Standing out in a competitive marketplace can be tough, and education is no different from any other industry, but by investing in top-of-the-class creative marketing, Northampton College has firmly established itself as the leading college in the region.
In recent years, the college has catapulted itself up the National Achievement Rate Tables and is now seen as one of the 10 best colleges anywhere in the UK, with exceptional results and outstanding career prospects for students.
Ofsted rate the college as ‘good with outstanding features’ while the work of the college’s visionary library service has won multiple awards.
This continued pattern of success has been understandably well-received internally but word has now reached further afield as well, with applications consistently increasing and a surge in popularity of a number of courses.
One of the reasons behind that upturn in fortunes is the college’s creative marketing strategy, which has seen it team up with highly regarded local agencies to produce eye-catching and engaging campaigns aimed at encouraging the next generation of students to pass through the doors of its three campuses at Booth Lane, Lower Mounts and Daventry.
Head of Marketing, Victoria Murphy, said:
“Our target market is predominantly 15 to 16-year-old school leavers – a notoriously hard to reach demographic. We know we need to be creative to get them to sit up and take notice of us.
“The days of simply relying on an advert in the local paper are long gone. This is a savvy generation of digital natives and we need to find new ways of getting in front of them, on their screens, on their phones and present our message to them in a way they appreciate and understand.
“By continually evolving the way we do this we see what works and, in many ways just as importantly, what doesn’t work.
“We are proud to be working with two exceptional local agencies in Orange Juice Communications and agency PDS and the creative content we have produced has allowed us to reach our audience in huge numbers and establish a relationship with people who want to continue their learning with us.”
As part of an ever-evolving marketing mix, the college has rolled out targeted paid-for campaigns on social networks such as Tik Tok, Snapchat and Instagram as well as running adverts on streaming sites such as Spotify.
It’s not all reliant on digital though.
“There’s a still a place for more traditional forms of marketing and outdoor advertising, print and fence banners definitely have a part to play. It’s about finding the right balance and ensuring you get the right formats in front of the right people at the right time, and then making it as easy as possible for them to follow your call to action.”
With the college’s pioneering in-house team at the forefront of their profession it is apt that an impressive new Digital Academy is due to open its doors at Booth Lane this September, with digital marketing featuring prominently among the list of courses to be taught there.
The Digital Academy, funded through the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) and the Local Growth Fund, aims to close digital skills gaps across the county and develop students’ basic IT competences.
The Digital Academy will enable students to develop their skills from a basic to a specialist level, appropriate to their need. Digital spaces will encourage teams to network, create, plan and build. Entrepreneurship will be at the heart of the Academy with programmers working alongside creatives, coders with designers and technicians with marketeers to share ideas and build the businesses of the future.
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