Ep.48: Sharing Stories and Structuring Long Term Marketing Plans with 3 Core Brand Principles with Mike Barzacchini

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Shiro Hatori
Hello, everyone, welcome to the higher ed demand gen podcast hosted by concept 3d. On this podcast we discuss higher ed marketing topics around creating and capturing demand. Before we jump in, we do have a quick message from our sponsors over at concept 3d. So concept 3d is purpose is to foster connections through technology, elevating the way businesses connect with their community by leveraging the power of events and location. If your school needs an updated interactive map, virtual tour or centralized events calendar, please reach out to concept 3d dot com. So my name is Shiro Shiro Hatori. And I will be your podcast host today, and I’m super, super excited for our guest speaker today. He is the Director of Marketing Services at Harper College. He’s responsible for launching the institution’s first brand positioning campaign, and leading a large team that completes over 1400 projects each year. Please welcome Mark Mike Barza Keaney.

Mike Barzacchini
Hey, Shiro thanks so much. It’s a great opportunity to be here with you all and with everybody that’s tuning in to listen, or watch this. So I really appreciate the opportunity.

Shiro Hatori
Awesome. Thank you so much, Mike. And I love to ask this icebreaker for each episode. So I’ll start off with this again. What do you love about higher ed?

Mike Barzacchini
Well, I love this question. Because when I’m out talking to folks, the you know, peer institutions or whether I’m doing a workshop, a lot of it revolves around storytelling. And what I always say to folks is, in higher education, we have the best stories, that includes our students, stories, our alumni stories, but also the stories of the people that we work with every day, the faculty and the staff and, and people on my team, I think that whole idea of you know, it became trendy for a while. But before it was trendy, it was still in style. It’s even more powerful now than ever before, is that idea of storytelling and compelling stories. And in higher ed, like, virtually like no other industry. We have the best stories.

Shiro Hatori
Absolutely. Thank you, Mike. And that’s a great lead. And I don’t know if you’re trying to hand it off to me just so perfectly. But you know, in your intro, I said you launched the institution’s first brand positioning campaign. And now that’s what 23 years in the making. So can you tell us a little bit more about developing a brand and telling stories and why it’s so important?

Mike Barzacchini
Sure, absolutely. Yes, I’m a little unique. I know there are a lot of folks in higher ed that are long tenure at the same institution. But I’ve been at Harper 23 years, I joke that I’ve been here 23 years on my five year plan, because I’ve never had an idea that I’d be here 23 years, but when when I arrived, the college had just done its first big piece of institutional research to kind of see what the community thought about us, we had just came off a failed referendum, we do a tax renewal referendum every 10 years or so to renew the community support, which is important for us in terms of, you know, building and maintaining our campus and providing services. And we had a we had a failed referendum. And for that and other reasons, enrollment was kind of stagnant. We did our first kind of comprehensive kind of awareness and preference survey, and we surveyed a cross section of groups, current students, alumni, prospective high school students, prospective adult students, community partners, parents, and when when asked what Harper was best known for the only answer across all of those groups, they came back as a double digit response was don’t know or nothing. So I walked into a situation where we really didn’t, the good news was people didn’t did not like us, they just are indifferent about us. And as we did it, you know, and so some of the when we got kind of down into the nuts and bolts of that research, we asked things like, you know, our stories about Harper students, you know, well known and there was like, No, you know, 6% people didn’t, stories about our students didn’t resonate with them, stories or information about the quality academics or Harper’s, you know, quality faculty things that we internally believed in, you know, resonating out there in the community weren’t and the research bears that out. So, you know, that that first brain launch really from starting with no brain campaign at the institution with that first launch, we really built it around, you know, telling intentional stories about our alumni about our students about our faculty that spoke to the quality of education. And that’s something that we’ve continued over these past two decades. It’s so the brand kind of the brand platform and the in the foundational position in the theme have stayed consistent, but in that time, we’ve also evolved the brand, about seven or eight different times. So we’ve evolved evolved off of that platform. And I think sometimes the mistake that institutions can make is feeling the need to complete brand, you know, explode the brand and rebuild it from scratch. I That’s great if you’re able to do that. But Brandon takes you know, a lot of discipline, it takes a lot of patience and time, and a lot of resources. And a lot of times in hiring, we don’t have the resources to completely blow up that brand and rebuild it from scratch unless we have some type of a problem. Like we didn’t, we walked in, in 2000. But, but I think the whole idea of a brand evolution off a consistent platform, I think it can be really powerful, whether you’re at your institution for 23 years, eight years, five years or fewer.

