Table of Contents

Executive Summary..................................................................................................................................................................1 Product Definition ....................................................................................................................................................................1 Core Benefit...............................................................................................................................................................................2 Cost Analysis ................................................................................................................................................................................2 Direct Cost .................................................................................................................................................................................2 Indirect Cost..............................................................................................................................................................................3 Relative Cost compared to RPI Engineering alone... .................................................................................................3 Customer Analysis ....................................................................................................................................................................4 Narrative .....................................................................................................................................................................................6 Competing Product Analysis ...............................................................................................................................................7 Situating the Product ..............................................................................................................................................................8 Consumer Needs.....................................................................................................................................................................8 Consumer Identity..................................................................................................................................................................9 Product Life Span................................................................................................................................................................. 10 Usage Patterns...................................................................................................................................................................... 10 Branding Strategies .............................................................................................................................................................. 10 Branding Objectives ........................................................................................................................................................... 10 Characterizing the Brand .................................................................................................................................................. 11 Brand Barriers ........................................................................................................................................................................ 11 Brand Reception and Implementation Strategy...................................................................................................... 11 Marketing Strategies ............................................................................................................................................................ 12 Marketing Objectives ......................................................................................................................................................... 12 Target Market ........................................................................................................................................................................ 12 Offering.................................................................................................................................................................................... 13 Pricing....................................................................................................................................................................................... 13 Communication.................................................................................................................................................................... 13 Advertising ............................................................................................................................................................................. 15 Feedback from Consumers .............................................................................................................................................. 16 Appendix .................................................................................................................................................................................... 17

Executive Summary
For years, students in Programs in Design and Innovation have been accepting the challenges current issues have presented them with. It is a rare occasion that the students have the opportunity to address the issue of their own program. While PDI is not widely known, it is a program which adds new dimensions to Rensselaer’s education. A vital source of growth for this program lies in its members. There is a constant need for fresh minds. These are students who can shape the program with the constant development of original ideas and out-of-the-box thinking. This report aims to focus on the concepts necessary to approach these potential members, and how a reimaging of PDI can add diversity to our population, but evolve the program itself. The most predominant aspect of the program which we present is how the program is layered. There are many components to the program. This is a characteristic which can be seen by the variety occurring between each of the studios. The underlining purpose of this report is to convey which methods PDI can employ to show this to prospective students. Discovering what would be the most effective method starts off by defining exactly what PDI is, and what it could mean for potential candidates.

Product Definition
PDI, or Programs in Design and Innovation, is a design program that connects interdisciplinary students in a series of structured design studios. These studios give students hands on training to utilize multiple skills to solve design problems. These design problems can be either technological, social, or a combination of both. Each studio has its own focus that ultimately allows the student to explore the entire spectrum of those design problems. The first studio focuses on interdisciplinary team-based problem-finding and solving, communication and visualization, sketching, model-making, and an introduction to the

product development processes. The second goes deeper into design and analysis for manufacturing, tolerance, prototyping, product production, shipping, and marketing. The third one focuses on form, aesthetics, user centered design, and industrial design. The fifth takes a close look at designing for child users and their needs. The sixth introduces the idea of organization and marketing systems for products. The studios all culminate in a final project that requires the use of most, if not all, the skills learnt previously. These skills create a better-rounded technical student, as compared to normal technical programs. Skills that can be highlighted include teamwork, presentation skills, problem finding and solving, technical applications, social awareness, and innovation. In today’s competitive job market, PDI students stand out from the rest of the technical crowd.

Core Benefit
PDI creates unique professionals that solve socially responsible design problems effectively as individuals and as interdisciplinary team-players. Reinforcing the concept of how the program has layers, we proclaim that because of this, the program also creates multilayered people. The core benefit to the direct user would result in sequentially obtained personal skills. The few most important ones we discussed as being unique professionals and team players. Despite this, the overarching benefit of the program is to successfully learn the inner workings of the current societal system and how that influences the student as a designer and problem solver.

Cost Analysis
Direct Cost
The cost of this particular product, not only the PDI program but a Rensselaer undergraduate degree in general, is valued at $43,000 per year for base tuition. FAFSA and other scholarships usually provide a discount somewhere in the range of +/- $25,000 per year. Room and board for the school are estimated around $12,000 per year, which will typically be

for at least two years (students must live on campus until junior year). Rensselaer also requires that every student has a laptop for completing the various courses over the four year curriculum, adding around $1,500, whether the student opts to purchase the school’s package or buys their own.]

