertising, and Facebook ads targeted at high-school students and parents.
With the assistance of the campaign, the University benefited from a successful admission season, which saw increases across the board in students applying, being accepted, and matriculating.
More than 400 students attended Congratulations Day for Accepted Students in April, which was the highest attendance of any program previously held.
WSU will welcome the largest incoming class in recent years, with approximately 4 percent more students depositing than in fall 2012.
The “Best Value” campaign clearly resonated with students who recognized that WSU could provide them with a rigorous and comprehensive university experience at a great value, noted Director of Admissions Joe DiCarlo.
It also resonated with current students and alumni, with 22 submitting stories on the application or as comments to “Best Value” status updates. The contest winners were sociology major Cassie Giardina ’15, business administration graduate Trevor Sansoucy ’13, and teacher and coach John O’Neill ’05, M.Ed. ’12.
“My most valued experience with WSU is the alternative spring break to Nicaragua,” Giardina wrote. “Giving me an opportunity and encouraging me to work with the non-profit organization Manna International opened my eyes to life in general and the career I want to pursue. This experience gave me both a great personal and educational experience. Dr. Guevara does an excellent job of running and directing the trip and I am more than happy that WSU gave me this opportunity. It is an experience I will never forget and will value forever.”
Sansoucy singled out a professor for making his Worcester State experience memorable. “The greatest experience I have had on campus was getting to know Dr. Laurie Dahlin from the Business Administration and Economics Department,” he wrote. “When I first entered her class, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life after graduation. The way that she explained accounting to me was unlike anything I had ever seen in the classroom before. The way that she kept the entire class engaged and taught the material in an exciting and detailed style made her classes the best ones I have ever had. Even after I was no longer in her classes, Dr. Dahlin was always there to help me with any issue academic or not. She even helped me to get an internship with the Finance and Accounting Department at Worcester State. My time working in the finance office allowed me to really fine-tune my skills in the field, and I was even offered a job by one of the most successful CPA firms in Central Massachusetts. Leaving school, I have accomplished so many things I never thought possible, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Dr. Dahlin. She has become somebody I admire and look up to. She is truly an inspiration to her students, and I know for at least one student she has changed their life.”
O’Neill had a similar experience. “While I have several memories of my time at Worcester State College/University, it is the guidance and passion of two professors that I will remember most,” he wrote. “Dr. Sue Foo and Dr. Caroline Chiccarelli are two amazing women!! Each displays an energy and passion for teaching. Their guidance and support have motivated me to be the best teacher I can be. Each demonstrated a love for their students—it wasn’t about just about learning but rather, understanding. They challenged myself and others to explore our passion and challenge students in our classroom. I will never forget the extra time they took to demonstrate how each of their students matter. Thus, they modeled what I feel is the ideal educator! Worcester State University should take great pride in having such outstanding educators and people.”
The Marketing Communications office continued to spread Worcester State’s “Best Value” message on Facebook in June by posting photos of each of the winners with a portion of their testimonial. Each was popular, reaching over 1,000 fans, engaging 68 to 123 fans, and prompting 15 to 55 of those fans to comment on, like or share their testimonial.
The “Best Value” campaign performed slightly above average in April. Undergraduate marketing activities generated nearly 6.2 million online impressions.
The online media click-thru rates averaged .13 percent (The industry average is .10 percent.). There were 5,015 visits to the campaign landing page, and website inquiry actions from returned visitors totaled 1,738.
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