Shiro Hatori
And when you say consistent platform, do you mean the messaging and, and the value in what Harper stands for what you’re communicating?

Mike Barzacchini
So we have So internally in marketing, we have three brand principles that that we developed, basically, when I first got here, that we still strive to adhere to today. And those those three principles, which are really, you know, kind of preliminary to the brand, are access, usability and relevance, really, that means building your brand messaging, your storytelling, your campaigns around the audience, I talked about a lot about being audience obsessed, we can’t obsess enough about our audience. Then from that we developed, you know, a positioning that at and, you know, because a community college, in a lot of higher education institutions, you know, we we touch so many people and influence so many people beyond just what you might think of as traditional age students or that type of thing. I mean, it’s really College, we have everything from a preschool to a summer camp, to, you know, programs for people later in life, as well as what you might think of as traditional programming. So we developed this positioning again, this is kind of in the, you know, in the background, that we, you know, the foundation of learning to enrich your life with a theme of the promise that no matter who you are, or where you are in your life, or what your goals are, we can help you move forward towards those goals through education, that’s been consistent. Now, none of that’s going to land on a billboard, you know, none of that’s gonna land, you know, as part of as part of a broad consumer campaign. But that’s the foundation we build from. And from that foundation, we’ve built, let’s see about seven or eight different campaign evolutions based on that consistent positioning, and what influences those, so that what testing stable, I mean, it might, it might, you know, might tweak a little bit over time. I mean, we’ve had things like COVID, we’ve had a couple of recessions, we’ve had, you know, changes in culture and, and, and economy. But, but those foundations stay pretty stable. But what what were influenced by in those campaigns is building off that stable foundation, but being influenced by going back and research with our audience, having discussions and conversations, learning more about them, the ways that the institutions evolve with things like, you know, online learning, with things like, you know, credentials for careers, different kinds of services. So it evolves around that consistent positioning, but the positioning is comprehensive enough, that that we can continue to build brand new off of that positioning.

Shiro Hatori
That’s the thank you for sharing that. And what are in a similar survey, like what are students, employers, alumni, the community saying now or even a few years later?

Mike Barzacchini
So that big that that big piece of brand research that we did, we repeat that about every three to four years, we’re a little off, we’re a little off cadence. Now, because of the pandemic, we’re actually just finishing. We’re just finishing that research right now. And looking forward to seeing the results later this spring. I honestly, I didn’t have any preconceived notions. I knew that that those first three years we would move the needle, but three years is not a long time, when you’re moving from 27%. Don’t know. But we what we when we survey the same groups, across section of the same groups, what we found were the things that we were looking for, like, you know, are the accomplishments of our students well known. We were up in the 20%, somewhere in the 20 to 25%. When we looked at, you know, does Harper have academic quality programs, we were again, up over 25 26%. Our faculty, you know, we had high quality faculty that were experienced that had real world you know, real world experience, which was important to us, especially in our career programs. Again, we were in the 20 percentile going from like single digits in just three years. We’ve continued in our overall awareness and preference numbers, because we are being the Chicago suburbs, worthless Chicago suburbs, there are a lot of educational providers around us. So our unaided awareness and preferences continue to grow steadily over these years, we maintain a really high unaided, first mention we very high ated, at first mention of, excuse me, and those key indicators, which do shift over time. I’ll say a little bit more about that in just a minute. But those key indicators of quality academics, student accomplishments, well known faculty, you know, well respected and high quality, those have continued to grow and stay stable over that time. And as the kind of like I mentioned, is as you know, as our priorities have shifted, like when, for instance, the research study that we did Lee into another one of the I should say, too, that a year after we started the branding campaign and there was more to it than just this, I believe me, I don’t think that what we do is a silver bullet and solved all these problems. But a year after that, where we had failed a referendum, there was some good strategy that went into that follow up campaign on the campaign side, we were able to pass that referendum of support with our community, just less than a year later, after we’d had a failed referendum. So that was that was incredibly important to us. So that they also that it was a kind of a validation. But when we were going back out, again, in the tough economic climate, about a decade or so later, you know, we worked in other themes, that we wanted to make sure that through our communication and our branding, were playing out in our, you know, our research, for example, you know, were we a good steward with community resources, you know, were we were we accountable? You know, were we a good partner. So those are the kinds of things to that as, as, as has the institution’s strategic goals shifted, our branding has also adapted to make sure that we’re carrying forth those important messages, again, in a relevant way to the people that we’re trying to connect with. Thank you. And Sue, probably probably over answered your question. No, no,

