In recent years, community college budgets have been slashed and course sections cut, resulting in fewer students being able to get into classes they need to graduate or transfer out. Some students have had to put off their education plans.

With declining state funding, community colleges had been forced to reduce classes and experience declining enrollment. In 2014, College of the Desert began taking aggressive action to restore intersessions and add classes and faculty in the areas most in demand. With these steps the College hoped to address the backlog that has been built up, while at the same time meet the increasing needs of our community.

With hundreds of new classes added to the fall schedule, the College wanted to insure prospective students were aware of new opportunities. The College also wanted a fresh promotional approach that would attract attention, stimulate action and drive visits to the online portal for enrollment.

Marketing, media and consultant partners came together under the leadership of KH and Co. to develop an integrated digital advertising campaign to promote registration. The campaign included traditional advertising paired with content marketing that included media distributed in over six digital channels to distinct target audience segments.


Our approach started with a review of class schedules, target student demographics and prior enrollment promotional attempts. The team developed a content marketing plan around an integrated campaign to raise awareness, rally support and boost enrollment – “You Can” at College of the Desert.

The aim was to support and augment the overriding aspirations of the umbrella campaign concept while also targeting specific audiences and capturing the attention of prospective students. The focus was on core messages: You Can Get Started Here; You Can Advance Your Career; You Can Earn While You Learn; and You Can Take Classes That Transfer.

A content marketing plan targeted audiences, covered multiple mediums, and generated visual, written and interactive content. The goal: Drive prospective students to website and phone intake outlets in support of sign up/application strategy while supporting enhanced brand awareness for the College.


After a few years of declining enrollment and reductions in state funding, the College experienced an increase in enrollment for the first time in many years. Overall registration increased over the previous year.

By the end of the campaign, click through rates were all above national averages, referral visits to the website were up 43%, users increased 28.4%, web traffic from social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter) increased during this campaign versus the previous period, and collective marketing efforts led to across the board increases in website visitors, Facebook fans, and impressions.

The You Can Campaign was subsequently expanded to include on campus pole banners, web banners, and print collateral and integrated into the Foundation fundraising campaign in support of student success initiatives.