The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Monday March 4th

TCNJ’s extensive marketing is working, communications chief says

<p>(Photo courtesy of Shane Gillespie / Photo Editor)</p>

(Photo courtesy of Shane Gillespie / Photo Editor)

By Myara Gomez 
Staff Writer

Marketing is an essential tool for many organizations, creating a need among consumers for a product. In recent years, the College has significantly grown its marketing efforts, spending thousands of dollars on billboards, bus posters and social media ads.

In an interview with The Signal, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Dave Muha said the College has two marketing goals: raising awareness of the institution and increasing enrollment. 

Behind the scenes, Muha has an entire marketing team behind him along with an agency, Avoq, previously known as Subject Matter+Kivvit. The agency has been working with the College for about four years, handling some tasks that pertain to strategy, media buying and campaigns. The College’s in-house marketing team handles smaller-scale tasks such as the social media accounts, website, recruitment publications and email marketing campaigns. 

“With respect to enrollment, the goal of the advertising has been to drive attendance at open houses because we know that students who visit campus are more likely to apply and enroll,” Muha said. “We’ve been measuring the success of these efforts by metrics that include traffic to our open house and visit webpages, as well as registrations for the open houses.” 

The advertising efforts have made an impact, according to Muha. “This fall, traffic to the open house webpage was up 37% over 2022, he said. “In 2022 it was up 61% over 2021.”

The College has also seen increased open house registrations and enrollment.

“A prospect wrote on a campus tour evaluation that she first learned about TCNJ through a TikTok ad and that because of the tour, we were now her top school,” Muha said. 

Muha said the College’s “out of home” advertising campaign is mainly focused on billboards, NJ Transit bus ads, Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Google Search, and Google Display, in addition to some SEPTA and NJ Transit train ads. 

The College’s advertising is mostly focused around New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The annual marketing budget limits the messages’ reach. The advertising budget for 2023 was $725,000, compared to the previous years’ budget of $900,000. 

“Our budget limits what we can do geographically as well as the frequency,” Muha said. “I think that given our limited resources, we’ve been able to generate a high return on investment.”

Admissions for colleges is “highly competitive,” Muha said, “as there are fewer college-age students coming up through high schools.” However, the communications chief said the College has not seen any indications of a decline in its enrollment. 

Preliminary data indicates that the College’s advertising efforts are working, with applications up 30% compared to 2022, according to Muha. Despite a smaller budget compared to the previous year, the College is still seeing an increase in applications. The marketing team hopes that they will have an even greater budget this year so that they can continue to grow the College’s campus community.


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