Shiro Hatori
no, you’re giving me a specific example. So you know, I always appreciate that, in the super high level question might be very basic, but you know, seeing these positive shapes from the single digit survey responses to, you know, understanding what Harper stands for, seeing that positive shift, you know, increase? Why is this important for institution? Like why, you know, what’s the what’s the ROI, or that the benefit of this?

Mike Barzacchini
Well, there’s a lot of ways that you can measure ROI, you know, it could be you know, I mean, we definitely Harper, we definitely measure it in terms of, you know, awareness and preference to people, are we a preferred provider of Education Solutions in this area? So we measure that through the surveys, we mentioned, to our surveys, and through other ways, but you know, focus groups and those kinds of things. But also, you know, how is enrollment tracking? And, you know, what are people saying, you know, what, you know, when, when people once people do enroll here and complete, what our students satisfaction score, saying, What aren’t, you know, what are our alumni say, How engaged are, you know, we’ve seen a, just a real talented colleague in our alumni area. And I think one of the ways one of the biggest evolutions in higher ed, and community college higher, that has been, what institutions are doing with Alumni Programs, it’s just the last decade or so there’s just been a lot of innovation, very true here at Harper. And to see how engaged our alumni are from a valid volunteer standpoint, from RE engaging with the institution, fundraising, and donors. All those ways. You know, clicking enrollment are ways you measure your brand success, then you look at things like and I really think that were people in higher ed, sometimes we feel like in our department, you mentioned the 1400 projects. I joke with my staff that it’s almost like being in the retail business, like right now, we’re already working on the holiday season, you know, and people will say, summers are slow, those numbers aren’t slow. We’re already working on next spring and summer, during the summer, and in what I think and so that’s, that’s somewhat long term, but still very annual based, I think, when you think in terms of branding, and even if you’re only think you’re going to be at your institution a short time, that will challenge us to think longer term. We went into a storytelling process about a decade or so ago, with my colleagues and alumni and fundraising, and communications and community relations, and tried to develop two or three themes that cut across all the priorities of the institution. And we built our storytelling. And we’ve done that a few times now, around those themes. And, and you know, leading into things like, Well, we know our 50th anniversary is coming up in two years. We know we’re going to have a Presidential Transition probably in about three years. We know we’re going to have another referendum, how do we look ahead and pull it also we know we’re going to redo this research, where do we want to stay stable? What do we want to grow in terms of our perception and awareness? So start to build those bigger storytelling overarching story themes that enter your brand campaigns that enter your you know, your your public relations, or your communication strategy, your event strategy all along the board, and be very intentional about that. And I think sometimes we get, I’ll say I’m guilty of this I’m the we in the statement will get so mired down into trying to get this next project done or trying to launch the next semester’s campaign, we have to make time to think even slightly further ahead. You know, three years isn’t a big time horizon. But it may really make the difference when you’re trying to talk about branding three to five years, and looking ahead at what you know is going to be important to your community. You know, your you know, your students in your institution, and trying to make sure that your brand efforts and your themes match that and actually advance that.

Shiro Hatori
That’s an amazing point. I definitely think you know, as a marketing team on my end, we’re definitely looking pretty short term too. So that’s definitely something we’re trying to incorporate. I think this translates across You know, any company or any business or any organization? So that’s a great challenge, Mike, I appreciate that.

Mike Barzacchini
It was a challenge. But you know it I will I will say that we didn’t like, I wish we I wish I could say we took all day retreats. And we you know, you know, had week long summits we didn’t, we tried to carve out, you know, unintentional 45 minutes here and there to make sure we were continuing that carry that through. Yeah. I think that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s the challenge.

Shiro Hatori
Yeah, there’s definitely a lot there. And I’m curious, you know, you’ve seen two decades of marketing shifts, right? Where are you telling these stories now? And where do you where like, the places or channels or the messaging? Like, where’s it working the best and reaching the most, most people or prospective students?

