Golden Gate University was confronted with intense competition for Strategic MBA (SEMBA) candidates in the San Francisco Bay area. The competition included Stanford, San Francisco University and other fine institutions. The window for attracting qualified candidates was extremely short and Golden Gate needed to fill a minimum of 20 chairs with qualified candidates. Golden Gate contacted PMG to help spread the word.
In academia, word of mouth is a particularly powerful tool, but it lacks saturation. Golden Gate’s reputation was significantly impressive, but not sufficiently widespread. The PMG strategic plan included widening the search and developing rate and rank criteria for the most promising markets, utilizing mass media to direct prospects to Golden Gate’s website for prescreening.
Timing being of the essence, print magazines were not a reality. Television and radio were cost-prohibitive and too horizontal. Since budgets were limited, fractional page ads were deployed in top newspapers including San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Business Times and the western edition of Wall Street Journal.
Message is especially vital in fractional ads. PMG developed a series of no-bull ads that incorporated a representative tag line: “Think strategically, act decisively, advance rapidly.”
The December holidays wreaked havoc with the first efforts, but what began as a trickle of inquiries soon became a deluge. In all, the PMG program received over 120 qualified inquiries. Moreover, the media frequency enabled Golden Gate’s Executive Director to interview candidates and make selections before the deadline.
The Strategic MBA program expanded beyond the original model and all expectations with their largest Strategic MBA graduating class in 24 years.