Posts tagged Personalized URLs

Personalized Marketing: What You Need to Know!

Personalized Marketing

162819605 250x166 Personalized Marketing: What You Need to Know!Nowadays, life is flying by us all so fast. So many companies, advertisements, and messages – it’s difficult to keep up. However, if companies and organizations knew how to reach the consumer on a personal level, people actually pay attention. You might have the exact product or service a customer desires, but if you do not appeal to their senses and emotions, they may never know it. If you learn to direct your marketing efforts in such a way that creates a spark, even if only briefly, you can create something that grabs a person’s attention enough to focus on your brand. Then, you will have a window of opportunity to take them further into your own brand and connect their emotions and senses to what you have to offer.

Personalized E-Mails

Did you know that “61% of consumers feel more positive about a brand if personalized marketing is used”? When a consumer receives an e-mail related to something they were recently researching they are more likely to engage in that email. For example, if a consumer visited a college website and signed up for courses, they may get an e-mail about purchasing textbook for a discount. They need textbooks and you’ve made it easier for the student to reach the ultimate goal of gaining an education.

SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.

Mass Marketing

Nearly half (44%) of all consumers are less responsive to non-personalized messages. Think for just a moment: if you receive a marketing piece from a brand you have had a personal experience with, and the piece references your experience, you are more likely to engage that brand than if you receive a mass marketing piece from a brand you have never engaged with.

SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.

Personalized Discounts

More than half (53%) of all consumers are very likely to purchase something from a company when a brand personalizes marketing through digital communications. If you’ve been shopping at a particular store and you give them your contact information, they will send you coupons to entice your return. You’ve already been there, so chances are, you’ll be back again.

SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.

Maybe a consumer will get a personalized marketing message that directs them to a website that includes their name in the web address. (Personalized URLs also known as PURLS.) People absolutely love to see their name in lights and companies are well aware of the power of this personalized marketing technique that’s becoming increasingly more popular. Is your company privy to the newest personalized marketing platforms?

From Mail Print’s perspective when we send highly personalized marketing pieces from our company our phones ring the week following the delivery of that mail piece at a rate 25% more than normal.

Brand Trust

If a consumer trusts you, they probably love your company, brand, and products or services and may not even know it. Gain their trust and you will likely gain their business. Are you aware that more than half (52%) of all consumers trust brands that enable them to share their marketing preferences more than brands that do not?

If you can put yourself and your company in your target market’s shoes, then you will know exactly what to create and what to avoid. You will save precious time and lots of money also. It’s a marketers dream. Consumers need to trust your brand, know your logo, and feel good about what you offer to them. If you can accomplish all of that, everything else is cake.

SOURCE:Steve Olenski, What Jaws, Brand Managers and Consumers Have in Common.

Mail Print Expands Facilities in Kansas City, Missouri

bulldozer 250x187 Mail Print Expands Facilities in Kansas City, Missouri Mail Print, a full-service printing and direct marketing company, is nearly doubling its Kansas City, Missouri facility from 40,000 square feet to 70,000 square feet in the Hunt Midwest Subtropolis located in the northeast region of Kansas City. The expansion is designed to support the merger completed earlier this year with Graphic Services Printing and L & L Manufacturing. The firm said its expansion includes a significant investment in equipment and technology and plans to create over 40 full-time jobs.

“We are excited about the future of print and integrated direct marketing services. The merger and addition of Larry Wittmeyer to our ownership group shows our commitment to growth and the future. ”Gina M. Danner, company CEO goes on to share, “Many people think that print is dead, but our experience shows that when print is integrated with online efforts like email, video, mobile and social media, organizations are able to drive more prospect and customer engagement. We know that when done right, integrated direct marketing makes our customers money.”

The state’s Department of Economic Development assisted Mail Print with its expansion plan, the Department of Economic Development and the City of Kansas City authorized a strategic economic incentive package that the company can receive if it meets strict job creation and investment criteria.