Mike Barzacchini
It’s, that’s a, that’s a really, it’s a really interesting question for me to think about. And the answer is, you know, who’s you could see the credenza behind me, because I’ve been pulling out a lot of our past brand new work, because we’re doing and we just launched a new campaign, actually, that launched last fall, but really officially launched this spring. And, you know, 2023 years ago, we were telling these stories on radio, we were telling them in billboards, we were telling them in direct mail. And that not that we still don’t use some of that now, but it’s really shifted a lot to, you know, to social media, it’s shifted a lot to the website. You know, we’ve had really great success with short form Kelly’s storytelling on Instagram, we have a very talented digital content specialist, and the rest of the team in terms of storytelling, who does great things on Instagram, on Facebook and other social media platforms has been very popular to us. You know, the other thing too, is that’s kind of the, you know, the social media, the technology, the what’s what’s new, and now kind of a thing, video, storytelling has always been strong. And the great thing about video storytelling is you can tell it, you can tell a 92nd story, then you can chop it up into shorter forums, and you can tell it, you know, in a variety of areas, in channels, including in person, you know, I always tell folks, when we, when we do a, we do a really great video project is hey, listen, show us your next event, use us 30 seconds of it, the intro, what you’re going to do, and, and that kind of leads me to my next point is because I think the other, you know, very low tech Academy, in terms of perception way to, to advance your brand and tell these stories, is through experience marketing, creating experiences for people that they can, you know, really get up close and personal with their brand, and you get up close and personal with them and learn how they interact with, you know, who you are and what you’re doing. It’s it’s incredibly compelling.

Shiro Hatori
I’m not sure if you’re hosting the call or not because that was a perfect lead in. You know, what, so Mike, what is experienced marketing? And why do you think why would you challenge institutions, that it should be a part of their marketing strategy as well?

Mike Barzacchini
Well, I think, you know, along with stories being a huge part of higher ed, and we get the best stories, I mean, higher ed really is all about experiences, whether that’s in the classroom or a lab, or, you know, whether it’s whether it’s a tour or an open house. And I think that, again, there’s a lot of great experiences being delivered by higher ed, higher institutions, you know, across the country. And I think where sometimes we may miss an opportunity is not integrating, you know, our other messaging and storytelling into these experiences, and vice versa. So we’ve done, you know, engaging adults is always a challenge, you know, adults aren’t our time crunched, adults still think that they can’t do things like you know, get financial aid, they shouldn’t fill out a FAFSA, although they should they think that, you know, they’re gonna be in a classroom with people that are 20 years younger than them, and in most cases, they’re not. And especially now with online learning, and those kinds of things. So, you know, we got, we got one coming up, again, I believe it’s in late March or April, we have another career forward, we call them career forward events, and, you know, their events to basically, you know, work with an adult at whatever stage they are in their career in their life, and try to help them get to the what’s next, you know, and what’s great about, you know, a college like Harper and so many of our colleges, is that we have a lot of ways that we can fit what’s next for them in terms of goals in terms of delivering that online, so the ability to to be in a place where there’s an engaging speaker, you know, maybe there’s some good food, maybe there’s a great program built around that and have a chance just have a conversation with a faculty member who welcomes you, you know, into his or her program would invite you in is just is a great example of experience marketing. We build a campaign around that, you know, with, with direct marketing with social media, with storytelling and other kinds of things, both before during and after the event. So that’s, that’s an idea of integrating the campaign. I know we talked in, you know, preparing for this year, we talked about the, what was called the College and Career Expo, and that was really targeted towards fourth to eighth graders and it’s getting that that whole idea that you know, people of that age and parents need to be aware of the value of Education, post high school, and he’s really be on their radar. And they need to see that they can aspire and be inspired to move forward toward that, and help them figure out what that actually means. So it was actually part of our college’s strategic plan to engage more people, more more parents and students of that age, in higher education. So we created a day where we’re basically families could come into our labs, you know, you know, work hands on, you know, with our chemistry faculty, with our graphic arts technology program with our health careers, folks, and it wasn’t sitting in a room and listening to people, it was getting them there and holding reptiles in our bio lab, it was making slime, it was creating full color posters with our graphic arts technology. And it became incredibly popular and it also red led to kind of us rethinking and revamping our, our elementary and middle school tours, on campus on Fridays was going to start here in a couple of weeks, we’ll had anywhere from 120 to 300 students a day on campus, going in and out of four different experiences throughout their time here on campus and learning about, you know, what the college really is for them, you know, whether whether it’s coming here to, to enter a career program, whether it’s, you know, full course of study leading to a degree, whatever it might be, and that and those work together. So that experience of, you know, what’s now called experience day, actually, the College and Career Expo, which is now called experience day, you know, leads right into the tours and vice versa. And I think the numbers, the real numbers are rough here. And I should say the great news is to is, you know, I helped start a nurture some of these things, we have an incredible community relations department, you know, that now is kind of carried that forward to the next level. And we’d probably about 3000 to 4000 students a year between the tours and experience day, that may be a little low on that estimate, have some type of interaction with Harper College. And again, we’re telling stories around that we produce videos about Experience Day, we always do photo montages, there’s been times where we’ve turned student photographers loose and gotten their view of what experience day is like. And so you know, the experience itself becomes incredibly valuable for connecting with your most important audiences, and advancing your brand. And in the storytelling opportunity around those experiences. Again, both before, during and after is incredible in

