March 2020 robbed us all of some sense of normalcy. For high school juniors and seniors, this change was particularly jarring. As the entire world hit pause, these kids were left asking, "What comes next?" Do we go to college? Do we take a gap year? Do we head to work?
One thing was clear, they were consuming content -- on mobile devices -- at a crazy rate. The halt in sports, clubs, and social activities led to an astronomic consumption of social media.
Meanwhile, in Grand Junction, Colorado, Colorado Mesa University was plotting their plan to return in the fall in a safe and meaningful way. Thus, The Maverick Network was born.
Given the turn up in content consumption, we devised short-form episodic content that would capture and present several different aspects of campus life. Three distinct series were created. Each of the three would fly under the flag of The Maverick Network. A content network designed to demonstrate that life was still happening at CMU. In fact, we thrived.
While the world hit pause, we hit the accelerator.
Tapping into the uncertainty of current high school juniors and seniors wasn't our only challenge. Reaching them where they are, and delivering the relevant messages to their parents, counselors, and other influencers took insight as well. Knowing we could segment messaging by demographic, but also by psychographic, and even within the same network environments, such as a single family home, we built a media plan that could accommodate separate messages for distinct audiences at every turn. Students were consuming huge amounts of content on mobile. Both in social media channels, but also in streaming services. While parents were more likely to be watching streaming services on their connected TVs. However, parents were also accessing tons of social media, which meant delivering relevant messages meant segmenting with a scalpel.
The end goal of all CMU marketing efforts is to drive qualified applicants. Knowing that the Maverick Network was one part of a multi-faceted campaign, whose role was to increase awareness, no one expected the types of results we were able to produce. In addition to raising awareness, we also drove direct conversions. Tracking user paths through the online experience, we found an encouraging trend: Juniors and Seniors in our target markets were consuming Mav Network content, and deciding to apply. That insight led to a Phase II where we outfitted the website presence with easier and clearer paths to apply. We also added a code to encourage applications by waiving the application fee.