Indirect Cost
While there are a few, very high direct costs to this product, there are also many smaller, indirect costs that drive up the total value of the undergraduate education package. The first is travel to and from campus, this mainly applies if the student chooses to live somewhere off campus that requires paid transportation either by car or other means. Food is another indirect cost, as the student, if living on campus, will have to purchase a meal plan, or if they’re living off campus, will have to buy groceries and take-out, all of which can add significant costs. Some other indirect costs are everyday items the student will have to account for are housing supplies, whether for living in a dorm or apartment/house, and school supplies for the things needed in each different course. Books are another sizeable indirect cost, as the student needs to purchase new ones every semester for each course, typically adding anywhere from $500-$2,000 to overall cost, depending on whether the books are purchased new, used, or borrowed. Software also can add indirect cost, when required for courses and isn’t available for free.

Relative Cost compared to RPI Engineering alone...
Considering the PDI program specifically out of the entire product of the undergraduate education, there are few costs associated with the program. The program can be added as a dual major for no addition cost whatsoever. This allows the student to maintain their main degree while adding a new component, which maintains job possibilities and the core degree of what the student intends to leave RPI with. The PDI program also does not extend the amount of time the student will have to be at RPI, preventing any cost from 5th year requirements. The PDI dual also adds more value in terms of skillset and making the

student a diverse candidate for job opportunities, with no added cost in terms of the program itself.

Customer Analysis
Our direct customer is a student who is an incoming freshman, so it is certain they will be attending RPI for whatever degree they choose. Our indirect customers vary, including parents, alumni, other students (friends of the student), academic advisors, professors, and coaches/teammates. To analyze our direct customer, we have broken down the student into many several informational components to describe the typical customer we are targeting. Geography Most incoming Rensselaer students will be from various states around the United States, but there are also a wide variety of foreign students that attend the school but are from somewhere abroad. In terms of the PDI program itself, there are no specific geography parameters for our targeting; it is open to all students attending RPI. Demographic Again with this component, the PDI program is not aimed at targeting specific student demographics, but is rather targeting students who are open minded and self-motivated. While English is the primary language used in the studios (like RPI in general), if a language barrier was an issue with an interested student it would be solved on a case by case basis. Psychographic and Behavioral There are many characteristics that make an exceptional PDI student, but there are some that are essential, such as willingness to take on a challenge being creative in all facets of the student’s life, whether academic, work, or personal.

The student, having been accepted into RPI, must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent education, and have an existing portfolio of demonstrations of the student’s creativity and prior skills. The portfolio is treated as another component to the recruiting process; in creating their portfolio, the student analyzes their prior skills, how they can improve them, and whether the program is right for them; are they willing to take on the challenge of enhancing those skills? The student and that student’s parents (indirect customers) will also have to recognize that their education in general will most likely require loans and federal aid, which in many cases will have to be paid within a set amount of years. A component which our marketing campaign should instill in the student is that while the PDI program revolves around different types of design and the field in general, it can be applied to any situation in any career field; being a designer is not only possessing a certain skillset, it’s a way of thinking. This broad usage capability can directly influence the student’s other coursework as well, allowing that student to approach typical problems in atypical ways, such as a designer would. Consumer Decision Time The aim of this marketing plan is to find students who will be interested in the program early, so they can begin the PDI curriculum as soon as possible. The reason for this is because there is about a two year window (two year maximum) where the student can feasibly transfer into the program. After this point though, there is too much coursework added for the typical student to graduate on time, so interested students should make their decision to join the program before sophomore year. Some though, take less than two weeks to find the program and enroll in their first studio. Much of the marketing for the program up until this point has been by word of mouth or through the program’s website, so interested students are encouraged to sit in on a studio to experience what it’s really like. This can be a deciding factor for students, and for many that may still have questions or concerns about the program, experiencing the studio for themselves can influence that student to join the program.

The website also acts as a useful vehicle for conveying the program to interested students during the summer months, before they’re able to see the studio in person.