Larry Wittmeyer, Vice President of Manufacturing at Mail Print goes on to say, “The EDC and Hunt Midwest were both instrumental in helping us navigate through the expansion plan. We are very excited to participate in the growth of our community.”

Expansion and reinvestment are not new to the company. In 2012 Mail Print underwent a $3 million round of equipment and technology investment and is looking at an investment round this year of similar size. Wittmeyer shares the vision, “Our goal is to create a leading edge organization that redefines the printed page in this region. By building on the vision set forth over the last 25 years by the Danner family, we are creating a company that drives customer engagement and delivers value to clients and team members.”

Mail Print is owned by Eric C. Danner, Gina M. Danner and Larry Wittmeyer, and today employs 90 team members.

About Mail Print

Mail Print specializes in the execution and delivery of complex, data-driven multi-channel direct marketing. Mail Print is a premier partner and test site for a number of equipment manufacturers and a variety of software providers. The company is also an industry leader in the latest direct marketing technologies, including Variable Data Printing, Personalized URLs, Web-to-Print and Print Automation workflows. Mail Print owns and operates a state of the art integrated technology and production facility and has served the direct mail and printing needs of the Midwest for over 25 years.

 

Stick to Direct Marketing Principles and Increase your R.O.I.

146899919 250x314 Stick to Direct Marketing Principles and Increase your R.O.I.Profitability Isn’t a Guessing Game

Its vital that you have a certainty in numbers through response rates and return on investment estimations when investing in a marketing strategy. You cannot calculate response rates by using the internet to send out SPAM, create advertisements, or create hash tags on Twitter. Sure, these methods of indirect marketing work, but there’s really no way to tell how well they actually drive revenue.

When you have the correct percentages on how well a particular form of direct marketing actually works through response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns, then you will know who to target, and who not to target. Why waste money and time sending out fliers and catalogs to those who will never purchase anything from you.

Time is Money

Time is money, and there may be some really cheap or even free forms of advertising available, but even that is wasting you money if it’s not reaching the right people. When you have lists of who to target, you’ll be more confident in sending out and receiving various forms of direct marketing.

You must communicate directly to the consumer and engage them emotionally. If you aren’t giving them a good reason to donate to your non-profit organization, or if they don’t ‘feel’ like they are getting something out of switching from another company to yours, then you have wasted your time as well as theirs.

Types of Direct Marketing

Let’s review those direct marketing principles that can be measured in order to receive an abundance of response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns:

  • Cell Phone Text Messaging – This type isn’t as ‘direct’, but you will be able to calculate your return on investment because of who uses the promotion or coupon when they tell you they are using the coupon from their cell phone.
  • E-Mail - Generating e-mail lists is simple with a great web site. When you know how many e-mail addresses you are targeting, then you will know who is buying and who isn’t.
  • Fliers – small fliers that have specific information listed on them that is personalized to each individual and sent to their homes is more powerful than general fliers that are sent out to everyone in a particular community or city.
  • Catalog Distribution – Once again, with catalogs, you are sending them out to those target customers, and if they order, you can calculate the percentage of people that are purchasing versus those who aren’t.
  • Personalized URL’s - Normally we wouldn’t admonish our clients to use personalized URL’s, but they are obtaining momentum and can be used as a direct marketing tool. Using a potential clients name as a response channel on a direct mail piece that takes them to a specific landing page will create curiosity and cause them to click on it because they see their names.

Everyone has a preference when it comes to purchasing materials and services. Colleges send out a variety of advertisements, but they can easily cut costs by using our tried and true methods of calculating response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns. Some students will never pay attention to mail they receive, but they just might be wiling to open it if it’s a simple flier or a promotional letter.

A direct advertising campaign that is executed correctly with a concise call to action can guarantee a positive return on investment. Why invest in indirect marketing whether it’s the time you spend on Facebook or Twitter, or the money you spend on hiring someone to do it for you? Only invest in those techniques that provide a serious return on your investment.

