Radio Recruits Students for SUNY Old Westbury

In November, SUNY College at Old Westbury advertised for eight days on four Long Island Radio stations to recruit students for the following semester. "Pre-registration almost doubled," recalls Mike Kinane, director of public and media relations. The college, he adds, "hadn't done any organized marketing or advertising for almost a decade." But a more aggressive marketing posture had begun to take shape with the appointment of the Rev. Calvin O. Butts as president in the fall.Building on an experiment, SUNY Old Westbury launched a Radio campaign in April and May featuring Dr. Butts and airing on a combination of 12 New York and Long Island stations.Goal of the campaign was twofold: to recruit potential students by inviting them to attend an open house and "to start to get an image of who we are in people's minds." SUNY Old Westbury 
The college, Kinane points out, recruits its students predominantly from Long Island and New York City, with the city accounting for about 35% of the 3,000-student total. The open house turned out to be, "the biggest the college ever had," says Kinane, "and summer enrollment was significantly up, which was a byproduct of the Radio campaign." As a result, "Radio will be the centerpiece of our marketing plan for the next five to seven years."
The college also used some print and direct mail, but, says Kinane, "We know Radio is the driving force. With everybody so busy, they're always on the go, and the medium that's always on the go with them is Radio. Everybody has a home on the dial, and, if you know what kind of person you're looking for, you can find the home that will reach them."
SUNY Old Westbury has a dual target: "Moms and students." And the students are divided into two groups: older students and high school students. "The right target for Old Westbury," says Kinane, "is sometimes hard to define. Our students can be 17 years old, 27 years old, 37 years and older. At the same time, they come from all different economic and cultural backgrounds. On top of that, they make their buying decisions based on input from a host of other people - guidance counselors, family members, community leaders. Through Radio, we can target our dollars to the formats and times that appeal to all of these different types of people."