Bold Advertising Spotlights Data Science at DePaul

Career opportunities in data science (or big data, as it’s more commonly called) are expanding seemingly as fast as the data sets on which they are based. An attention-grabbing new advertising campaign has staked DePaul’s claim as the premier Chicago area education provider in the field. Created and executed in a tight timeframe, this campaign integrated the efforts of four departments within EM&M—University Marketing Communications, Strategic Marketing and Branding, Graduate Admission, and Institutional Research and Market Analytics.

Emerging as a leader in the Chicago market 
DePaul’s marketing push comes as the need for big data professionals increases across nearly every industry while the supply of qualified candidates lags behind.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting a 24 percent increase in demand for professionals with data analytic skills over the next eight years while the McKinsey Global Institute estimates the U.S. already faces a shortage of over 1.5 million analysts and managers with the necessary abilities.
 
Despite the rapidly expanding market, no education or training provider has assumed a dominant role in Chicago.  This presents great possibilities for DePaul. 
 
“DePaul is in a strong position because it has the greatest depth and breadth of degree programs and certificates in data science among universities in the region,” says Verna Donovan, associate vice president for Strategic Marketing and Branding.  “We can do the most to serve the educational needs for those interested in the field, whether their talents are in management, technology or analysis.” 
 
Designing a comprehensive, multi-channel campaign
Developing the strategy behind the campaign was a cross-divisional effort, beginning with Graduate Admission, who convened faculty to develop a comprehensive map of DePaul’s offerings and strengths across multiple colleges.  Strategic Marketing and Branding, with support from Institutional Research and Market Analytics, developed an external assessment of the competitive landscape to identify opportunities on which DePaul could capitalize. Building off this intelligence, Marketing Communications developed a unique plan to create awareness about DePaul’s leadership in data science and generate interest among prospective students.
 
“This campaign represents a different approach to advertising at DePaul,” explained Gwyn Friend, associate vice president for Marketing Communications.  “We promoted a cluster of programs that span several different colleges and degree types, providing a simultaneous lift to them all.” 
 
More than 65 creative executions communicated the range of DePaul’s data science offerings.  Ads were placed in high-impact traditional and online/digital media as the centerpiece of a multi-channel strategy that included outdoor, digital, social, mobile and online radio advertising.  All ads funneled prospects to the landing page go.depaul.edu/datascience, which includes an overview of DePaul’s offerings and an inquiry form. The advertising effort successfully raised awareness in the Chicago market, generating over 350 million impressions.  (Click here to view a few of the other ads as displayed outdoors in the Chicago area.)

Funding for the campaign was provided by Patricia O’Donogue, interim provost at the time and current interim president, in an effort to leverage the capacity for enrollment growth and strategic distinctiveness this set of academic programs offers.
 
As the six-week campaign recently ended at the beginning of November, a comprehensive analysis is underway.  Initial indicators show a shifting preference toward advertising on mobile and social platforms among the target audience, consistent with results from other campaigns.

Leveraging collaborations across the division
This campaign also illustrated the impact of cross-divisional collaborations in generating innovative ways to develop and market new program offerings. 

“The extraordinary effort required to so quickly develop, design and deliver such a comprehensive campaign was only possible because of the highly integrated approach we’ve created at DePaul among the marketing, admission and research functions,” remarked David Kalsbeek, senior vice president for Enrollment Management and Marketing.

View more images from the campaign below.
​​​To learn more about the marketing of data science at DePaul, contact Verna Donovan or Gwyn Friend.