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Southwestern Michigan College (SMC) is a two-year college offering 42 associate’s degrees, certificates in 19 disciplines, as well as bachelor’s degrees through a partnership with Ferris State University. Located near the Michigan/Indiana border, SMC is one of the few two-year institutions offering and a more robust college experience, including dorm rooms, for students outside of SMC’s 50-mile commuting distance.

Southwestern Michigan College Client Profile

SMC is recognized for strong academic standards and preparing graduates for continuing education or job preparation. Small class sizes, engaged and accessible faculty members, ‘bigger college feel’ and magnet programs for degrees like nursing have consistently drawn students to start their academic careers at SMC.

A declining target population combined with a strong competition for skilled and unskilled labor strongly influenced an already-competitive environment with several nearby competing colleges.


Collaborating with SMC, ddm crafted a strategy built on promoting SMC’s leading attributes of strong academics, student preparedness and a on-campus college atmosphere that not all schools could match. In addition, SMC was positioned as a smart financial option for students who may have a perceived stigma associated with a ‘community college.’

Working resourcefully with a limited budget, ddm developed a messaging platform that appealed to both potential incoming traditional students as well as adults seeking to improve their skills.

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