Get Your Message Across the Right Way – Print that Makes Sense

166578139 250x182 Get Your Message Across the Right Way   Print that Makes SenseYou may be questioning your general approach to your print marketing campaigns in light of the fact that there are so many new ways consumers are being bombarded with information. Response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns are proving cross-media is not only successful but measurable meaning you can benefit from print in a traditional way by adding the benefits of personalized marketing in less traditional ways.
Personalized marketing campaigns are seeing solid results compared to standard, flat or static campaigns. Response of cross-media marketing campaigns are successful as they combine online and offline marketing. This allows you to use an initial small response rate to eventually drive a higher response.
By speaking to your audience numerous times in numerous ways allows you to maintain contact and remain top of mind. You are using repetition in a more innocuous way because the consumer is not being hit over the head with the exact same method. Cross-media marketing offers a constant reminder using direct marketing to invite the consumer to visit your website with a personalized URL that leads them to personalized information and messaging tailored directly to them.
This is far more valuable than a general message that may or may not apply to them. A personalized survey can then collect information that is saved in a general customer data base that alerts your sales team via email that a potential client is on the radar screen. They then have a legitimate reason to contact the lead with good background to get things started. At the same time, the information is tracked and stored for future CRM use in your system.
Response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns continue to show solid results. An analysis done by MindFireInc of 1,856 cross media campaigns in 30 cross vertical markets showed that an average visit rate of 6.5 percent and an average response rate of 4.5 percent. Results for some markets included:

  • Education: 3.3 percent visit rate and a 2.1 percent response rate
  • Non-profit: 5.3 percent visit rate and 3.5 percent response rate
  • Financial: 4.6 percent  visit rate and 3.1 percent response rate
  • Insurance: 5.6 percent vist rate and 3.6 percent response rate
  • Arts, Media and Entertainment: 7.3 percent visit rate and  5.9 response rate

As you can see despite the varying vertical markets the response rates of cross-marketing media show solid results. The visit rate also demonstrates the opportunity to collect information for future CRM campaigns.
Marketing firm Epsilon Targeting found that 6 out of 10 Americans preferred to get information via direct mail. Response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns demonstrate success and direct mail plays a role. The findings of Epsilon detailed that regardless of preference through email or post, the reason people enjoyed either was due to the ability to refer back to the info when convenient. However, of those citing this reason 73 percent were pro postal versus 45 percent for email. This means that direct mail as an initial contact will impact the response rates of cross-media marketing campaigns in a positive manner. Further proof of this was reflected in these findings:

  • 62 percent enjoy checking their mail box for mail
  • 59 percent enjoy getting mail about new services and products
  • 73 percent found they were getting email they never open
  • 67 percent said they get too many emails each day

Cross-media marketing campaigns are making marked progress in customer response compared to traditional means. Cross-media marketing also allows you to use the response rates of cross-marketing media as a way of saving money for future print campaigns by allowing you to focus only on those with proven interest.

 

VDP Allows Bridal Service Companies and Brides to Get Personal

When Savvi Formalwear, a group of 35 independent formal wear retailers, wanted to connect with more soon-to-be brides, it chose the print and digital trifecta — direct mail, email and personalized landing pages.

All of Savvi Formalwear’s direct mail pieces were personalized using variable data printing (VDP), with coupons or incentives such as the two free airline tickets shown in the postcard in this post and a PURL that drives brides to a landing page with a store locator and Savvi Formalwear branding.

Savvi Formalwear is using the campaign to capture more of the $1 billion formal wear industry, that like other industries, has suffered because of the 2009-2011 recession.

wedding VDP Allows Bridal Service Companies and Brides to Get Personal

 

Not coincidentally the majority of Savvi Formalwear stores are located on the west coast where nearly 20% of the formal wear transactions occur. In these 35 stores, Savvi Formalwear is trying to lure as many of the two million brides that get married every year to their stores and services as possible.

