An Affordable Medical Education

Saint James School of Medicine

by Todd Gordon

Saint James School of Medicine is a Caribbean medical school with campuses on the islands of Anguilla, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. They provide an affordable medical education to US and Canadian students.

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Saint James School of Medicine is a Caribbean medical school with campuses on the islands of Anguilla, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. They provide an affordable medical education to US and Canadian students.

We were engaged by Saint James in 2010 to rebrand and relaunch the school in the crowded and competitive Caribbean medical school market. Since then we’ve partnered with them through dramatic growth, the closure of a campus, to help them become one of the fastest growing medical schools in the Caribbean.

Carving a Niche in A Cut-Throat Market

Caribbean medical schools are a highly-commoditized market.

There are three top-tier schools, which outrank most US medical schools for performance. Below that there are more than 30 schools, all offering similar services, differentiated primarily by price and location.

In this aggressive market, the importance of integrated branding and effective communications cannot be understated.

Exceptional Growth in Enrollment & Continual Improvement

In our first year working with Saint James, we achieved exceptional results. This spectacular growth was a result of dramatic improvements to their website, coupled with an extremely effective digital marketing campaign, and a portfolio of integrated branded communications.

After you start with a bang, it can be a challenge to maintain momentum. It’s that tricky second novel that gets us all! However, by refining audience targeting, continual digital optimization, and A/B testing we continued to improve the School’s quality of leads and grow conversions.

From 2010 – 2015 the School enjoyed a 4-7% click through rate on digital advertising. The education industry’s pay per click average click through rate is 1.72%. During this period, we also worked with the School on their roadshow events in the US and Canada, and helped them develop their content marketing strategy. By 2015, Saint James was one of the fastest growing medical schools in the Caribbean. They had three Caribbean campuses, and a student body numbering over 1000, as well as hundreds of students in residencies. They had graduates practicing medicine throughout the United States and the world.

student applications

200% increase

enrolled students

197% increase

Grew revenue in 12 months

US $9 MM

LEADS YEAR ON YEAR

128% increase

WEBSITE TRAFFIC

270% increase

WEBSITE SESSIONS

241% increase

Campus Consolidation

In mid-2015 the School made the decision to close their Bonaire campus. Immigration had become complex, and older facilities needed significant investment. The School decided to consolidate in Anguilla and Saint Vincent, newer campuses with advanced technology, and easier immigration.

The School knew the closure of Bonaire had potential to affect the stability and wellbeing of the student body. We helped them develop a communications plan to alleviate potential upheaval and uncertainty created by the campus closure. Students were given full support with immigration, housing and travel to assist with their transition.

More Leads than Enrollment Could Handle

In 2016, with Google advertising becoming increasing competititive, we ramped up the School’s social media marketing. TimeZoneOne was tasked with reaching potential students and generating primary leads via Facebook.

From 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016 we generated 2,834 leads through Facebook at almost five times the rate of Google, and at one third of the cost per acquisiton. During peak season we generated more leads than the School’s team could effectively service, and pulled back on our marketing, to avoid disappointing potential students.  

Finding Their Truth

In 2017 the School felt it was time to review their brand story. They needed a clear sense of purpose, and credible brand promises differentiating them from other Caribbean Medical Schools. They also wanted to appeal to a high caliber of students, and continue to grow enrollment.

Measurable success factors included:

  • Continuously growing quality leads
  • Continuously growing applications
  • Raising USMLE first time pass rate and residency match rate

We worked with the School to identify their strengths and align these with medical students’ dreams, needs, and concerns. Our goal was to develop key messages that feel authentic, ownable, and resonate with students. The School invested in developing high quality imagery and video, and we further refreshed their website. In 2017 the School achieved:

applications year on year

61% increase

students reserved

15% increase

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