If the New Zealand international education industry is to achieve its growth targets, we need to refresh and refocus our marketing impact in China. We also need to make a leap in scale.
We can’t do that with a business as usual approach.
This realisation is behind the Dragons in a Distant Land documentary now set to screen before 650 million people in China from August 2013.
The documentary highlights the experiences of Chinese considering studying in New Zealand and of successful alumni who have returned to China.
Education New Zealand (ENZ) General Manager of Marketing and Channel Development Kathryn McCarrison says the two-part documentary (renamed from Dragons in the Land of the Long White Cloud) is designed to be a “game changer” for New Zealand’s student attraction marketing in China and will boost referrals to Chinese agents and New Zealand institutions. The documentary seeks to capture parents’ attention; students aged 16-25 will be targeted by a digital campaign.
“We’ll get unprecedented coverage of New Zealand education in China with the documentary.
“We all need to get ready – the Chinese networks will only give three days’ notice of the first on-air date.
“To get full value out of the investments in the documentary, we – that is ENZ and the industry – need to run an integrated campaign leveraging each other’s work.”
ENZ is developing marketing materials to help institutions plan their marketing in China following the screenings of Dragons in a Distant Land on national and regional television.
These materials will be made available to institutions.
ENZ’s production company, the Gibson Group, is negotiating with Chinese networks to have the documentary screened in August. The associated student dragons’ marketing campaign will be ready on 1 August 2013 to support the launch of the documentary.
Key features of the campaign include:
- Using alumni and agents on Weibo (the Twitter of China) to post about studying in New Zealand and direct people to the campaign’s website
- Creating posts for targeted internet forums and bulletin board sites
- Posting content to Youku, the YouTube of China.
To directly engage the target audience – parents, prospective international students and education agents - there will be:
- Video advertising targeting social networking and video sites and top student portals
- Performance display advertising.
ENZ’s current Baidu search campaign will be reconfigured to ensure relevant searches are directed to the student dragon’s campaign website.
Kathryn says the traffic from the student dragon’s campaign website will go to the New Zealand Educated website. “Your information on it will likely be the first impression of your institution for many Chinese visitors.
“We recommend you check out your institution’s page on newzealandeducated.com very soon to ensure your content is up to date.”
Closer to the launch date ENZ will make available key messages for each episode, press releases, a media question and answer and photography from the documentary. The final media buying plan, showing when and where ENZ will be advertising in China as part of the campaign, will also be available to help institutions with their own media buying.