SOURCE: IBIS World Report, Formal Wear and Costume Rental in the U.S., May 2012

 

pam VDP Allows Bridal Service Companies and Brides to Get Personal

 

Savvi Formalwear’s campaign, named SavviOne, included weekly mail drops across the U.S. and Canada to promote formal wear to couples planning their weddings. Using the power of personalization, Savvi Formalwear significantly increased the engagement and conversions in its multi-channel promotional campaign, according to Mark Morrow, president of Savvi Formalwear.

SOURCE: Case Studies, www.montagedigital.com

Bride Puts Money Toward Print Pieces Not Cake or Dress

While most brides can spend the majority of their wedding budget on elaborate centerpieces, cakes and designer dresses, bride Robin Nelson, who works in the printing industry, invested her wedding dollars in a cross-media wedding campaign.

Nelson used XMPie solutions to personalize each piece of her wedding communications from engagement announcements to her wedding invitations which included QR Codes®*

Nelson said the campaign enabled her to gather more information about each of her guests to organizing the wedding to taking advantage of technologies that count RSVPs and help brides budget for dinner, drinks, the rehearsal dinner and after-ceremony reception.

SOURCE: “Happily Ever After: A Cross-Media Wedding Campaign” by Robin Nelson, XMPie Blog, Oct. 12, 2011

invitations VDP Allows Bridal Service Companies and Brides to Get Personal

 

 

 

With the use of variable data printing, there was no confusion on head count at Nelson’s wedding. Nelson attributes this to her guests who updated their RURL (Response URL also called PURL for personalized URL) especially in regards to how many children who would be coming with them).

The information Nelson got from her guests through the landing page they responded to allowed her to stay within budget, update her guest list and create a seating chart.

Nelson also downloaded the XMPie Marketing Console iPhone app that allowed her to provide final head counts and meal preferences to her caterer and vendors through report on-the-fly report technology.

So while some brides like the visual trimmings (cakes, bridesmaid’s gifts, etc.), savvy brides are tapping into VDP and digital technology to make their wedding planning less stressful and more personalized to all involved.

*QR Codes are a registered trademark of Denso Wave.

 

Customer Experience Soars from 20,000 Feet

plane Customer Experience Soars from 20,000 FeetAir New Zealand started in the ‘70s but is not stuck in the ‘70s. It knows batch and blast emails are a thing of the past. Instead of sending generic emails about promotions, it sends automated, personalized emails prior to, and upon return, of each of their customer’s flights.

Air New Zealand transformed its entire business in 2004 when if firmly placed the customer at the front of all its processes. The airline started from the outside and worked its way in by first purchasing new carriers, then lower fares, simplifying booking processes, and then shifting to internet sales and loyalty programs.

Sending Customer Emails of Value

Keeping with the theme of putting its customers in front of all processes, Air New Zealand built a powerful pre-flight reminder campaign. The email contained dynamic content that generated three popular messages that made it both pertinent and engaging. First the email included a personal greeting from and photograph of the actual Air New Zealand flight attendant who would be on the traveler’s specific flight. Many travelers would print out the email and show it to their attendant when boarding the plane.

Secondly, the email recapped the customer’s itinerary and lastly it offered a five-day weather forecast, which helped their customers plan and pack accordingly.

The pre-flight emails had an average open rate of 69 percent and an average click rate of 38 percent. The post-arrival emails had an average unique open rate of 62 percent and an average click rate of 40 percent, according to this Silverpop case study.

Engaging Customers with Humorous Video

Air New Zealand also gained customers, laughs, and massive viral exposure on the web with their series of in-flight instructional videos such as this one featuring Richard Simmons or this one using animation.

The animated video brings the safety pamphlet to life using animated versions of Modern Family’s Ed O’Neill and Melanie Lynskey from Two and Half Men. Making the commitment to regularly change their videos and include new stars and cameos keeps travelers tuned in to the safety message rather than sleeping through it.

