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Leeds engages the unengaged

The University of Leeds Careers Centre has developed a successful marketing strategy with materials to 'engage the unengaged', which uses a minimum of staff time but has raised the service's profile and usage.

In 2010, the service reviewed its marketing strategy resulting in a clear, professional brand. Roadshows and themed campaigns across campus each year give the service strong visibility. Nonetheless, staff felt they were not reaching all students so they ran focus groups of finalists who had not used the service together with an online survey for new finalist users.

Findings were that:

• Some students felt they should know what they want to do before visiting the centre;

• Some students were not interacting with the services because they "hadn’t got round to it";

• Many students knew more about commercial recruitment agencies than the university's own vacancy site;

• Some students regularly attended events without understanding the full range of services on offer;

• Academic colleagues needed more help to signpost students.

Respondents also suggested effective locations for publicity and the messages that would be most encouraging.

As a result, the services that would attract the less engaged and the selling points that would most appeal were identified and resulted in the service adapting its brand and language to incorporate clear calls to action, yet looking less corporate.

Resource challenges were overcome by commissioning four pull-up banners, which could be left unattended, plasma screen versions of the banners, a mailer and a card to promote the vacancy and events site.

Banners were rotated between locations, including the students union, student services, halls of residence, library entrances and departmental foyers and social spaces. The plasma screen versions were used where possible. Mailers were sent out to personal tutors to help them signpost students. The cards were used at departmental talks and distributed at events.

Evidence of effectiveness and success

Between September 2010 and April 2011, the service had 1,031,350 visits to its vacancy site (an average of 31,253 per week) and the number of new drop-in duty users was 3045, a 23% increase on the same period in 2009/10. The number of new registrants who said they have 'always known' about the service increased from 11% to 29% in that same period, while a further 22% said they heard about the service through a friend. This reflects an increase in profile and perceived approachability across campus and shows that the service is increasingly 'engaging the unengaged'.

• Winner - AGCAS 2011 Award for Excellence: Marketing

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Tags: University of Leeds marketing case studies agcas award University

Created on: 23 November 2011

Last updated: 06 January 2012

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