The Department for Education utilise our Communication Services framework to generate an additional 10,000 applicants.

The uncertainty coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought means those with responsibility for student recruitment are being forced to evaluate and optimise every area of their marketing and communications strategies. 

Many of our framework suppliers are experienced in delivering effective recruitment campaigns, to great impact, in challenging environments. 

In this case study, we explore how the Department for Education (DfE) addressed the decline in the number of graduates who were being recruited into teaching roles by engaging a supplier on our Communication Services framework.

The challenge

In the hugely competitive sector of graduate recruitment – and unable to compete with the starting salaries offered by the big corporate graduate recruiters – DfE faced an uphill challenge to remain relevant to those about to leave university. As such, the teaching profession was struggling to retain its desirability with this audience. 

The challenge for suppliers was to reappraise DfE’s ‘Get into Teaching’ media plan to drive greater awareness and relevancy with the student and graduate audiences. 

With their specialist knowledge, they were best placed to understand how best to showcase the ‘Get into Teaching’ campaign with this hard-to-reach audience and demonstrate the profession as a viable career option.

The solution

Gaining a deep insight into the target audience to understand how their perception of teaching could be influenced was a critical first step. 

To do this, the chosen supplier worked closely with the DfE’s research agency, Populus, to understand when and how their perception of teaching could be influenced. 

As a result of this work, the supplier created in-depth audience segmentation which directly informed a revised media strategy. 

There was clearly a role for broadcast media in showcasing the emotive brand message of the campaign: driving awareness and inspiring individuals to consider a career in teaching. However, their insight confirmed that opportunities to reach younger audiences via TV were in decline. 

The insight also revealed seasonality played an important role in engaging the target audience. 

The greater ‘mental availability’ of students and graduates over the summer to consider a career – evidenced by a significant uplift in online searches for ‘graduate jobs’ – was a clear opportunity to influence the audience, particularly as the DfE had historically under-invested in advertising over the summer months.

ITV programme Love Island offered the supplier a highly effective opportunity. It offers a high volume of the right audience at the right time – a ‘sweet spot’ of TV programming optimisation. 

The supplier showcased a longer-form commercial in a premium position in the launch episode and took advantage of the further audience available within the ITV Player platform. 

The supplier also developed an enhanced role for advertising in cinemas. Based upon their insights, they moved away from the traditional model of selecting films with the biggest reach, instead selecting key films that resonated with the target audience. A highly engaging, impactful environment, cinema is a ‘must-have’ for reaching this audience in a highly social setting.

The outcome

  1. Taking advantage of the advertising opportunities available on ITV Player, in addition to the TV spot in Love Island, doubled the reach of those seeing the ‘Get into Teaching’ commercial’ – adding a further 640,000 unique users to the 616,000 reached via the TV spot.
  2. Activity on the ‘Get into Teaching’ site spiked during Love Island, with a 22% increase in sessions and a 25% increase in new users. Paid search performance improved six-fold at the time of the TV and on-demand transmission.
  3. So successful was this activity that budget was ring-fenced to support an amplification strategy during the next academic year. The reach and impact of ‘appointment to view’ programming opportunities were to be enhanced with relevant video on demand products and other programming-led content such as podcasts.
  4. The latest brand tracking results show the decline in student and graduate consideration of teaching has been arrested – consideration held at 48%, providing a solid base to increase applications from this group.
  5. An 18% year-on-year uplift in website registrations for June – August 2019, with the activity contributing an additional 10,000 applicants for teaching over this period.

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