The airline won awards for its innovative, quirky, and sometimes risqué videos.

Dynamic ROI through Dynamic Content

I can’t rave about Air New Zealand’s dynamic publishing push in its marketing because I don’t believe it or any domestic airline currently employs variable data printing. However, the possibilities for VDP in airline marketing is ripe.

Airlines could print custom booklets or magazines for all its platinum level members and populate them with articles on their favorite vacation destinations, favorite sports, favorite wines and the like. Imagine the loyalty that could be built by stroking the egos of men and women who fly 200,000 miles a year by handing them a magazine filled with the their name and family member’s names in print as well as content on everything of interest just to them.

How is your company dynamically generating your email and print content? Are you making your content personality rich or is it the equivalent to a fast-food restaurant’s hand washing training video?

 

6 Tips to Make Sure Your Variable Marketing Project Doesn’t Crash and Burn

148132648 250x166 6 Tips to Make Sure Your Variable Marketing Project Doesn’t Crash and BurnIf your business wasn’t part of the early adopters of variable data printing, this blog post is for you. This piece will keep you far from the technical grenades that can burn you if you don’t prepare your database or file correctly for hand off to your variable partner for execution.

Data First, Creative Second

Start with the data, which seems counter intuitive to agency people and small businesses. According to Kristen Miller, of Mail Print’s Client Implementation Team, successful VDP projects begin with data and then move into the creative process.

Ideally you’ll start with an accurate customer or prospect database/mail list. Ideally the dataset has more than name and address, like age, income, presence of children in the home, purchase history, or frequency of purchases.  Next you can decide what you want to communicate and pick which data fields you’re going to drop into your communication to personalize the marketing piece.

Dear {Name}, We hope this note finds you well.  Since you recently bought {Gift #1}, we thought you would be interested in {Gift #2}.

Prospecting vs. Retaining

Often times mailing lists purchased from list providers can be a great solution when you are prospecting for new clients beyond wanting to personalize a piece simply with someone’s first name. If your marketing strategy is to get St. Louis based, women, 40 years old and older, with household incomes of at least $100,000 to come to a plastic surgery seminar, purchasing a list may make sense.

If you are a plastic surgeon who wants to get existing patients to consider a second procedure or new aesthetic service, using your customer data makes sense. Choose your segment and write your marketing copy and select your graphics to truly speak to that particular group of people.

Maximize the Power of Variable

It can be very profitable to build a marketing piece that uses different images, colors, and messages to match the targeted segment.  The true value of variable data printing comes in being able to tailor a piece to engage a particular segment of your target audience.  Simply playing the “name game” is somewhat passé.  Your goal is to create a highly relevant mail piece so the prospect can envision using your product or service in a particular way.

Beware of Capital Letter Land Mines

If you had a single person input your CRM data, you are probably in good shape consistency wise. However, if multiple people in multiple states have added to the database, you may be plagued with names that should be spelled DeAnna, but may appear as Deanna (first letter capped only) or DEANNA, which often happens off purchased mailing lists.

Fixes for Common Field Land Mines

Miller says she sees several other common “field” related problems with the two dozen large variable projects she produces for clients each month. “Some clients will want to address the prospect by the first name, but their data field is set up as a full name field. There is no clean way to segment out Mr. Glenn Smith vs. Glenn Smith versus F. Glenn Smith.”

Rosanne Kirn, who works on Miller’s team, says another common problem occurs with the company field name. If a data entry person has put Sudsy Soap LLC in the company name but the client wants the marketing piece to mail to Sudsy Soap, you have an immediate problem.

The solution is to build an extra field and name it “Pretty Company Name” or “Variable Company Name” and key in the name of the company without all the window dressing of LLC, Inc, etc.

Don’t Send Unneeded Fields in Your File

Variable data projects can quickly come to a screeching halt if too much data is sent – enough to crash a system.

