Digital marketing topics.

Direct Mail and College Recruitment

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 #collegemail2had 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#collegemailcreepy 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.  #collegemail4The 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#collegemail


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.

Enrollment Fuel: Communicating to Prospective College Students Considering Their Preferences

It is no secret that millennials love technology.  As a millennial myself, I frequently use the internet to answer questions that come to mind throughout the day, and to research an important decision before making it.  In fact, I would argue that most, if not all, of millennials’ major consumptionary decisions are considered amidst surfing the web.  When it comes to choosing a college, this tendency remains constant.  Therefore, admissions professionals should take advantage of this known preference.  However, what is the best way to stand out in a sea of similar e-marketing efforts when seeking to reach prospective students?  Well, your success boils down to utilizing the right content, at the right time, directed at the right audience.

In her article “Millennials’ Changing Perceptions: Latest Trends From 2015 Social Admissions Report”, Alex Sigillo mentions that the number of students applying to multiple institutions has risen by 10 percentage points.  Therefore, today’s high school students are arguably more open and willing to weigh their options when choosing a school—especially if they are already invested in multiple.  With this increase in uncertainty, comes a further need to communicate to these individuals in their language.  However, as you likely know, maintaining the interest of your active prospects is expensive in terms of time and money.  Additionally, you do not want to force communication with a prospect wavering/declining in interest, you should be communicating to them when they want to be communicated to.  Our product Enrollment Fuel can provide you the opportunity to address these concerns.  We can help you reach and actively respond at the individual level based on your prospects’ active interactions with your efforts, using their language, as well as tried-and-true traditional methods.  Lastly, Enrollment Fuel will not only save you time and money when reaching prospective students, but will also save  students the time and the frustration of receiving communications from colleges that they are not interested in.


Thank you for taking the time to read this post!

As always, if you have any comments/disagreements/questions please feel free to respond!

Should You Stick to Counting Ad Clicks?

Suppose that your business is in the process of running a digital marketing campaign.  As a measure of its success, your main concern should be with the amount of clicks you have generated, right?

Well, as digital marketers have learned over the years, this is not always the best way to measure the success of your campaign.  Stacy Griggs from el toro shares a similar viewpoint in his article, “Click Through Rates—Are You Getting All You Can?”.

Specifically, he mentions how clicks are often times inadvertmouseclickent—online users can often be “baited” into clicking something that they are not actually interested in, or, often, can accidentally click on an ad when trying to exit out of it.  So, although clicks may at first glance seem appealing, they do not always accurately measure the success of your efforts.


Are Clicks Useless?

Although click through rates are not always the most reliable measurement, this does not deem them as useless.  They can be used to measure how a change in your campaign causes an increase/decrease in overall interest.  Most importantly, they can be used to infer what form of advertising, along with what type of content, is the most effective in capturing the interest of your audience.

Therefore you should indeed seek to increase your click through rates.  This can be done through, as Griggs wrote, “having the best possible message placed in the best possible outlet.”  Griggs highlighted that his company is particularly successful in this because they are able to target their audience at an individual level.  As you may know, our technology allows us to do this as well– in a truly innovative way.  We can help you reach and actively respond at the individual level using our products Digital Direct Mail and Enrollment Fuel.

An increase in clicks, however, does not imply a successful campaign in and of itself.  If a change to your campaign causes an increase in supposed interest, but does not lead to an improvement in conversion rates, you should not mark this as a success.  After all, the point of an online ad is to generate a boost in sales.


As always if you have any comments/disagreements/questions please feel free to share your thoughts!

Thank you for taking the time to read!

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USPS trying their hand at new channels

A New Frontier for the USPS

The United States Postal Service is entering the second phase of testing for a new system that sends customers an email consisting of pictures of the mail they will receive each morning.  Specific to the marketing industry, there will also be an option for mailers to add interactive elements to these emails, which can be paired with their physical direct mail.  Theoretically, a USPS campaign which pairs a digital interactive element with physical direct mail sounds like it could rival an integrated campaign of Digital Direct Mail and physical direct mail from Bann Business Solutions.

