Fantasy Marketing Guide: Part of a series stressing the importance of integrated marketing
With competition for new students heating to a boil among colleges and universities, Virginia College (VC) needed help separating itself from the pack. Enter Norton-Norris Inc., the Illinois-based agency that has been providing direct mail and marketing support to academic institutions for a decade. Working together with VC, the agency recently devised an award-winning DM initiative aimed at attracting new students.
The first component of the campaign features TV ads with students and graduates talking about their experience during and after graduating from VC. The students also talk about their reasons for returning to school to seek a new career, and how VC enables them to do so. The ads steer prospective students to the school’s website where the students select their expected area of study.
In the second phase of the campaign, Norton-Norris Inc. sends up to six pieces of customized direct mail as a follow-up to web-based inquiries within 90 days of their request for information. Copy and photos in the mailers are tailored to the recipient’s stated interests. “We use relevant, customized, data-driven mailers to speak to the student’s specific area of interest,” says Vince Norton, a managing partner of the company.
For Norton, direct mail has a broader potential reach than e-mail and other mediums. “Some marketing people believe that if an inquiry came in electronically, the right thing to do is to respond by e-mail,” Norton says. “If you take that approach, you miss the opportunity to reach what I call ‘the buying committee’ — the others in the household who may have a voice in the decision. Print pieces can be shared and read at any time. You can miss that with an e-mail.”
To support its theories about the effectiveness of direct mail in college recruiting, Norton-Norris conducted a Career College Direct Mail Test in 2008. The test involved two campuses, both of which offered associate degrees and both generated leads through the Internet, television and print. Prospects, including walk-ins and referrals, were randomly selected to receive or not receive a series of six mailings over three months. Each mailing was distinct and customized using print-on-demand technology.
The results were clear: The percentage of enrollees was 62 percent higher in the group that received the mailings. “Mail works,” says Norton. “It’s intimate, active, easy to track and cost-effective. Today, it’s all about consumer choice —reaching prospects in a number of ways. But it’s the personalized approach that really makes the difference.”
Tips to Successfully Partner Television and Direct Mail
Let it showcase your brand personality
Appliance retailer ABC Warehouse has been building brand awareness for years through a series of humorous TV commercials. Each year, the chain plays off the ads by using mail to target prospects. The approach works because it taps the strengths of both mediums, says Michael Shelby, director of advertising and marketing for ABC Warehouse.
Mix with mail to drive prospects to find out more
Mail and TV can be coordinated to drive prospects online, where they can print other materials. The tactic works because “once you’re online, you’re engaged,” says Heather Wirtz of Mudd Advertising, whose car-dealer clients use both TV and direct mail. A recent campaign saw 83 percent of visitors to a microsite print a voucher.
Leverage channel content across the board
Thanks to social media, TV ads can go viral quickly and enhance integrated efforts. If your mail program reinforces the TV messaging, that message is sure to echo in cyberspace too, says Tim Hawthorne of Hawthorne Direct: “There are many engagement techniques, from graphics listing relevant links to webisodes.” Consider adding links and URLs to mailers, too.
Tap the TV screens
AmazingMail.com Inc./Premium Postcard sent approximately 1,400 pieces as part of integrated campaigns for two local businesses that also included cable TV. Viewers/ recipients were offered a coupon for a significant discount. “Since (the cable provider) already had the subscriber’s address, it was easy for them to send us a file with addresses and an identifier for the offer,” says AmazingMail’s Matt Olsen.Case Studies, Creativity, Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips, Prospecting, Social Media, Statistics, Strategy, Technology, Trends