Shiro Hatori
how many students are currently enrolled or like, you know, what’s an average for Harper in terms of a year school year.

Mike Barzacchini
So we so we so we look at, we look at credit and non credit, together, we serve, we serve somewhere, I think, right now, we’re having a really good semester right now, which is great, because like a lot of colleges, we were challenged to semesters through the, through the pandemic, but when you look at credit, non credit enrollment, customized training, we’re right around 30,000 students that we serve. So we’re big, we’re big, and that’s comprehensive, done, right, that’s getting credit. We have so many of our students now. Exactly. And we have so many of our students now, you know, the consumer has gotten to be so smart. And so, you know, really in terms of whether we’re marketing to them, or what they’re looking for, you know, we have to earn their attention more than ever before, and earn that connection more than ever before. And the same is true when choosing classes. We have students that come you know, they go in and out of non credit and credit programs depending on what their goals are, what they’re looking for. So So it’s interesting to how we look at enrollment. Now, we have programs that start off as non credit that can easily transform to credit programs if someone wants to pursue either degree or an advanced credential. So it’s just it’s really interesting, that that’s the great thing. Maybe that’s one of the reasons besides an incredible team that I work with. It’s one of the reasons that I’ve stayed so enthused, I’ve had the same title for 23 years, my job has changed about every six months, because of the way Harper is evolving. You know, and we just had an incredible meeting this morning with academic colleagues and enrollment colleagues with a with a with a major corporate partner that’s going to have us look at how we deliver and connect with different types of students in a different type of way with a different type of programming. And we do a lot of that also. So it’s just it’s I think it’s an incredibly it’s yet you will read it, you know, we can open our emails right now Shiro and see all the subject lines about the challenges in higher ed. And that’s so true. But I think there’s a flipside to all those challenges, which are just incredible opportunities to evolve to innovate, to engage and connect with what you know, whether the perception higher ed is where it should be. We’re more needed than ever before. And I think we can as marketers and communicators, we have the opportunity to tell that story.

Shiro Hatori
That’s incredible. Yeah. This kind of going back to this whole program and experience marketing you’ve developed around educating the importance of higher education like I had a conversation with Bristol Community College about a year ago now but you know, I asked, you know, are you competing with local public universities, right for your institutions, and the smart marketer I was talking to at the time, it’s like, no, we’re not we’re we’re competing and students who decide not to do higher education. And that kind of just reminded me of that conversation, and how you’re, you know, combating that or, and or educating folks early on that, you know, if, if they have a perception to not really consider higher ed, that’s the competition that I think a lot of tier institutions are facing. So that’s what at least what I’ve heard from a few conversations. So it really reminded me that

Mike Barzacchini
I 100% agree, you know, even before the pandemic, and before, you know, like, I was thinking, thinking back in the mid 2000s, when trying to engage adult students, we would often say our biggest competitor was inertia, or just all the other competing things, and adult student has to do, you know, I have the drive to pick up my kids from from, from daycare, I’m working two jobs I have whatever it might be, you know, there’s just so many other competing factors, and especially as adult students, we always say, well, I’ll get around to that, but I got to put, you know, let’s put other people first my family, my spouse, whatever it might be, my employer. And, and what’s great is, I think that, you know, not just community colleges, I see a lot of great things going on and for your institutions, you know, we’re more than ever really trying to be just like I said, before, with a marketing messaging, you know, assessable usable and centered around the audience. And I think that’s where I think that more than anything is going to help higher ed come back when, when, you know, when when, when the market sees that we have solutions for them that fit them that advance their life, that’s kind of that’s kind of the core, that’s kind of the core of our brand positioning.

