North Texas Daily

University’s methodical message to future students

University’s methodical message to future students

November 15
17:25 2015

Adalberto Toledo | Staff Writer

@adaltoledo29

The University Relations, Communications and Marketing office is the university’s message machine. As a marketing force, URCM creates, with methodical research, all the pamphlets, view books and letters aimed at potential UNT students.

Associate vice president for URCM Kelley Reese described UNT’s marketing efforts as multifaceted and complicated but effective.

“It takes way more than the marketing department to get a student to walk through the door,” Reese said. “We don’t finish our work in getting the student or keeping the student until they graduate.”

URCM is the voice, the image, the face, the look and the feel of UNT. With a focus on student recruitment marketing, effort is placed on strategies to encourage students to apply to UNT, but every aspect of the university works to recruit a student.

A lot of research goes into everything URCM does, from the view book’s design to the message they provide for the admissions department. The entire university serves to market itself to any student.

“We provide the tools for admissions,” Reese said. “Admissions is the sales force that actually implements all these strategies.”

Reese added that most of the marketing is done through advertisements, both physical and online. UNT has billboards that change seasonally, as well as view books, display boards and website advertisements that all aid in selling the university to prospective and “suspect” students.

“A suspect is a student who we happen to know may be interested in UNT,” Reese said. “For example, we may get a lead that a 14-year-old student may be a potential fit for UNT in the next three years.”

Reese began with the example of John, the prototypical prospect student.

“Let’s say John applies, but isn’t part of the prospect or suspect pool. We call him a stealth prospect,” Reese said. “Now that he’s applied, though, we see he has not toured, so our next step is to get John to tour.”

Reese described touring as a critical step in getting John to apply in the first place, but also to enroll, in the event he has already applied.

“We focus on our yield next, which is to get an admitted student to actually come to orientation,” Reese said. “So we push the tours then, too.”

Tours are emphasized, but they are only one part of UNT’s marketing strategies. High school students in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, all around Texas and in Oklahoma and Arizona will see billboards and literature available that promote UNT. As Oklahoma is within 100 miles of UNT, certain advertisements target Oklahoma residents with view books specific to them.

Jennifer McLendon, visitor experience manager, said the majority of people that take the tours fall in love and feel right at home.

“I make the values that are a priority for the university and put them into the tours,” McLendon said. “Students get hit with marketing all the time, so we put everything into their words so they can relate with the ambassadors.”

McLendon added that the job of an Eagle Ambassador is to make sure all visitors have a good experience from the moment they set foot onto the UNT campus to the moment they leave.

“The Eagle Ambassadors go through a lot of training. I go look for students that have a genuine love for UNT,” McLendon said. “It is because they love it that it makes it easier for them to sell the university.”

McLendon said the university works toward recruiting students when they go on a tour.

“The current students play as much of a role as anything else,” McLendon said. “As parents and prospective students observe the campus, they can get a feel for UNT’s culture.”

Along with the tours, Eagle Ambassadors put together customized bags for prospective students while they’re on the tour. They return to bags filled with viewbooks, financial aid and scholarship brochures and housing information, along with specific information about the academic field in which they are interested.

“UNT ambassadors are great generalists,” McLendon said. “But we want to be able to hand them off to experts in the area the student is most interested in.”

Freshman kinesiology student Lauren Louk said she found out about UNT when the ambassadors set up a booth at her high school.

“I got mail from them along with so many other colleges,” Luok said. “I’m from Garland, so I saw signs all the time, too.”

Denton is also a big selling point for UNT, McLendon said, with many students and parents enjoying the culture and location. Above all, she said she wants to let students know they have a home at UNT.

“Anyone can find a place here. I hope they see that on their tour,” McLendon said. “We give an amazing education at an affordable price.”

Featured Image: The University Services Building, located behind Fouts Field, is home to the University Relations, Communications, and Marketing Department at UNT. Brittany Sodic | Staff Photographer

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