Maryland 529

Helping Maryland Families Save for College

Award Winner

Overview

As college tuition and higher education costs rise, saving for college has never been more challenging. Maryland 529 provides flexible and affordable 529 plans to help Maryland families save for future education expenses and reduce their dependence on student loans. The Hatcher Group, in partnership with Reingold and Audacy, supports Maryland 529’s marketing efforts across the state. 

Capabilities

Crisis Communications

Earned Media

Strategic Communications

Strategic Events

Marketing

Branding

Digital Engagement

Paid Media

Creative

Multimedia Production

Website UI/UX

Strategy

Hatcher’s strategic marketing plan, and its execution, focused on rethinking and designing visual concepts and final products for paid advertising — digital, TV, radio, and out-of-home (OOH), including billboards and bus stop ads. The plan also included earned media, social media, and influencer engagement to grow Maryland 529’s brand across Facebook and Twitter. Our website support streamlined the user experience with new and updated pages. And dissemination channels were based on audience journey maps, research into the preferred communication channels of key audience groups, and ongoing campaign insights research.

Marketing

Maryland 529 marketing strategies included digital, TV, radio, and OOH advertising, as well as social media and influencer engagement, which grew Maryland 529’s brand on Facebook and Twitter. Our digital ads on Facebook, YouTube, and Google Search targeted Marylanders based on their interests, location, and browsing history.

Multimedia

Hatcher partnered with Rafferty Weiss to produce two 30second TV commercials and several radio spots. We also created a series of motion graphic videos highlighting the benefits of Maryland 529 plans. 

Materials

As part of a broader refresh of marketing and advertising, we created a suite of new and updated materials, including an enrollment kit, annual report and summary, infographics, photography, brochures, animated GIFs, motion graphics, and other campaign collateral. 

Photography

We organized and managed a photo shoot that yielded visual assets that could be used across campaigns throughout the state.

Our Impact

Hatcher continues to refine and optimize its support for Maryland 529 based on analytics and regular reporting to ensure the most efficient use of the client’s resources. Here are just some of the results:

  • In the first months the plan’s execution, applications for an important program significantly increased over the previous year, a key performance indicator of campaign success.
  • Our digital ads received 5.7 million impressions in the first quarter of 2020, resulting in more than 340,000 website visits.
  • Videos received 158,222 views, with a cost per view of just $0.05.
  • We secured media coverage in The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Patch, and the Severna Park Voice.