University of North Carolina Military

Digital Marketing

In the spring of 2022, the University of North Carolina System partnered with VisionPoint to reach a very special group of prospective students – the 100,000 active-duty military, veterans, and their dependents who are based or live in North Carolina. The goal for their paid marketing campaign was two-fold: increase awareness of the system’s offerings for active-duty military members and veterans and increase enrollment for military-affiliated students across the UNC System.

Patch graphics developed by VisionPoint

Honoring Tradition

There is unavoidable pressure involved when creating an ad campaign geared toward an audience steeped in tradition and honor. Every word, every meaning had to be correct for such an important group of people. Each idea needed to survive the critical eyes of the military audience while being bold enough to encourage them to continue their mission at a UNC System school.

After VisionPoint presented three campaign concepts, UNC System Military landed on a Big Idea we called “The Cadence” – a staple of military life, and one that resonates with every member of the military, no matter the branch. This idea had a little bit of fun using the cadence to tout the benefits of a UNC System education for military-affiliated students. Colorful visuals resembling uniform patches sewn on military uniforms propped up the strong writing.

Patch graphics developed by VisionPoint

A Plan for Success

Once a strategy and a media plan were developed, VisionPoint created a dedicated landing page for the entire campaign – no small feat since each of the 16 universities in the UNC System has its own CRM independent of the system. Through some programming magic from our Web team, we ensured each university got its specific inquiries, leaving no one behind. Our first round of ads ran between May and August of 2022 on Programmatic Display, Responsive Display, Google Search, and Facebook & Instagram.

And because of the success of the first phase, UNC System Military extended our partnership to run refreshed ads from October 2022-January 2023. This second phase incorporated minor copy changes based on top-performing ads from the first campaign, updated imagery on real UNC System campuses, and new media channels, including LinkedIn.

Campaign Toolkit

Benchmark-Beating Results

Our campaign extension more than doubled the number of leads we saw in our first round. In just over three months of the extension campaign, we achieved UNC System Military’s goal to bring awareness to the educational opportunities for military students at UNC System universities with over 1.8 million impressions across five channels. 18,000 clicks to the landing page showed our ads were making potential students curious, with over 270 conversions on the landing page’s RFI form.

The results for UNC System Military demonstrate that commitment to digital marketing and a willingness to implement new ideas and optimizations to find the right recipe for success can pay major dividends.

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