Lack of proper research

Our son Jay is a junior in high school. This haul of mail was one day’s set of letters from colleges and universities wanting him to apply. Sadly for them, their mailings almost instantly end up in the recycle bin. Nothing distinguishes one from another.

If any of those universities’ marketing departments actually had children in the target age group for their mailings, they would try reaching their target audience another way.

Takeaway: What are some ways your message can be different than that of your competitors?

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8 Replies to “Lack of proper research”

  1. I wonder often about how to communicate my message, and how to reach people who don’t already agree with me. Whether one is trying to get college applicants or to convince people to make some change in their lives, the first step is knowing who your target audience is, isn’t it? Thanks for this reminder!

  2. Gary & Tim: Thanks for your kind comments.

    Rich: Agreed. They need to totally rethink their strategy.

    Bill: I think you hit upon the key point.

  3. That tiger may be Louisiana State or Missouri. My second daughter received something like 400 pieces of college junk mail, probably because she was a National Merit Scholar.

    Seems to me social networks would be a great place to advertise. Set up a Facebook page, post and Tweet catchy weird blurbs or stories, spread viral videos on YouTube. If Geico can use irony and eccentric humor, so could a university. Also pursue product placement in movies and TV: a sweatshirt or decal, a clearly labeled campus landmark. 

    Of course, most of that is not as personal as a letter addressed directly to a promising student. I don’t know what would replace that, given privacy controls.

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