Narrative
The ideal consumer would be a student who has recently enrolled at RPI for a technical major. They appreciate the solidity of their major, but they seek an outlet for their creativeness and wish to apply their technical skills throughout their education. This student might also want to obtain teamwork skills in a positive and sociable environment. Combined with the need to obtain other similar skills, overall the student has an interest in innovation and helping others. Sarah Sarah is a second semester freshman at RPI, and studying EMAC. She is from California, and therefore hasn’t had much of an opportunity to hear about the PDI program. Though EMAC is an interesting major, she feels that she isn’t getting the well-rounded education she originally sought out. To fill that void, she seeks a structured education which will allow her to express more of her creativity. Taking part in this other education will help her achieve her overall goal of eventually having a rewarding career in New York City. Joe Joe is an incoming freshman at RPI. He decided to attend RPI and study Mechanical Engineering because of the cored education and career opportunities it provides. He has always been interested in different forms of design and architecture, especially green and sustainable building design. In his local area, green building is on the forefront of current issues, and so upon arrival at RPI, he is still thinking about that area of interest too. He finally decided upon Mechanical Engineering though, because it provided more technical skills in math and sciences, and in his mind, would earn a better job later down the road. At open house however, Joe discovered the PDI

program, which would allow him to continue his pursuit of his engineering degree while also learning in design, and better yet, design based upon environmental and social issues.

Competing Product Analysis
At RPI there are not many programs that are truly similar to PDI. It is genuinely unique in Rensselaer’s curriculum. The closest competing programs are Information Technology and Web Science (ITWS) and Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS). These are both dual major programs like PDI and similarly, both ITWS and GSAS require a core concentration in a technical field. The difference lies within the program itself. ITWS does not deal with design much at all, but rather focuses on technology and the application of that technology. It focuses on areas like computers, and business analysis. GSAS has a little bit more of a design focus, but it is limited to game design only. Unlike PDI it does not go in to depth analysis of universal design. PDI takes into account a large scope of design and really delves deep into the individual aspects and areas encompassing the design process. GSAS in contrast goes deep into game theory design and emphasizes a different kind of product being designed. Almost exclusively digital, GSAS is a major that can rely heavily on computer science or graphic design. Other than dual majors, PDI does also compete with other single majors offered at RPI, most notably Architecture. Architecture at RPI is a very prestigious and sought after program. It is set up in a studio style similar to PDI, and has a similar focus on design. Because of this students can actually substitute Architecture Studio I with PDI Studio I, which goes to show how truly similar they can be. The distinction of the two lies within what is being designed. Architecture is a very clear discipline and focuses more on the artistic and aesthetic design of buildings and structures. It lacks the interdisciplinary spirit of PDI, where multiple majors can collaborate throughout the design process. In addition it is also a 5 year program that requires special admission, which is rarely if ever granted to a student looking to change majors. Because of this, PDI does not typically lose students to Architecture; instead it usually gains those that drop out of the program.

It can also be considered that PDI is in competition with its common dual majors like Mechanical Engineering, Management, and Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication (EMAC). Many seeking these majors do not realize there is another option where they can keep their current major and supplement it with a DSIS second major. These single majors systematically lack design, interdisciplinary teamwork, professional skills, and innovation which the PDI program can offer. All of the competitors mentioned above lack one more critical thing that the PDI program offers, a critical world view. DSIS is a part of the Science Technology and Society (STS) department, and through this PDI students get exposed to a well-rounded world view and an in depth look at society. The program really emphasizes designing for a better society, and in order to do that, students must first research and explore society as it is now. This aspect of PDI really emphasizes how technology and design interacts with the world and society.

Situating the Product
From the comparison of these other programs, we were able to shed light on who precisely the consumer is, and predict what their initial interactions with the product will be. The first analysis was done on the needs of that consumer.

Consumer Needs
In creating a list of needs, it was discovered that even though the consumer has many needs, this is ultimately what the program provides for them. In addition to this, the needs are sectioned into categories to enhance the understanding of each one. Ultimately, the prospective student may or may not be conscious of them when applying to the program, but one overall need based on all of these is for the student to recognize what is needed from them as well. PDI has the ability to show the student their identity as well as satisfy these crucial needs.

Social Needs The student will most likely have the need to create innovative design for users and team members. On top of this, they will need to translate and effectively communicate project information between those team members. Ultimately, they have the need to learn how to collaborate with people with different skill sets. Learning Design Needs Focusing specifically on the curriculum, one need the student may have in that area would be to learn the inner workings of user interface and how it pertains to each issue.

