Midland Code Academy
Services Provided: Strategy, Competitive Research, Photography, Video, Web, Illustration, Animation, Marketing, PR, Copywriting, Communication, Print, Promotional Giveaways.
Midland University is a private Lutheran college based in Fremont, NE. The school has over 135 years of rich history educating students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. A few years ago, in an effort to open new markets, Midland opened an additional campus in Omaha, NE. In 2017 they saw a need to help students engage new careers in technology. Not having these skills in-house, they turned to Method Mark to assist in product research, development, marketing, and management.
Method Mark’s first task was to research and define the need. Upon doing this, we made a recommendation to launch a unique Code Academy product. This would become one of the few Code Academies incorporated into a traditional University. After in-depth competitive research and exploration of desired outcomes, we developed a 9-month program. This would position the Code Academy to be longer than a typical coding boot camp, while still much shorter than an associate or bachelor’s degree.
Once the program concept was developed and approved, Method Mark built out a complete budget for the program. We performed research on pricing and developed a pricing structure for the program. We built out a financial model that included marketing expenses, instructor expenses, and facility overhead.
After the financial model was built, researched, and approved, Method Mark built the core messaging and visuals for the program. Because the program didn’t yet exist, we staged a photo shoot to develop early content for web and social.
Method Mark quickly developed a new website for the program. We created all content for the website including copy, photography, illustration, and messaging strategy. We focused on leveraging the unique value of a university with significant history. Our research indicated our target audience resonated with the opportunity to study code an established university versus a newer coding boot camp.
Our core messaging revolved around, “learn to code part-time, in-person, at a university.” We also messaged, “leveraging 135 years of experience to help you learn to code.”
In August of 2017, we launched the new product to great local reception. Method Mark managed the application process and marketing funnel. Our primary focus for initial marketing was targeted Facebook ads. We also allocated budget towards Google Adwords, promoted Twitter posts, and email marketing. We were able to create new revenue of 10x the marketing spend and net profit of 3x the marketing spend.
Method Mark also managed the PR for this new launch. Press releases were developed and deployed to both local and national media outlets. As a unique product, Midland Universty was quickly recognized nationally. In September of 2017, the United States Department of Education visited the program and promoted it as an innovative approach to higher ed. Method Mark partnered with a third party PR firm to manage press for a visit from the US Secretary of Education. The national recognition was significant for the program and was covered by both local and national media.
Using both earned and paid media, Method Mark was able to launch a new product that was profitable from day one. After the launch of the first cohort, we continued to work with Midland through May 2018 to build a top-notch experience for current students, as well as recruiting new students to the program. We launched 3 successful cohorts of students with Midland under a monthly marketing retainer. We used a small budget of just a few thousand dollars a month to create the most dynamic results possible using digital and guerrilla marketing.
As part of our digital strategy, we launched a blog for the Code Academy and created multiple pieces of content each month. On Medium, we created a viral piece that quickly brought in hundreds of followers, page views, and rocketed the Code Academy to a top Google search result.
Great design requires great content. To be effective in our marketing for Midland University, we created multiple photo shoots during our engagement. Creating this content allowed us to be original and unique as we launched a new product and helped us avoid using stock photography. Producing original content created a more customized and authentic brand experience which helped drive the success of Code Academy.
Ultimately, Method Mark produced a successful new product for Midland University and drove 12 months of continued growth. This product created a significant new revenue stream for Midland University and remained profitable. Digital traffic and engagement continued to grow across Facebook, Google, Medium, and the website with only a bootstrap budget for pay-per-click marketing.