Mike Fogarty started his first of three businesses, a general ad agency, at age 26. “In that agency, we did design, direct mail and digital marketing, print design, billboards, radio, TV,” he says. “We did anything for anyone.”
The firm grew to millions in revenue and expanded to Europe. Along the way, he decided to enhance his business acumen by completing the EMBA Program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Already a successful entrepreneur, he left the program with a clearer vision and the tools to move that vision forward. “I knew I made the right decision by the end of the first day in strategy class.”
In 2011, he found a buyer for his 13-year-old business and after exploring some new opportunities, in 2013 he decided to launch a new advertising agency – with a twist. Applying strategy from his EMBA studies, he studied the market and pursued a laser focus for his current business, MF Digital Marketing.
“The specialist will carry the day in strategy, so I wanted to pick one medium, not everything, and one vertical market, not everyone,” says Fogarty. At the same time, he wanted to target an underserved industry segment that he found fulfilling, is under-resourced and can use expertise, and came with passionate and fun clients.
It all came together by offering strictly digital marketing to business and law graduate programs.
EMBAC corporate member MF Digital Marketing develops highly targeted email and digital ad campaigns based on market research. It takes care of content creation and design, emails, online advertising, web landing pages, digital technology management, and measurement.
Working closely with these schools, MF Digital Marketing produces some impressive results. In four years of partnership with MF Digital Marketing, two graduate law programs in different states increased their enrollment by more than 500 percent.
“Everything is data-driven,” says Fogarty. “We’re all about driving decisions based on a quantitative analysis of hard data. We only work with graduate programs, measure everything, do more of what works, and tweak and adjust what’s not working to find out how to make it work. And all the while, test and recommend only effective new developments in technology.”
The specialization of service and market gives Fogarty and his team an advantage. Because they only collaborate with business and law school graduate program admissions and marketing teams, they gain a deep understanding of the prospective student market. As a result, Fogarty is reaching a goal he set forth from the outset: Achieving transformative growth for clients, many of whom had never embarked on these initiatives before.
“We set up, manage, and maintain lead generation campaigns,” he says. “We want to meet our prospective students where they are and as of today, prospective graduate students primarily are on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.”
MF Digital Marketing customizes the marketing approach by finding out what’s most important to a prospect and tailoring information. For example, one size does not fit for all emails: They are filled with variable content based on the prospective student’s profile. And instead of the call-to-action being a visit to the EMBA home page and getting lost, prospects are invited to visit a personalized web page. There, clicks are measured and scored based on intent to apply. This granular detail of measurement tells Fogarty’s team what captures the attention of prospects, helping them feed more of that content back to the prospect.
“If they value what we offer, we’re going to keep sharing that, and the whole purpose is to make that individual feel more comfortable with the idea of returning to school and maybe take a harder look at grad school,” he says. It also means that admissions staff receive leads on prospects ready to take the next steps.
Partnerships with MF Digital Marketing usually start with schools where deans want to fill more seats or increase their applications. “Deans and admissions staff come to us because they have heard us present at conferences or have heard from a peer.” The MF Digital team works with schools to learn more about what they are trying to do. “We help them calibrate what they want to achieve in the scope,” says Fogarty.
Specialization helps MF Digital Marketing compile real-time data with immediate application value. “We can forecast within 20 percent what is going to happen because we have so much relevant data right now on so many programs across the country,” he says.
The successes prove satisfying. “We love it when what we do moves the needle significantly for people,” he says. “We love showing our clients’ histogram and line charts and how we’ve driven enrollment together with them.”
The MF Digital team keeps an eye on new technology and its potential. “Technology is always changing, and our job is to stay ahead of it,” he says. For example, MF Digital Marketing includes OTT as a toolkit. With the ability to reach households that fit prospective student profiles, OTT involves placing 15- to 30-second ads that appear when viewers hit pause on streaming networks.
The company joined EMBAC last year and attended its first conference in Austin. “It’s a fun group, with an open collegial feel we hoped for,” he says. “We want to be around people who love what they do and are passionate about it.” EMBA Programs are a natural fit for MF Digital Marketing, says Fogarty.
“This is all we do. We are highly specialized. We know the mindset of the working professional with a 10-year plan, and they think maybe a grad degree can get them there in five years. We know how to meet them where they are online, capture their attention, and serve up content so that the driven prospects find what they want. We then tee those very engaged, very serious prospective applicants up to our admissions professionals so they can work their craft and magic of admissions to turn that applicant into a matriculant.”
For more information about MF Digital Marketing, contact Mike Fogarty at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.mfdigi.com.