Personal Needs There will be strictly personal needs, if that student doesn’t consider all the other needs to be personal as well. However, there might be a strong need to express creativity in a structured environment. Professional Needs A few professional needs the candidate may apply with can include the need for a multifunctional degree and career aspirations or the need to thrive in a worthwhile career of the student’s choosing. In the end, the bottom line of these needs is the need to obtain professional skills.

Consumer Identity
After college is when these skills will be essential to a career or everyday life. One consistent skill is a wide variety of social skills. This includes using an understanding of interface and design to assess many types of situations. These situations pertain to societal issues, product design issues, and engineering issues. Learning these crucial concepts will distinguish the student from their engineering

peers. It will shape how the student will think in a real job situation and how they respond to challenges.

Product Life Span
These skills will be taken everywhere and applied to various situations. Its benefit will increase over time, as we come into contact with new ideas, methods or products. The program and its degree is a fundamental education, and will remain, to some extent, for a lifetime with the student. Core benefits from the degree will remain, and will combine with experience obtained in post-graduate career.

Usage Patterns
As an undergraduate, PDI will act as training, a place to experiment with your identity as a designer and which methods work best when collaborating with peers. After college, it will mainly be used in a workplace or further education to serve to teach others what you have learned and help give a new perspective on certain issues or problems. It’s a designer's way of thinking and can affect most facets of the consumer’s life and the way they view the world.

Branding Strategies
Branding Objectives
The objective we need our branding strategy to achieve is to induce enough interest in the student to have them explore and research more about the program. While this is the basic need, having the student pursue applying to the program would be the ultimate goal.

Characterizing the Brand
Ideally, the PDI Program would be associated with these terms: Creativity , Collaboration, Professionalism, Debating, Discussion, Interpretation, Unique, Community , Motivation, Outside of the Box, Poster Wall/Pin-Up Critiques, Innovation, Design, Paige, Intriguing, Chic, New.

Brand Barriers
Currently, there are a few things that are stopping the PDI Program from reaching its full reach. One major problem is that there is a lack of defined knowledge about the program outside of its walls. Most people do not know about it in the first place, and since there is a lack of definition about the program by current students and faculty (including outside of the School of HASS), there is misinformation going out to potential students. Some examples of misinformation might include that it is too easy, or that it no longer exists, or that it is the same as Industrial Design. This all might be due to the fact that the PDI Program cannot necessarily be boiled down into one discipline, as well as some feel it is lacking design merit and is misplaced at a technical school. It is important to properly inform so that the majority believe that the PDI Program is a valuable asset to the school.

Brand Reception and Implementation Strategy
The brand should spark a curiosity in the consumer. At first, they might be confused on what the definition of the program actually is, but hopefully, with more research, a personal and unique perspective on the program will form. Each piece of the marketing campaign will serve to project one core idea and meaning, but will utilize their different forms to accomplish this in various ways. In a way, our goal is to utilize Guerilla Marketing Strategies in order to help the students gain the perspectives previously mentioned.

Marketing Strategies
Marketing Objectives
The ultimate goal of marketing the program is to get more students involved and participating in the program. With an increase in students and their versatility, the program will be able to grow and reach new heights for students’ future careers and the people they will help. In sight of this, we plan to reach out to students who are recently enrolled at RPI for a technical major. This might be students in student orientation, or those still at home preparing for their first year. PDI is currently misunderstood by most and isn’t portrayed to have multiple benefits. With this understanding, we plan to show the many perspectives and benefits one can have with PDI. Using a variety of outlets for our advertising, we will be able to show each part of PDI and ultimately how they fit together to form a solid education. Once the students have been exposed to enough perspectives, we hope to lead them directly to the PDI website. This will in turn encourage them to talk to PDI advocates about the program and assess whether or not they would like to apply. In terms of numbers, it might be best described in percentages. From first encounters with the advertisements, it is hoped to return about 60% of people to research or inquire. Afterwards, 30% might talk to someone about the PDI program, and maybe 15% will apply.

Target Market
We are targeting students coming into or already attending RPI. Within this group we can specifically target engineering students, another other specific majors differently. Overall though we aim to market to all of RPI incoming students so they are more informed about the program.

