Academic & Education



Harlow College has undergone a transformation over the past five to six years and recently achieved the prestigious status of No. 1 college in England. It is a medium-sized tertiary college located on a single site close to Harlow town centre, North West Essex. The college draws around half of its learners from Harlow and the remainder largely from West Essex and East Hertfordshire. The college’s main work is vocational education and training.

Although Harlow College have recently been rated as the No. 1 college in England, there was a perception issue with students, parents and key stakeholders, mainly due to a historical legacy of poor results, which manifested itself with many high achieving pupils continuing to opt for other educational choices.

Brand Facts

  • Harlow College is a tertiary college offering mainly vocational education and training.
  • The Principal has been in post approximately 5 years and immediately bought a focus on teaching and learning.
  • The college suffered from poor brand perception owing to lower than average results.

Project Facts

  • Harlow College approached Mackman to produce a marketing campaign to recruit new students.
  • We delivered an award-winning tactical marketing campaign to improve student recruitment and brand awareness, and to cement Harlow College as the No.1 College in England.


Offering vocational training to young people

Mackman created a tactical marketing campaign to raise awareness of Harlow College’s newly achieved status as the No. 1 college in England.

As Harlow have a range of stakeholders, the campaign needed to reach a broad cross section. The starting point of the campaign was undertaking a perception survey with students and parents. The output from the research enabled us to shape, develop and deliver a fully integrated ten week campaign based around four key themes:

  • Grab Awareness – Launch emails, posters, window panels
  • Engagement – Tshirt competition/Microsite/PR/Social media
  • Reinforcement – Broadsheet
  • PR & Advertising – local PR and advertising including posters strategically placed at tube and train stations, bus stops and bus backs as well as press events.

This is the first phase in the college’s strategic marketing plan to help change perception, drive increased student recruitment, partnership working and investment opportunities, which Mackman are delighted to continue to be instrumental in.

The Challenge

With changing funding agreements, Harlow College recognised the need to promote and celebrate their No. 1 status of the college to increase enrolment numbers.

Harlow College Case Study

The Results

Harlow now have excellent A level results, with a 100% pass rate, and are rated No. 1 in England for overall success on full-time courses. Our campaign delivered the following results:

  • Student enrolment up by 19%
  • Campaign returned £21 for every £1 spent
  • 16% increase in open day attendance
  • 24% increase in website traffic
  • Facebook likes up by 387%
Harlow College Poster

After speaking to a number of agencies we selected Mackman for the project as we felt that they understood our requirements, had the breadth of services required and could add a fresh approach. The team were enthusiastic and worked hard to bring the project in on time and budget.

The strategic approach and initial market research helped to produce a well integrated campaign which generated widespread interest. We were impressed by the final campaign. We would highly recommend Mackman Research for market research and creative campaigns.

Simon Boyce, Head of Marketing – Harlow College