With its Guide to Canadian Universities, Best Professional Schools guide, annual university student issue and OnCampus website, Maclean’s pretty much owns the higher education category in Canada. On Oct. 22, the venerable newsweekly will build on this strength by hosting its first-ever virtual campus fair. Like a traditional campus fair, prospective university and college students will have the opportunity to listen to speakers, visit booths, speak with representatives from various campuses and collect information packages. Unlike a traditional campus fair, the Maclean’s OnCampus Virtual Fair will take place entirely on the Web.
The event is free to registrants. The lead-generation business model will give participating schools access to information—such as name, e-mail address, postal code, school attending and grade point average—from participants who visit their booth. Tony Keller, manager of special projects for Maclean’s, says he expects “dozens and dozens” of schools to buy booths. The event will be archived for 90 days, allowing registrants to access it at their leisure.
This isn’t the first foray into online trade shows and conferencing for parent company Rogers Publishing Ltd. Canadian Business Online has been hosting online events for about three years, beginning with an MBA conference in November 2006. “They are very profitable and we are committed to continue doing them,” says Kim Machado, general manager for Canadian Business Online. “They’ve been a great extension for us and it’s enabled us to get into a new revenue area.” (In the upcoming Sept/Oct issue of Masthead, we take a closer look at CB’s success in this market in a new front-of-book feature called Beyond Print.)
Like CB, Maclean’s will host its event using software provided by Unisfair, a Menlo Park, CA-based company that specializes in virtual trade shows and events.
To advertise and publicize the fair, Maclean’s has partnered with media group Youth Culture, publisher of Vervegirl and Fuel magazines. “They reach so many students because they are in every high school and guidance counselor’s office so it’s a great way to get the message out there,” says Keller. The event will also be promoted through weekly and monthly newsletters, in Maclean’s, on Macleans.ca and on the website Topuniversities.com, run by The London Times newspaper.
In another online initiative, a Student Finance 101 section has been added to the OnCampus site, which receives about 300,000 page views per month, according to Keller. Sponsored by BMO Bank of Montreal, the feature offers information about money, personal finances and careers to high school, university and college students and recent grads.