Kids born after 1990 aren’t used to getting things addressed to them in the mail. The time where I have received the most mail in my life was during my junior and senior years of high school. I wasn’t getting bills yet, I wasn’t getting letters from my great aunt Gertrude and I wasn’t even getting pizza coupons; this uptick in mail came exclusively from colleges trying to woo me. I remember the first piece of college mail that came addressed to me, my mom was excited to tell me about it, and I was excited thinking that there was a chance they were giving me some special offer. It turned out this first one was from some college I had never heard of, and they weren’t offering me anything. Even though I had no intentions of going there, I figured I would read through their material just because they took the time to send it to me.
After that first piece of college mail, it seemed the floodgates had been opened. Every day I would come home from school to smorgasbord of colorful glossy pamphlets from institutions big and small across the nation. At first I read every single glossy pamphlet that came to my mailbox, and I started to notice a trend. Most of these direct mail pieces fell into one of two categories, they either started with a generic question like “where do you want to spend the next four years?” then a pitch for their school, or they had some type of attempt at personalization by using my name. When the ones with questions came from schools that I had never heard of or had no interest in attending, I couldn’t help but think they sounded desperate and mock them to myself by saying “certainly not there”. I think @TheRealBerrey said it best (pictured above) The personalization grabbed my attention at first, but soon the personalizations with wrong or misspelled names started showing up, a lot of strange and borderline creepy personalized pamphlets showed up (like the one pictured which sgt_fuzzyboots shared on instagram) and I started seeing the same letters in the stacks of glossy pamphlets at my friends’ houses, and the novelty wore off.
Eventually, I had my college search narrowed down to just a few schools. I asked my mother to save anything from those schools and throw everything else away. Enamored with the idea of colleges being interested in her baby boy, my mother refused to thrown any of them away and instead created two files, one of schools I was interested in and the other with schools I wasn’t. The file for schools I was interested in fit neatly in a manila folder, and the one for schools I was not interested in basically made one full room of our house off limits. This struggle of receiving tons of mail, but not necessarily from the institutions you want is summed up perfectly by this instagram post by kayjdkay (pictured above).
I decided relatively early on where I wanted to go to school. This decision did nothing to slow the onslaught of direct mail from colleges. I didn’t look at a single piece of college mail after I had made my decision, and everything that came from any college other than the University of Minnesota went directly into the trash. Judging by this tweet from @carolinemirah, I’m not the only person who had marketing efforts wasted on them in a similar fashion
As I have progressed in my education, these college recruitment campaigns have been something I have thought about. I think about how much money was wasted by schools sending things to people like me who were not at all interested in their school and probably wouldn’t have been a good fit anyway. All the time and money that was spent in mailing out things to uninterested people could have been put into making sure that students that were interested and would have been a good fit actually ended up there. This is exactly the problem that Enrollment Fuel from Bann Business solutions addresses. With this tool, universities can have a better understanding of how much a student is interested and how well their profile aligns with the school’s mission, Rather than just sending out mass mailto anyone in a certain geographic area or with a certain ACT score. Using multiple channels and understanding how the student is interacting with all of them to deduce how interested they are is the core of Enrollment Fuel, and Enrollment fuel can help pick the right prospective students in the right areas.