2 min read

Rogue Marketing Wins the Gold Hermes Award

We’re thrilled to announce that we won GOLD! Rogue Marketing took home Gold in the Hermes Award’s Electronic Media/Social Media/Consumer Engagement Campaign category.

The winning campaign was titled “Saving a Program Through Effective Lead Generation” and was done for our client Southern Methodist University (SMU).

The objective…

SMU runs a Starting a Business (SAB) certification course three times a year. With an all-in budget (agency and media) of $75K annually, Rogue is tasked with attracting and converting at least 60 students to take the $800 course each time it is offered (total of 180 students).

When Rogue began working with the program in 2016, the program had dwindled down to 23 registered students. The course was losing money and was faced with risks of cancellation.

Our mission was to:

  • Register 60 students
  • Avoid the program closing
  • Stand out amidst a sea of similar certificate programs
  • Achieve this in a 60-day window

What It took…

Faced with the very real possibility that this 30-year old course would have to shut down, they engaged Rogue. Paid media made good sense for finding and attracting new prospective students, but the bigger problem was addressing the prospects that had considered the course, but chose not to take immediate action. Not to mention that payment processing systems and forms created customer friction limiting conversion rates.

As this account has matured, Rogue has operationalized a marketing system for the university. We took a holistic, integrated approach that continues to produce results:

  • Identified right target – had the funds and the drive
  • Created/tested messaging that resonated
  • Built an ecosystem outside of the university’s bureaucracy to remove points of friction and close the loop on prospect behavior
  • Constructed a nurture program that enables “micro-yeses” to continue to engage prospects that are not yet ready
  • Implemented a localized, targeted paid media campaign
  • Set up remarketing programs
  • Surveys, videos, live marketing events and more

The results are in…

Since taking the program over in 2016, the course has seen results it was unable to generate by itself. From running it’s spring course in 2016 with 23 students to:

Spring 2016
Fall 2016
Spring 2017
Summer 2017
Fall 2017
Spring 2018

The university likes the results of course (a near 2.5X return), but they got more than they bargained for with Rogue. Because they chose to build a system with Rogue, they are now benefiting from seeing people that expressed interest six or nine months ago join the class because they are regularly engaged with and feel like they are missing out on something.

The Conclusion…

Rogue tirelessly worked to build not just a campaign, but a system that would prove fruitful for much longer than the immediate needs of a semester.

This campaign’s system has demonstrated a targeting ability that has been shown to be scalable and repeatable.

With a highly skeptical audience, Rogue has shown the value of digital marketing, generated inbound leads, improved the quality of those leads, identified time to conversion and built a marketing system that allows this growing business to produce results on a flat budget.

Here’s what the client had to say about the whole process:

But it works

Jerry White

Jerry White instructs the SAB Certificate course and leads the Caruth Center for Entrepreneurship


When it comes to digital, a few industry holdouts remain… Academia remains one of the most rooted in traditional methods. This institution and program took a chance diverting its budgeted spend and placing all its chips on digital methods. And the payoff for the program has had both short and long-term implications. In the near-term, they achieved the registrations they needed to… and in the long-term they’ve experienced the potential upside of digital marketing strategies and are expanding the campaign to capitalize on the collected cookie pool and engage interested-but-not-yet-converted targets. Score for SMU. Score for Academia. Score for Smart Marketing.


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