Social Marketing Strategy for LSES Communities: Research and Strategy Phase

Project dates: 01/02/2015 - 30/11/2016

The project aim was to ‘research and design an appropriate, cost-effective national social marketing campaign targeted at low socio-economic status (LSES) students and communities that will assist universities to increase awareness of and raise aspiration to higher education’.

The specific objectives of the strategy were to:

  • Increase awareness of and aspiration to attend university amongst LSES students, families and communities
  • Increase knowledge of pathways to university amongst LSES students, families and communities
  • Increase number of applications to university and university pathways from people from a LSES background

Why is this important?

Widening participation seeks to address the educational disadvantage experienced cohorts who are chronically under-represented in Australian tertiary education. Educational disadvantage or all cohorts is attributable to living on a lower income, lower educational attainment, being the first in their family to participate, and lacking a supportive home environment. The implications of a disadvantaged background are lack of finances, lower confidence, limited knowledge around career prospects, and limited awareness of the value of, and pathways to, tertiary education.

What did we do?

The project ‘Social Marketing Strategy for LSES Communities – Research and Strategy Phase’ was funded by a grant from the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, made under the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program as a commissioned project of the National Priorities Pool. This national project was undertaken with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) as the lead university, auspiced by the Queensland Widening Participation Consortium consisting of the state’s eight public universities. The work was undertaken between 2015 and 2016. Academic researchers were drawn from two Queensland universities, QUT and University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).

This research and strategy phase was conducted using a Service Design approach, consisting of interviews and participatory workshops.

What did we find out?

Overall, four learner personas (for high school and recent school leavers), four parent personas and three school staff personas were identified (check out the persona quiz on the right). Overall, a persona-based national portal was recommended that is designed to shift the balance so that motivators outweigh the barriers to tertiary education.

Funding / Grants

  • Australian Government Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (2015 - 2016)

Other Team Members

  • Adjunct Professor Judy Drennan, QUT
  • Associate Professor Maria Raciti, USC
  • Mary Kelly – Project Leader, Equity Director, QUT
  • Sandra Bridgland – Project Manager, QUT
  • Kate Flynn – Project Advisor (Social Marketing), QUT
  • Gabrielle O’Brien – Project Advisor (Widening Participation), QUT
  • Professor Gayle Kerr – Integrated Marketing Communication Plan, QUT
  • Natalie Bowring – Research Assistant, QUT
  • Kara Burns – Research Assistant, QUT
  • Natalie Sketcher – Visual Designer, QUT
  • Mackenzie Geeves – Visual Designer, QUT