Olin Business School

Olin Business School, Washington University

MESSAGE AND MEDIA TESTING

How can we most effectively publicize a new Executive MBA program in two new markets?

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

  1. Determine what information channels prospective EMBA students most rely on to inform prospective students in Kansas City and Denver about Washington University’s EMBA
  2. Identify prospective student perceptions of existing EMBA competitors in each market

KEY INSIGHTS

  • Broadcast TV news and Facebook reach the widest target audience. An assortment of online news websites are viewed by most. Radio is also a daily source for a significant portion.
  • Mid-career adults who have considered an MBA do not necessarily link it to achieving their dream professional aspirations. They need to be introduced and sold on the concept if they are not currently in a corporate fast track position.

HOW OLIN BUSINESS SCHOOL USED THE INSIGHTS

Olin revised its media plan to promote its EMBA programs in Kansas City and Denver based on the research findings. Olin also compared its existing marketing messages with what prospective students claim is most important to them. Enrollment in both cities is now strong.

WHAT WE DID

We recruited prospective Kansas City and Denver EMBA students to participate in focus groups based on these selection factors: an undergraduate degree, currently employed, above average household income, at least somewhat interested in pursuing an MBA degree and willing to complete an information and media usage diary for one week.

“We had limited information about media usage by this upwardly mobile group in either city so we recruited some prospective students to document their habits. What we learned helped ensure that we spend our limited budget in the most appropriate, highest visibility traditional and digital channels.”

Sarah Gibbs
Brand Manager, Marketing & Communications, Olin Business School