In Michigan, families can choose the school district or charter school they would like their children to attend, fostering competition for students. Howell Public Schools, in Howell, MI, serves more than 7,000 students enrolled in grades K-12. To boost awareness and attract students both from within the district—but who attend school elsewhere—and those living in neighboring school districts, Howell Public Schools partnered with Comcast Spotlight for a demographically and geographically targeted multi-screen advertising campaign. STRATEGY: The district wanted to reach families within Livingston County and the northern portion of nearby Washtenaw County, particularly those who might be considering a different school for their children. With research that women are often the primary decision makers when it comes to educational options, the district was able to take advantage of Comcast Spotlight’s ability to place its message on networks geared towards women and kids (since moms are often watching those channels alongside their children). The commercials highlighted its academic offerings—from reading, math and science to a firefighter training program to its vocal music offerings. Adding reach and frequency, and engaging families online, geographically targeted digital advertising included banner advertising on Xfinity.com.
Based on Michigan’s per-pupil funding formula, the district was able to compare the additional funding brought to the district to the advertising investment. For its multi-screen campaign, that additional funding substantially surpassed the advertising budget, exceeding the district’s goals. Proving the impact of the advertising, multiple families cited the commercials as the reason they enrolled in the district. Website traffic and phone inquiries increased during the campaign, and Xfinity.com was one of the top referring sites to the district’s website.