Shortcomings to Considerjonas mailman

There are several problems for a business who would want to partner with USPS to run one of these campaigns.  The first issue is how the USPS is going to get people to actually open and engage with an email that is nothing more than black and white pictures of the mail that they will receive later in the day.  Digital Direct Mail can achieve the same level of targeting and coordination of digital and physical direct mail, without disrupting a target’s behavior by forcing them to open an email in order to be exposed to the communication.  Another major issue in partnering with the USPS would be the question of how the core competencies of USPS could help in implementing and maintaining a successful marketing campaign.  USPS is great at delivering mail, but has no expertise in marketing.  Partnering with a marketing agency like Bann Business Solutions who can help select channels, have more flexibility in channel selection, and can assist in the strategy and design of the campaign is the obvious choice.  This new service from the USPS is interesting and may be helpful for some consumers, but it will make no splash in a marketing services world saturated with more advanced and more effective options.


information on new services


As always please feel free to respond with any comments/disagreements/questions! Thank you for taking the time to read


Enrollment Fuel: Actively Fueling the Collegiate Admissions Process

Building Upon Expertise

As you may have read in one of our recent case studies, a client of ours sought assistance in heightening the reach and effectiveness of their University Admissions marketing campaign.  We helped them utilizing our new product “Digital Direct Mail”, which focuses online banner advertisements to households based on their IP address.  As you may have read, students who received these advertisements were 35% more likely to apply to the university we partnered with, while saving significant dollars in the process.  Through this relationship, we saw an area of opportunity to use and improve upon our expertise in multi-channeled marketing campaigns.  Specifically, we took tried and true methods used in marketing today like direct mail, popular techniques used in digital marketing, such as behavioral analytics, predictive modeling, and IP triangulation, and packaged these with our unique ofnew ef logofering “Digital Direct Mail”.  Our improvements did not end here.  We also partnered with the provider of a new digital platform that significantly amplifies our ability to assess and respond to students’ interactions with universities’ marketing efforts.  We call this convergence of marketing efforts, old and new, “Enrollment Fuel”.  In this post I will further explain the technology underlying the e-marketing aspects of Enrollment Fuel.

The technology governing the digital side of Enrollment Fuel is unique because each online user’s activity can be actively recorded and factored into a real-time “score”.  Since this “score” is actively responsive, we have the ability to infer an individual’s interest at an unprecedented level.  Let us further explore why this technology is truly innovative.

Actively Responsive “Brain”

A modern (well-developed) digital marketing campaign typically consists of four important systems with distinct yet necessary roles.  Firstly, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system’s role is to capture relevant details about customers, and their inferred interests, based on their interactions.  Meanwhile, the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system’s role is to utilize information provided by the CRM and turn it into usable data for businesses to use in order to generate sales.  A company that uses both of these tools would have the ability to provide personalized advertisements based on what the user has viewed.  At first glance this combination seems effective; our platform, however, has the ability to actively integrate these two tools using a responsive “brain” that forms these systems into an interconnected and responsive whole.  This artificial intelligent brain has the ability to communicate between the CRM and the ERP in order to eAIbrainnsure that what the user is actively engaged in, or not engaged in, is factored into their virtual experience and presentation.  Other platforms do not have this “brain” capable of providing truly real-time advertisement experiences.  This technology further differs from other digital marketing offerings because it also connects the remaining two important systems: the Content Management System (CMS) and the Marketing Automation system (MA).  Since these two systems are also governed by the same artificial intelligence, they too respond and adapt to real-time updates from all systems.  The interconnectedness of the CMS is significant because this allows Enrollment Fuel the unique ability to, again, actively manage what content is highlighted for an individual on a specific website through reorder or removal of items declining in popularity.  This active systemic communication provides Enrollment Fuel’s CMS a truly unmatched ability to deliver actively changing one-to-one content management, as well as overall unbiased content sorting.  Lastly, when used under Enrollment Fuel’s operating platform, the Marketing Automation (MA) system can also actively respond to new data, and offers the ability to reach consumers after referencing their actively changing “interest score”.

Active Systemic Communication = Saved Time and Money

After assessing some of the nuts and bolts composing Enrollment Fuel, it is clear that our offerings can deliver when it comes to both reaching a specific audience, as well as actively adapting to their changing interest levels.  However, at this point one might question: do these improved capabilities really mean that much for universities?  The short answer is yes. This is true because, currently, other marketing providers do not have the capability to form their four systems (ERP, CRM, CMS, and MA) into a cohesive and responsive whole.  Campaigns that do not have this artificial intelligence need to spend much more money financing the manpower necessary to both assess all of the changing data provided by each system, and also communicate areas of opportunity and weaknesses cross-functionally.  Since our technology has the unique capability of forming an active connection between these tools, however, our offerings provide the opportunity to avert these unneeded costs.  Therefore, Enrollment Fuel offers universities the improved upon benefits of reaching and responding to prospective students at the individual level, while, simultaneously, minimizing the costs of doing so.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post!

As always, if you have any question/disagreements/comments please feel free to share your thoughts!