Miller and Kirn once dealt with more than one million data records from a local retailer. This isn’t a huge number of records until you multiply that by the number of fields, (over 1,000 in this case) attached to that record. Then things can get ugly quick.

Miller recommends reviewing your file and only sending the data fields that are needed to produce the marketing piece. This will keep the tab delimited, .CSV, or .TXT file size manageable and prevent unnecessary delays in your project.

Keep Your Marketing Strategy Alive as B2B is Proclaimed Dead

B2B, Business to Business, Business to Consumer, B2C, business, marketingWhen marketing icon Rick Segal argued B2B marketing is “dead” in his speech at a B2B conference in Berlin over a year ago, those in the industry were stunned. How could the president of the global marketing firm gyro make this statement? After all, his entire business of the past 30 years has been founded on business-to-business (B2B) marketing, a concept he’s helped cultivate since 1981.

But if B2B is dead, does this mean businesses will no longer do transactions with each other?

“It’s not that salespeople or sales support have become irrelevant, it’s that so many of the messages they are carrying to the marketplace are humanly irrelevant,” Segal says. “The myth that has been busted is that business decision making is entirely rational. It’s not. It’s exceedingly emotional, and as living, breathing human beings have been empowered with computing and telecommunications technology on their persons, their emotional needs matter more than ever.”

The view of B2B being based on logic and selling to a faceless company is dead; instead, B2B is shifting to be more about selling products to the people in a company, seeing the company as not one uniform entity, but as a being comprised of individuals with individual needs and emotions. Segal’s approach emphasizes tapping into the human need, igniting emotions in the business decision makers, to create effective marketing.

B2B Revived with a B2C Approach

B2C (business-to-consumer) has always focused on the human relevance aspect of marketing, especially understanding testimonial selling, to keep up with a fast-paced market and keep consumers engaged. The B2B world also is moving with network velocity, and to keep its professional consumers engaged, it needs to integrate B2C concepts.

Billy Mitchell, president and senior creative director for B2B marketing agency MLT Creative, believes B2B marketers can gain a lot by utilizing B2C marketing tools, including design standards, production values, storytelling techniques, creativity, and smart examples of social media marketing. So should B2B marketers transform into B2C marketers? Mitchell says no: “I don’t think a company should do that. In fact, they should embrace an enthusiasm and passion for B2B marketing. B2B can be just as creative and engaging as B2C.”

A recent example of engaging B2B with B2C flair was General Electric’s 2012 Super Bowl Ad.  GE boasts, “We make the power that makes the beer.” The commercial speaks to both consumers (the beer lovers) and businesses (the beer brewers), as both benefit from GE’s services. By saying we’re all in this together, GE shows the human relevance to their business.

“B2B marketers can certainly learn from and be inspired by B2C, but they must deeply understand B2B,” Mitchell says. “If you don’t enjoy meeting with your inside and field sales teams, understanding your customers’ businesses and your customers’ customers, etc., you may not belong in B2B marketing.”

B2B + B2C = H2H

The key element in both B2B and B2C marketing is connecting and building relationships with both current and prospective customers. Again, it comes down to selling to a person with a unique face rather than just a company name.

At many social media conferences, Mitchells says the current word is that it’s not about B2B or B2C, it’s about H2H, human-to-human.

“It seems that world-class marketers everywhere have awakened to the fact that, today, we are communicating with living, breathing human beings with aspirations, spirits and emotions,” Segal, president of gyro, says. “We’ve always known that business-to-business, at the end of the day, was person-to-person.”

This is where marketing tools such as direct mail, email, and variable data printing come into play, personalizing messages that will speak on a professional level but include the needs of the individual business buyer. Or perhaps creating pURLs or QR codes designed specifically for the B2B customers, using elements of the ones created for B2C audience but with different elements, which customize the interaction to be specifically B2B.