Offering
We will highlight the innovative design aspect of PDI, as well as portray it as a creative and unique experience. These aspects of PDI accurately describe the program in a positive and attractive manner to potential students. We can also touch upon the after graduation opportunities that it opens up. We want to communicate this message as a different and eye catching way through guerilla marketing.

Pricing
We will refer to costs within our promotional material. Specifically, we will include the cost of RPI itself, as well as the cost of taking classes individually. The reason why is because we want to stress that taking the PDI program is like adding another major in for free. Although the interested party is taking a hit time commitment-wise, they are able to gain a multitude of important professional and creative skills at no extra cost to their tuition, which makes the program more appealing. We are going to stress this point through showing how many classes and skills are to be earned through taking the dual.

Communication
Talking points It is important to realize that although the initial decision is up to the students, the financial responsibilities lie with the parents. These talking points are applicable for both the parents and the students: ● value the program adds to child’s degree ● new job opportunities in more varied fields will be available upon graduation ● the program is acquired by no extra cost to tuition ● the new practical skills the student acquires through in-class presentations and teamwork

Public Relations

Press- The Polytechnic school newspaper would be the most likely media outlet to write a story about the program. The news hook would pertain to how the PDI program is allowing students to look at new and innovative firms for jobs after college. This hook would allow the program to get much more interest through a media outlet, attracting students with the idea of appealing to other companies that wouldn’t previously consider them.

Program Reviews- Any college resource site like collegeprowler.com or other sites such as this would likely include a review of the program if it were more widely publicized. Even though we are marketing for incoming freshmen, exposure to information on sites like this before declaring a major or starting classes would work to attract more students early.

Prosumers- “Prosumers” will work to play a direct role in promoting the product are students who are in the program as freshmen, and spread information to their friends by word of mouth. This is an area that the PDI program is fairly well versed in. They also play in an indirect role when students are informed through word of mouth by someone who was previously informed by the original consumer (student).

Blogging & Social Networking- There are dozens of large blog and sites that foster natural conversations about innovative areas of design. These sites could easily be used to increase awareness and overall interest in the PDI program, which would include incoming freshmen if they were actively viewing these site outlets. The RPI Reddit site is also very active, and would be a key place for promoting the program as well. Asking current students to post about their experiences on these platforms would help to get the conversation rolling, and optimally they would receive comments and concerns from other users, helping to begin a real discussion about the program.

Advertising
The following are advertising channels that would most effectively “sell” the PDI Program to potential candidates: Newspapers The main newspaper which would house some of the advertising would be the polytechnic. Students who are interested in events going on around campus might be more inclined to read about current events in PDI. Magazines The Rensselaer magazine it filtered through students as well as families of the students. Consumers may read about PDI here, and therefore try and advertise it to the direct consumer. Internet Updating the PDI/DIS website would be one of the more beneficial outlets to advertising. By having a more prominent website, relaying potential consumers to that web location will serve as a helpful resource to their understanding and interest in the program. Exhibits and Events Potential events would include the activities fair, student orientation or possibly student events such as those in athletics. Sponsorship of Events If this is negotiable, this would be one of the more beneficial outlets for the branding and advertising.

Of these options, the priority would weigh heavily on the internet. The website could be used as a virtual space, and should be updated. Updating the website and reaching out to students that way will be crucial in the plan. Similar to the Internet, we can advertise through the physical mediums of newspapers and magazines, and we would target using the school newspaper, and the Rensselaer Alumni Magazine. In terms of physical venues, the “showfloor” at EMPAC during Student Orientation is a great place to promote the program while the new students are coming in. Possibly, booking a room to have an official presentation would be very beneficial.

Feedback from Consumers
The most direct data that would prove our marketing strategies to be effective would be the increase in student applications to the program. Other indirect ways would be the increase in diversity, and design talent that comes to the program after the implementation of our advertising. Some ways to collect this data would be an online application, where the computer will track how many applicants there are each semester and how many were accepted or rejected. Other techniques could include surveys on how applicants found out about the program or a more intrusive method where the people who see the advertisements are automatically counted electronically. One way to do this is to use an online program where the numbers of visits to the website are counted.

Appendix
A. Brochure

B. Space Ad

C. Press Release