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Campus launches new marketing campaign

April 28, 2011

A new marketing campaign is being launched to gain public awareness of UW- River Falls and will start in May and go through the end of fall semester.

“We had done market research and our name recognition was not very high,” said Special Assistant to the Chancellor Blake Fry. “So we’ve been trying to increase awareness.”

The University set aside $75,000 a year for this marketing campaign.

Marketing Specialist Amy Christiensen, recently hired in November, has been evaluating market research of UWRF’s reputation among the general public.

“We had hired a consulting firm to help us find out what was our impression with the outside audience, and we found out that we are still being called ‘Moo U,’” said Christiensen.

The university launched the marketing campaign’s first wave in August last year that focused mainly on billboards and radio ads.

This summer University Communications will be increasing the University’s marketing campaign with another billboard presence.

“We’re looking to put a couple billboards on U.S. Highway 63,” said Fry. “On the main route that people use to go up to cabins or to go up north during the summer, trying to catch the lake traffic.”

There will also be a 30 second spot that will show in movie theaters like Hudson, Rice Lake, Apple Valley and Oakdale.

“I think the most successful will be the theater ads. We have a good company helping us out with it and we are really trying a fresh approach with it,” said Christiensen. “It’s also less costly than billboards, and we’ll have people’s attention longer.”

The university will also be sponsoring the St. Paul Saints this season.  Every Saturday night is UWRF success Saturdays at the Saints game.

“We’ll have people from the university throwing out the first pitches and shooting T-shirts into the crowd,” Fry said. “And we are working on having Freddy the Falcon there.”

The new campaign will also be pushing marketing efforts for particular academic programs.

“There is a program prioritization process that the university did to identify a top 20 percent of programs for growth,” said Fry. “And so we are going to be working with those departments and we’ll be talking with them about more aggressively marketing their department.”

The executive director of University Communications position has been eliminated as part of the budget cuts for the university. In the mean time, Blake fry will continue to over see the communications department.

The annual salary for this posistion ranges from $61,041 to $91,562, depending on eligibility.

“The biggest concern right now is not the of money aspect, its whether we will have the staff to do it. We were supposed to get a director and then we didn’t,” said Christiensen. “So when we get our staffing situation figured out, we will know more of what we can do for next level initiatives.”

Next spring the university will conduct another survey to determine how much impact this marketing campaign had on promoting awareness.

“We are going to see if the marketing has made an impact, and see if we have a larger name recognition in the areas that we have been advertising,” said Fry. “So that is what is in store for us next, measuring whether this is affective enough, and determine where we will go with it.”