Or tell a story, like GE’s commercial, showing how our company helps your company helps the customer. By showing how each business positively affects the other, how each contributes to a bigger picture to help the consumer, the focus is on the human aspect, not just making a sale. Combine both B2B and B2C perspectives in your social media content, and your marketing will be more effective.

Segal agrees, “…what the world’s savviest marketers seem to have appreciated quickly is that personalization was the last best practice. No longer is it enough to understand the requirements of a person in a job title to be successful in influencing him to make a purchase consideration. No longer is it enough for an advertising planner to get into the head of a business decision-maker. With the amplified voices and the new organizational empowerment of these humans at work, successful marketers must get into their hearts.”

B2B Reborn

Whether or not you agree B2B is dead, it’s critical to note that the industry and its consumers are changing – and so are their needs.

“Change brings unexpected opportunities. With so many tools now available from B2B marketers, I can’t imagine why any business wouldn’t always be looking for opportunities to improve their marketing,” advises Mitchell. B2B marketers must adapt a “never quit learning, always be testing” mindset to keep up with an industry that never sleeps.

 

Universities Fight, Fight, Fight for Students through Multi-channel Marketing

school, college, stealth, marketing, direct marketing,At 17 Johanna (the daughter of one of our team members) is receiving at least 17 pieces of mail a month. Colleges and universities have her number and want her signature on their enrollment papers.

Postcards, letters, self mailers, and view books are coming in from Ottawa University, Iowa State, Park University, the University of Kansas, Washburn University and even Montana State, all attempting to woo Johanna.

 

Iowa State Tempts Students and Tracks Results

Iowa University’s mailing may look old-fashioned in its #10 window envelope containing a pre-paid return envelope and information request form. However, look closer and you’ll see great bait – The Essential Guide to Finding Your College! It can be Johanna’s by simply going to URL and typing in her easy to track User Name and ID. If she enters this micro-site, she’ll also gain access to a dashboard that allows her to pick the campus activities she might like. Doing so will further arm Iowa State with personal info to use to push Johanna’s buttons in the next touch point or direct mail piece.

Iowa knows from a Cappex study that the most influential recruitment channel is a campus visit (74% surveyed students) followed by a college’s website (59%). So Iowa is handing out tools that seem altruistic, but are intended to lure the student to their campus for a look/see.

 

Park University Pushes Benefits

Park University mailed Johanna a series of self mailers boasting its student benefits of being adult-friendly and transfer-friendly. Unlike Iowa University, the direct mail pieces contained QR Codes® that take prospective students to information about its eight-week and 16-week programs that help students complete their studies for less money in less time.

Park’s pieces are professional looking and sized in such a way that they can’t be ignored in Johanna’s mailbox.

 

Ottawa University Hurls Purls

Of the three schools, Ottawa University had the least professional looking direct mail piece though it utilized several tools well – variable data, a personalized URL, and a strong call to action. Johanna was personally invited to Ottawa’s June’s Sizzlin’ Summer Search Day where she’ll get a tour of the university and a free gift. To get a student to trek out to a small town of 12,000 in Western Kansas to tour or commit two-to-four years of her life might require a bigger carrot or stronger strategy.

 

Finding the Stealth Student

It is estimated that across the U.S., approximately 30% of all college applicants for the fall 2008 semester applied to their college(s) of choice without ever filling out an inquiry card at a college fair. In the world of admissions, these applicants are commonly referred to as “stealth applicants.”

The national rise in stealth applicants, which is expected to increase to 40% in the next year, means that universities are slowly losing their ability to communicate with prospective students at the inquiry level. As a result, universities must evaluate the ways in which they are communicating with applicants, and they must make sure that these strategies are in alignment with the elusive stealth applicants’ preferred mode of communication.

So which University is Johanna leaning toward in these very early stages? None of the above, at this point. Johanna should be considered part of the stealth student population because she’s considering a two-year community college and then finding a university with a good transfer program. Park University wins the communications award for mentioning this benefit.

QR Code is a registered trademark of Denso Wave.