Engaging students at busy events

Engaging students at busy events

The transformation of the University of Gloucestershire’s presence at UCAS higher education fairs. The project included POS materials, data capture and follow-up campaigns. The results? Valuable market intelligence and a significant increase in firm applications of +8%.

The challenge
UCAS higher education fairs are an opportunity for universities to make a positive impression on young people heading towards higher education. However, for the University of Gloucestershire these fairs were not delivering results. Around 90% of students met were never heard from again, and less than 7% attended an open day (the next stage of the conversion funnel). National brand awareness was low, and when someone had heard of the university it was deemed as being situated in a quiet, elderly town. Staff working at the fairs also said it was hard to engage people in conversation, with nothing to draw people to the stand.

What we did
We expanded our thinking beyond aesthetics, developing a data-capture campaign that enabled us to gain market intelligence and have meaningful follow-up conversations with potential customers. We offered an incentive for the sharing of personal details: the chance to win VIP tickets to Gloucestershire’s 2000trees music festival –  a first step towards breaking down the ‘sleepy’ Gloucestershire barriers. We also invested in automated software to provide instant-win prizes on the day. And we communicated all of this through a visually exciting display to catch people’s attention.

The outcome
The project energised HE fair teams, resulting in more positive conversations and high-quality leads. It also generated exciting and relevant content for social media channels and customer details for post-event marketing campaigns. This all resulted in an increase in open day attendance from HE fair leads of +30%, and a subsequent and significant increase in firm applications of +8%.