Shiro Hatori
That’s amazing. And kind of going back to what you’ve developed with the experience day now. I mean, 3000 to 4000 students, that’s a massive amount of students, like every year that you’re getting to come learn more about your program. So it’s 10% of your current student body. That’s, that’s huge, are you?

Mike Barzacchini
Well, let’s do that students and parents were for experienced, they see grandparents, so maybe 100,000 on Experience Day, that’s full families, which is great. The same thing happens in our high school Openhouse Oui, oui, oui. during, during the pandemic, when everything was virtual for a time, you know, they’re really, really incredibly smart and creative person, we have that, that leads our high school marketing, create a destination our, which was a series of virtual experiences. But coming out of the pandemic, we kept that destination Harper kind of branding for that market. And and we’re, you know, we’re taking it on ground. And we just had our, our first full post pandemic open house this past fall, and we had well over 1000 high school students and family members. And that includes, you know, younger siblings, older siblings. And I think it’s just so important to get these families on campus and have them see what the possibilities are for their children and experience with their children with experience and maybe open up an opportunity for them, Hey, maybe I need to come back and do this, you know, maybe I need to take a class on a weekend or whatever. So yeah, absolutely full engagement, full experiences. I think that’s, that’s where we do you know, there’s a nice lead through from storytelling, to connecting to getting you here to experience yourself amazing.

Shiro Hatori
And what are some of the ways you’re you’re promoting that? Promoting folks to come to your experience marketing events? Are there like certain tactics that are working? Do you have to start by segmenting, you know, adult learners, high school students, middle school students? Like what’s kind of your approach there? Because getting I mean, the results that you’re seeing to attend these events is pretty impressive. I think a lot of marketers struggle with getting people to event and so I’m curious, like, what your approach is, I know, you said you have another team now dedicate a little bit more so might not be asking the right person but loves, you

Mike Barzacchini
know, we could well, hopefully the director had all the things going on. But no, no, I think I think for all those markets, especially, you know, the high school markets, and those younger ages, that that come to experience day in the tours, you know, partnership is so huge. So we have really strong partnerships with our area high schools, we have really strong partnerships with the middle and elementary schools, and other influencers, like guidance counselors and those things. And, and, you know, especially at that, at that elementary and middle school level, they crave these tours, and it’s almost like word of mouth, once you deliver, like, you know, a great tour experience or, or whether it’s experience, they want you to deliver that for one school, word gets around, and we have a really good reputation. We also have done a great job. There’s a lot of direct marketing that’s involved in this. So excuse me, for high school market. We do, you know, a number of you know, whether it’s whether it’s direct direct mail to parents, or to students, but parents are pretty much gonna read it, whether it’s email marketing, you know, we you know, and we have email, we have email newsletters for parents and also high school counselors. All of that, you know, isn’t so we might not be building a campaign around the high school open house, but it’s a number of things we do to connect with those folks throughout the year, and then we make the high school open house a very important part of that messaging. And then you know, really for both Experience Day and the high school open house in any event that we do, having that really effective landing page where somebody can come, and they can RSVP and then having them in that communication flow post RSVP, so they know what to expect when they get there, they can refer somebody else to come to the event, whatever it might be, is so critical. So it’s multi level, multi layered. I mean, there’s a lot of drag in and of course, we do, you know, we do you know, organic, unpaid social media, we have done some paid some pay, for instance, Facebook targeting parents, I don’t know how much that will do actually now, but but it really just becomes, we see that will take an experience like the high school open house or destination Harper, or experience day. And we’ll make that kind of a lead message and marketing that we’re doing to those audiences, through partnerships through direct marketing, email, and mail, you know, again, good clean landing pages that allow me to learn more about it. And now that we build up that reputation for experience, they, especially in the tours, people ask, right, you know, if we’re not out there, right away with information about it, you know, audience says, Hey, what are you gonna put the schedule up for experienced? And why do you get so cool, because we started to put, we still have printed schedules that experience day. So you show up on that Saturday, and you can see all the things that are going on all the labs, but we put it up as a PDF, or printable HTML before the event, and folks will walk in having printed it out sort of what they want to do. So so it’s just, again, it’s the experience starts before the event arrived.

