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MarComm quarterly update: April-June 2023 | Part II

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Renea Morris

Renea Morris

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Internal  •

Marketing Campaigns and 4D Experience
The team has been working on many exciting initiatives over the last several months that came to fruition in the last quarter related to the 4D Experience, including how we’re rolling it out across campus and how we’re expressing it visually. See highlights below on the momentum that’s building with the 4D Experience as well as updates on campaigns using a variety of strategies and tactics. Be sure to read part 1 of the past quarter update and the special spotlight on Commencement 2023 to get a more comprehensive view of our very busy and productive fourth quarter!

Summer Session

The 2023 Summer Session central campaign ran April 14-June 30. Integrated tactics within the new and improved campaign included web content and improved website UX, social media, video, email, print, out-of-home, and campus activations. The primary objective was registration in for-credit summer classes by undergraduates, with a goal of a 12% increase YOY. As of July 10, we are seeing a whopping 14% increase (7,959 vs 6,977) in registered credits—an incredible feat as summer session registrations have trended down the past couple of years. Additionally, there was a 52% YOY increase in traffic to the campaign homepage, compared to the same period in 2022.

Note: Summer session registrations run through August 18. These are preliminary results and do not reflect the entirety of campaign results yet.

summer session advertisement next to a car

For the Difference | Digital

New digital tactics targeting potential alumni donors and prospective graduate students launched in late May and early June, alongside refreshed creative for the prospective undergraduate student audience. Both alumni and grad tactics will be live through August 31.

For the alumni campaign, MarComm worked with Advancement to develop a strategy aimed at motivating alumni to give. Ads urge this audience to “Give Today, Shape the Future” and drive to a revised landing page that illustrates the difference donations make in the lives of real DU students.

Additionally, MarComm partnered with the Office of Graduate Education to develop a new central graduate campaign strategy, targeting prospective students who, since May 2021, either began an application but never submitted it, or received an offer of admission but never enrolled. The campaign features a “Request Info” CTA and is aimed at generating top-of-the-funnel interest in DU as a leading University for graduate programs to drive leads for college graduate marketing efforts. Display and social ads are driving traffic to a refreshed landing page that includes a new RFI form to support a seamless user experience and campaign measurement.

The prospective undergraduate campaign continues in-market and is showing strong performance. Through April 30, yield targeting generated 1.5M impressions and 1,700 clicks. Year-to-May 30, 82% of all visit registrations and 69% of all submitted RFIs have direct attribution to Carnegie campaigns (according to Clarity dashboard data).

Note: Data from last month in a quarter is available the following month, and thus relevant insights will be included in the next quarter’s update.

For the Difference | Out-of-Home (OOH)

In April, two new overhead banners went up in Concourse B at Denver International Airport (DEN), joining a backlit screen placement that was installed in Concourse C in March. All three placements promoted core brand pillar messaging to travelers through April 30.

A summer flight of OOH advertisements successfully launched in June, reinforcing University messaging to a general brand audience. DU is now actively building brand affinity in the Denver community through displays on bus shelters near campus, kiosks in Cherry Creek Shopping Center and Southwest Plaza, and a refreshed ad set on RTD buses and light rail. These placements are staggered, with the latest running through September 17.

4D Experience Updates and Collaborations

University Hall Experiential Display

Over the past few years, MarComm has been collaborating with a series of individuals on a new installation for the first floor of the University Hall space where campus visitors congregate. With the new brand, this effort took off as the designs and elements featuring the 4D Experience quickly came to life this spring. After months of collaboration with the Undergraduate Admission, 4D Communications, 4D Experience, Facilities, and MarComm teams along with external partners, Maude Group, the new space was officially opened to the public in its entirety on May 19. When you have a moment and are next in the neighborhood, look for an opportunity to go check out this new immersive experience. While a few production fixes are still pending, the space is stunning. Shout-out to initiative leads, Kasina Entzi in Undergraduate Admission and Carri Wilbanks in MarComm, as well as all of the contributors to this effort.

4D Communication advancements | Made by 4D Communications Team
MarComm collaboration with SAIE, Chancellor’s Office, and others

Last fall, a new strategic positioning working group was charged by Chancellor Haefner with advancing messaging and understanding of the 4D Experience. Initially co-led by Rebecca Parker, Nikki Martinez, and me (Renea Morris), Johanna Blickenstaff transitioned into filling the MarComm seat in March. Since their formation, the team has made significant headway on several fronts and gained a great deal of momentum last quarter, following the outcomes of a collaborative workshop with campus marcomm practitioners.

4D Content Committee

On March 24, Shira Good partnered with the 4D Communications team to lead a workshop with select campus marcomm practitioners, the 4D Content Committee, to get a sense of the current knowledge and awareness gaps concerning the 4D Experience and its successful adoption. The main takeaway remains that there is a great deal of opportunity and a critical need to deepen understanding and awareness of the 4D Experience. This includes how 4D will ultimately benefit students and why 4D is not a marketing ploy. Thank you to all those on your teams that participated and shared a sense of where you, your colleagues, and your unit may still need support! Empowered by the additional insights, the 4D Communications team, in collaboration with their partners on the 4D Experience team and in other areas of campus, have started a series of new efforts geared toward increasing the power and clarity of 4D messaging.

4D Roadshow

One of the more specific items highlighted in the workshop was confusion regarding the progress made by the 4D Experience team, what the 4D Experience looks like in day-to-day practice, as well as a lack of clarity on how to best speak about 4D with key audiences.

To help resolve this, the 4D Communications team partnered with the 4D Experience team to begin moving an initiative the latter had piloted within SAIE out to units across campus—a 4D Roadshow. These 1.5-2-hour lunch-and-learn style events are personalized to address needs specific to each unit. As well, these events invite the campus community to get a first-hand look at what undergraduate students experience in 4D right now. Through these events, key stakeholders in the 4D Experience present on their areas of expertise. Additionally, ambassadors from each unit are tapped to present on their unit’s work and its connection to the 4D Experience, prompting further conversation and reflection, and ensuring the forward progress of 4D within their areas with support from their unit’s 4D champions (executive leader and select members of unit leadership teams). By the end of the past quarter, the first two units (MarComm and Athletics) had been visited, and the teams have a goal of visiting units across campus, including academic units, by the end of this coming fiscal year. Watch for an invite to come your way soon! Or reach out to Rebecca Parker, Nikki Martinez, or Johanna Blickenstaff to have your unit added to the list.

4D Iconography & Pattern System

The 4D Content Committee also highlighted that units and practitioners were struggling to visually identify 4D things in practice, and asked the questions “What does 4D look like?” and “How do we know when something is 4D?”

With distinct needs both internal and external to the University, the 4D Communications team began exploring a solution in collaboration with the full MarComm brand team and external partner Heavy to create a path forward (within the overarching brand system) for 4D. As a result of their efforts, an icon for 4D and ancillary graphic system (pattern) was developed for use in 4D-forward collateral and approved by the chancellor. (Important note: the new icon is not to be mistaken for a logo as its role is purely informational.) The project is moving into the post-approval refinement stage now. You can look for more about its release in next quarter’s update.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me, Shira Good (, or Johanna Blickenstaff ( with any questions you might have regarding our communications, marketing, or strategic positioning efforts.