Increase in
Applicants for
Master’s Degrees


The Challenge

Back in 2009, Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies hired DMI to revitalize its brand and revamp its marketing efforts. The goal was to increase awareness of Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies and drive more qualified applicants for its master’s degree programs and professional certificates, as well as its summer and semester programs. At that time, the school used mostly print, with some local online placements and paid social media. Their target audiences included varied segments such as recent college graduates, veterans, career-changers and high school achievers. Today, online programs, for-profit institutions and outside extension programs have increased the competition for qualified applicants

Our Insight

Georgetown SCS needed an integrated branding campaign to boost awareness of the school and its offerings along with program-specific media plans to more effectively reach their audiences. By shifting the media mix towards more relevant digital media channels and tactics, we could more closely align our media with the media consumption habits of our target audiences. This eneabled us to be more efficient, allowing us to reach a greater number of prospects.


Our approach uses both traditional and digital media, from out-of-home, direct mail and local radio to paid social media, email marketing, native advertising and streaming radio. We geo-target on many levels, depending on the program strategy, so we can pinpoint local, regional, national and international audiences. This specificity is also appied to event promotions, such as information sessions, webinars and speaker series, in order to drive attendance.


Using a hybrid model of niche sites that speak to a specific industry along with programmatic ad
buys enables us to achieve scale, reach, efficiency and relevance. Direct buys provide guaranteed
presence and premium positions while programmatic provides efficiency and scale. We leverage
real-time data and results to inform our ongoing media and creative optimizations by calculating ROI
for each media placement throughout the campaign.


Paid social media has long been a part of Georgetown SCS’s media strategy, however, social media
networks frequently change their ad formats and products, as well as their targeting capabilities with
new data partners and metrics. As they evolve, we have leveraged more owned content in the paid
media space through social and native platforms to communicate beyond the banner. Web content
and long-form video in premium environments, and consumed mostly via mobile, have proven to be
effective strategies.


Since 2009, DMI has helped to increase the number of master’s degree applicants by 109%, while the
number of master’s programs has grown by 67%. For the summer and special programs, admissions
have increased by 61%. Our approach has stayed relevant with the fast-changing media landscape,
reflecting the evolving media habits of our target audiences, especially in the digital space. By
testing new and emerging media products and leveraging both automated and human oversight
optimizations, we continue to increase results year-over-year for Georgetown University’s School of
Continuing Studies.