Category Archives: STEM

Good Marketing Problems and How to Have Them

The Pavlis Honors College is redefining what it means to be an honors student at Michigan Tech. Of course, with any big change comes the challenge of communicating the significance and the benefit it brings. Convincing faculty, students, and parents that student success should not be measured by GPA alone has always been an uphill battle.

Increasing enrollment within Pavlis has always been a goal, and we found engaging students before they arrive on campus was key. Working closely with University Marketing and Communications, Pavlis developed materials and digital content to reach out to potential Huskies before most of them had even decided where they would be attending college.

 

Generating messaging that is authentic and honest is at the forefront of every communication.

This included a letter from the dean inviting students to apply for pre-admission to the Honors College, a brochure, a rack card, a landing page on our website, and social media posts. We let actual current students tell the incoming class why they should apply to the Honors College. The brochure designed by UMC shared six, brief student stories from diverse majors and backgrounds. The video showcased on our pre-admission landing page consisted of our students talking informally about what they do and how Pavlis helped them along the way.

The impact? Of the 3,721 students accepted to Michigan Tech that received our mailings, 151 applied to be Pavlis pre-admission students (as of Jan. 2017). This may not seem like a large number, but generally, we average 20-25 applicants a semester. So comparatively, this campaign was incredibly effective!

With this brand and marketing win, we now focus our attention to making sure we have staff to accommodate the influx of students who will begin their Honors seminar courses and pathway in fall 2018.

Not such a bad problem to have.

Amy Karagiannakis
Manager of Marketing and Digital Content, Pavlis Honors College, Michigan Technological University


The STEM Lifestyle

We know STEM jobs are in demand. Within the next 25 years, those in the STEM fields must find solutions to some of the world’s most complex and frightening problems, like drought, famine, disease, energy-consumption, and cybersecurity. Today, we have more STEM job vacancies than people to fill them. It’s vital we find new and creative ways to promote a career in STEM.

At Michigan Tech, we understand the importance of demonstrating the ROI of a STEM degree. We also understand the impact of those who choose a career in STEM will have on societies, economies, and the world. Make no mistake; it’s easy to rely on data to tell our story–job-demand, starting salaries, job placements, are all very powerful stuff to promote. Today however, in higher education, the brand power of a university is equally critical.

Simply put, brand power is a result of a strong relationship one has developed with a product, business, or organization. Today it’s not enough for a university to promote what they offer (the product of a quality education).

Data, statistics, and rankings can only empower a message so much.

Now university marketers and communicators must also demonstrate the importance of the relationship one can have with their university as well.

Michigan Tech is a Lifestyle

1980s and 1990s companies targeting skateboarders provided some of the first examples of businesses that made product marketed to embody the culture of their customers. Today, we call them lifestyle brands. Lifestyle brands identify with their audience by embodying and extolling their characteristics to build a relationship. Data can be a powerful tool to demonstrate affinity with STEM enthusiasts–mathematicians love numbers, as an example. However, successful lifestyle brands help to foster a kinship between a brand and an audience. And when done well, it can last a lifetime.

I want the STEM fields to be seen as a lifestyle and I want Michigan Tech to be a lifestyle brand. I want to demonstrate what life is like for a mechanical engineer, a quantum physicist, or a biological scientist at Michigan Tech. I want to focus on the journey and not just the outcomes. I want STEM to not only be seen as necessary and important for our world, but also just plain cool to be a part of. If we can tell this story correctly, not only will it strengthen the Michigan Tech brand, it will also help to fill the current void in STEM jobs for years to come.

Ian Repp
Director of Marketing and Communications