Shiro Hatori
That’s amazing. And you mentioned like RSVP to events and stuff. Are there are there some tools you’re using to help create this foundation a little bit easier, on your end.

Mike Barzacchini
So for things that aren’t totally enrollment tight, so right now we do have it, we do have a CRM in our enrollment services area. And it’s, it’s a state, it’s built on Salesforce. And so they have their own forms for those things, because they need to manage those flows. For things like experience day, for things like the school tours, things like that, that may not be directly tied to trying to get a student to apply, then we typically one of the tools we use is Formstack. That’s, that’s, that’s been our form builder on that end, and you can embed the forms on your landing page, or whatever else that might be so so you can get in there are a lot of other tools out there. It’s not an endorsement for them one way or the other. But I think having a good you know, a good secure, RSVP form builder that can again go into a database. We do use, we do use marketing, cloud, Salesforce Marketing Cloud for our for our email marketing. So you know, contacts will go into there, and then we’ll do follow up emails or that kind of thing. I’m not sure if that’s what your No, no,

Shiro Hatori
yeah, I was just curious. You have no, that’s exactly what’s asking. Thank you. That’s fantastic. And, and so it sounds like you know, when you’re really I’m just kind of hearing what I’m hearing is, if you’re really starting out with experience marketing and developing these huge, you know, campaigns and events that we just talked about, you know, looking forward to create that compounding effect is, is something like, you know, going back to the developing the brand, it takes some time, right. And so, but the the fruits just continue once that recognition is made and the continuation happens.

Mike Barzacchini
I think so I think it gets back to that whole access, usability and relevance, what’s going to get me as an adult learner perspective learner, what’s going to get me to show up on a Tuesday night drive to suburban Chicago traffic to show up there. So is there is there an engaging speaker? Is it you know, is it free speed career coaching? Is it you know, what’s what’s kind of what’s the hook, and what’s the value proposition? And usually, it’s like, it’s a mixture of things, you know, we’ve we’ve done really well, when we’ve had like, you know, a speaker or two, when we’ve had like, free resume critiques when we’ve had, you know, people really want to meet your faculty, they really want it, you know, for programs like like, if they’re interested in law enforcement, they love to come and talk to law enforcement, faculty, they, you know, they’re interested in science, they want to, they want to be our science, our health careers, folks. And, and sometimes I think sometimes in marketing, I think we can act as a filter, or I should say, marketing Enrollment Services, or a gatekeeper. And I really think it’s great just to connect, and we’re very fortunate to Harper that we have so many faculty that are willing to, you know, participate in these kinds of events. One event that you know, funny, it’s interesting, the met that we just started, and we’re getting ready to the second version, kind of for our current students is called enrollment day. And basically, it’s kind of an all hands on deck day, really, it lasts a week, where we just kind of remind students of the benefits of enrolling early and try to help them give them a lot of kind of concierge or really high touch service on how to remove any barriers they might have, whether it’s paying a bill or whether it’s trying to find financial aid or make your schedule work. So we did the first enrollment day in the fall force, but it was for spring semester, and we’re getting ready to do one now for during this semester for summer. Okay, and it again, the reason I brought it up was, you know, incredible faculty involvement. Our advisors are involved our, you know, our Financial Aid, Admissions, personnel are involved. And, and we build, you know, marketing around that. And again, we have a really talented person in student communication that we work with, who, you know, in a lot of what we do to communicate, it streams into things that she’s already doing to reach those students. But it’s taking that experience and using it as a high value proposition. Here’s why you want to come that day, you know, here’s why you want to pay attention that week, here are the benefits of applying early or enrolling early and how we can help and it doesn’t, it doesn’t hurt to have, you know, foods and, and, and drawings and those kinds of things. But it’s just it made our students think differently about enrolling because usually it’s just we’re sending them reminders, or sending them reminders, what if we create an experience, and I don’t have enough, I don’t have the numbers for that in front of me, but but it was, it was successful enough that we’re doing it again, and we’re already thinking about the one we’re gonna do it summer for fall. So

Shiro Hatori
I’m gonna take a clip of that last bit and just share it out. Because I think that’s highly impactful, because I think reenrollment is a huge issue right now. And, and I read, so thank you for sharing that. So Mike, I was wondering, like, Where can our audience connect with you and reach out to you if they want to learn more about what you’re up to and what you’re doing, or what Harper is doing?

