Lots of print ads and no digital marketing. When Jody Perrin stepped into her role as director of marketing and communications at Jamestown Community College (JCC), this was the marketing mix she inherited. 

“When I started at JCC 14 years ago, I was hired to create an effective website, as the existing one wasn’t the best,” Perrin said. “Plus, there really was no marketing department. When I moved into my current role eight years ago, I knew that I wanted to do more digital marketing. But, my background was in graphic design. I knew I needed help — and Net Natives turned out to be just what I needed.” 

Recently, we sat down with Perrin to learn more about how she connected with Net Natives, the projects we’ve collaborated on, and advice for colleagues when it comes to working on similar enrollment marketing projects. Read on to see what she shared. 

First off, tell us a little bit about your institution — and something we might not know about it?  

JCC was founded in 1950 as a predominantly transfer, liberal arts-oriented institution. It was the first locally sponsored State University of New York (SUNY) public community college and is now one of 30 community colleges within the 64-member SUNY system. JCC has grown from its original location within the Jamestown High School building and an enrollment of 169 students into a multicampus institution. We have two campuses and two extension sites, and offer courses in high schools throughout the region.

How did you learn about Net Natives? 

Initially, I knew I wanted to do more with social media and Pandora. So, I did a ton of research on my own. I met with and worked with Pandora and Facebook directly and tried working with a few other agencies. But, I found myself trying to juggle too many balls. I needed one agency I could delegate most of the tasks to. When I connected with Net Natives, I sensed a different energy — a friendliness and willingness to try new ideas. It was so refreshing. And when I learned about the Net Natives Akero Platform and the data it could collect, I was sold. Net Natives was really the first company that offered me a solution that could take care of everything and offered quality customer service. 

Tell us about the scope of your initial project.

We started working together on a Facebook campaign where we were trying new tactics like in-app lead generation. We were also eager to explore more platforms for digital advertising. Then, over the next five or so years, our work together has evolved to include things like Google Search Ad campaigns to increase traffic to our website and promoting our open houses. Net Natives really oversees all of our digital marketing now. The only things you aren’t supporting are the more traditional types of media advertising like our radio, billboard, and print ads. 

What’s one marketing idea that the Net Natives team introduced you to? 

As I mentioned, when I learned about Akero, I was hooked. It’s so useful to us because of the landing page development, email communications, lead tracking, and campaign performance dashboard all being in one place. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to nurture our leads and track the success of our campaigns to continue making regular adjustments and performance improvements. Also, Justin recently introduced me to Amazon Over the Top advertising. Although this tactic is still pretty new for us, I think it’s exciting, because it will help us move into specific program campaigning versus brand campaigns. Our new goal is to focus on increasing enrollment in specific programs at the institution.

What are a few pieces of advice you have for colleagues undertaking a similar project — regardless of whether they hire Net Natives? 

  • Set a goal — and follow through. So often, we set a marketing goal and then get distracted by others or deviate when the going gets tough. For example, my goal has been to generate leads for registrations. It’s complex, and accomplishing it has been hard. I really had to commit to it, and dig in and figure out how to make it happen. 
  • Meet weekly. I meet weekly with my Net Natives person to touch base. And I think this is something I’d now do with any vendor I’m working with. Initially, I was reluctant to take the time to do so, because it was hard to find time in my schedule. But, I started to realize that the meetings allowed me to hold Net Natives accountable — and to hold myself accountable for any tasks I was responsible for.   

What has been the most enjoyable part of working with Net Natives? 

Again, I love the energy that your reps possess. Plus, people are always coming to me with ideas about what we could do to try to meet my goals. For example, Mike Croak (a campaign strategy team manager) offered a killer idea that helped us with our residence hall numbers. He knew this was an issue for us and took the time to proactively look at the data. The thing to know is that if you live out of state, you can come to JCC and pay in-state tuition. But, Mike recognized that the majority of our residence halls students are still in New York state. Mike suggested we redevelop the campaign to target out-of-state students and New York state students with some tweaks to the message targeting in-state students. The result was an increase in our residence halls applications for the first time since before COVID.  

Have questions for Perrin? Email her at JodyPerrin@mail.sunyjcc.edu. Interested in collaborating with us? Let’s start the conversation.