Mike Barzacchini
Absolutely. I’d love to connect on LinkedIn, you can find me by my name, basically, Mike bar zucchini, it’s hard to spell, but hopefully it’ll it’ll be on the screen, or you can find it somewhere. You can also I have a blog, Mike versafine.com. Now, you know, fair warning, you’ll you’ll you’ll find marketing information there. But you also maybe find me writing about our four rescue dogs our pack, you might find me sharing photos of the moon, I’m kind of obsessive photographer, the moon. So you might see other things there. But then you put like you mentioned all marketing content in there. But you know, and shoot me an email, you know, in my HarperCollins address or through a LinkedIn message, I love it. As you might be able to tell I’m very enthusiastic about this topic, I love to talk about this. And you know, one of the things which I know we’re closing up on time, but I’m really invested in the next generation of leaders in this field. And and folks that are entering this field, it’s so important. And one of the things that I do, through volunteering to case is, you know, I’ve been able to be active in the summer institute for marketing and communications the past five or six years. And that’s just you know, where we get people that are new to the profession, or new to the industry, and work with them in a variety of ways to try to, you know, to make them feel, you know, great about the decision they’ve made and prepared for what’s coming next. And that’s just one example I still talk with and mentor folks that I’ve come across years ago. I love having conversations about this topic. I’m learning every day. So anybody that’s out there, I look forward to learning from you too. But please connect I’d love to antastic and again, thank you for this opportunity.

Shiro Hatori
Thank you for having thanks so much for joining and it was great having you on and I love listening to you too. So I know you’d love to talk about it, but I love talking to you about it. It’s fantastic. Great. Well thanks so much for listeners again for tuning in. Please catch us on the next one. And of course if you’re looking for interactive map event solution or virtual tour, please reach out to concept 3d dot com. Thank you so much, Mike. Thanks, everyone.

Our residents are getting more savvy with technology and they will certainly appreciate a tool that guides them from location to location on our campus. Concept3D’s wayfinding capability was the immediate draw for us, but the map and interactive media have been valuable for depicting a bird’s eye view in print materials, or when scheduling an onsite visit. Residents, visitors and even staff find a lot of utility and functionality in Concept3d, and we often hear compliments about our beautiful map.
Mike Haber, Digital Media Manager, Shell Point

The biggest challenge for [Claremont Graduate University] was lack of a centralized map system entirely. Roughly 30 different maps existed on our website pre-[Concept3D], created by various departments to meet their own needs.

Claremont Graduate University

The new virtual campus map is particularly helpful to showcase our campus to prospective students and families who are not quite ready or able to physically visit campus. International students are a great example of a group who typically do not visit our campus before enrolling, but really value getting a birds-eye view of the place they’re considering calling home.

Admissions Director at Boise State
We saw the potential of Concept3D’s platform right away, and it was amazing to see our space come to life in a fully interactive 3D map. We know the platform will improve the overall guest and attendee experience, and we’re excited for all the ways that we can use it for both internal and external needs moving forward.
John Adams, General Manager, Colorado Convention Center
The CMS makes integrating our data feeds a simple, easy process. We can update our content feed once and it updates within the CMS and our map simultaneously.
Robby Sietz, Webmaster, Ole Miss

We want Rice to be a welcoming destination for art, music, lectures, food, athletic events, lectures – a great place to visit just to enjoy the beauty of our campus. [The Concept3D] mapping system will help people find those amenities and explore those opportunities.

Linda Thrane, Vice President of Public Affairs, Rice University
Concept3D’s photospheres really allow us to show rather than tell what separates our studios from others.
Corepower Yoga
Vantage is committed to exceptional customer service, and the technology developed by Concept3D helps us work closely with potential clients, give them an incredible preview of the data center and offer a compelling way for them to explore the critical details of our facilities.
Steven Lim, Marketing Vice President, Vantage Data Centers

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