1Find over 300 other case studies on digital print applicationsat www.podi.org/casestudy.© 2008, Caslon, a PODi Affiliate....
Teachers College Uses Relevance to Improve the Admissions Experience2Project:                          Teachers College Us...
3DescriptionTeachers College, Columbia University, is one of the oldest and mostprestigious graduate schools in the countr...
Teachers College Uses Relevance to Improve the Admissions Experience4The next step was vital to the project’s success. Acc...
5•    Captured contact information is used for follow-up communications,     which include e-mail and additional brochures...
Teachers College Uses Relevance to Improve the Admissions Experience6Eighty-five percent of each brochure is variable and ...
7Client                    Teachers College, Columbia University                          www.tc.edu                      ...
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Case Study #3: Teachers College - Writing Sample

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Case Study #3: Teachers College - Writing Sample

  1. 1. 1Find over 300 other case studies on digital print applicationsat www.podi.org/casestudy.© 2008, Caslon, a PODi Affiliate. Terms of Use: PODi members candistribute the case study in hard copy form or may post up to two casestudies on their Web site as long as PODi is attributed as the source and alink to www.podi.org/casestudy is provided. Mass distribution or otherusage is restricted as defined in the Terms of Use on www.podi.org. © 2008 PODi, the Digital Printing Initiative www.podi.org Best Practices in Digital Print Case Study
  2. 2. Teachers College Uses Relevance to Improve the Admissions Experience2Project: Teachers College Uses Relevance to Improve the Admissions ExperienceVertical Market: EducationBusiness Application: Direct Marketing/Lead GenerationTeachers College had been using a mass-marketing approach in itscommunications, sending the same comprehensive brochures and media toall interested students.Inundated by irrelevant information, prospective students became confusedwhen attempting to select a program that fit their specific needs. The Collegerealized it needed a cost-effective strategy that would eliminate confusion,tap into its ever-changing audience, and strengthen the Teachers Collegebrand.Program Objectives• Elimination of the one-size-fits-all mailing system that is wasteful, expensive, and ineffective• Development of an adaptable, multi-touch recruitment campaign that distinguishes Teachers College and appeals to prospective students on a one-to-one level• Establishment of a continuing process to generate national and international leads, collect data on prospective students, and provide them with relevant information in a timely manner• Employ marketing that connects to each individual and builds an unusual level of comfort around the Teachers College experienceSignificant Results Reported by User• Cost-effective, customized communications cut down on both confusion and waste• Prospective students come away with relevant information and a more positive user experience• Although the program is still new, it appears to be generating a steady stream of qualified leads—more than 3,500 annually• 30% of new prospects reference this campaign as their first contact with Teachers CollegeBest Practices in Digital Print Case Study www.podi.org © 2008 PODi, the Digital Printing Initiative
  3. 3. 3DescriptionTeachers College, Columbia University, is one of the oldest and mostprestigious graduate schools in the country, but it faces the same challengethat all colleges do—intense competition for the best students.Unlike many schools, however, Teachers College was open to out-of-the-boxthinking about its marketing activities. When it met the team fromEarthbound Media Group (EMG) at a conference and began discussing thepossibilities of targeted marketing, Teachers College knew it had found agreat partner.EMG’s creative energy, technical expertise and knowledge of the marketingchallenges faced by higher education overshadowed the fact that it had notworked with TC before. It was awarded the project without having to gothrough a formal bidding process or competition.The discovery process was quite involved. EMG took a very careful, step-by-step approach with a great deal of planning. It began with a simple question:“What do students want and how do they want it?” By working with focusgroups, EMG found that graduate students wanted relevant information,delivered as quickly as possible, and were most interested in what other, realpeople—similar to themselves—who were actually at TC had to say about thecollege.This knowledge helped set the direction and was the basis for theoverarching theme: “The Faces of Teachers College.”© 2008 PODi, the Digital Printing Initiative www.podi.org Best Practices in Digital Print Case Study
  4. 4. Teachers College Uses Relevance to Improve the Admissions Experience4The next step was vital to the project’s success. According to Barri Robersonof TC, “We needed to do a keen analysis of our current marketing plan—what was working and what was not. You need to be fully aware of yourorganization, your systems and processes, in order to create a new systemthat is really going to work. It takes time, but it’s worth it!”The resulting plan for the new campaign included a number of elements:• A series of static Lead Generation postcards, one for each of TC’s nine areas of study. These are sent to people requesting information from all venues outside of the Web site, and to purchased lists. Recipients are directed to the TC Web site for more information. The URL, though not personalized, is specific to each mailing, so it is trackable.• An online “Request for Information” form. Teachers College has nine different areas of study and 120 programs. The online form (http://www.tc.columbia.edu/users/request.htm) allows students to choose one area of study and up to three programs that they are interested in. It also collects additional information that enables a more relevant communications dialogue with each student.• The form is tied to an internal administrative VDP software application, custom-built and back-end database-driven, which instantaneously cre- ates an electronic brochure based upon the entries made by the student. This E-brochure, an abbreviated preview of the final print piece, is de- livered to the student via e-mail a short time after the form is submitted.• Each entry is then automatically “pushed” to a print and fulfillment partner where the personalized brochure is printed, finished, mailed, and received within 7 to 10 business days.Best Practices in Digital Print Case Study www.podi.org © 2008 PODi, the Digital Printing Initiative
  5. 5. 5• Captured contact information is used for follow-up communications, which include e-mail and additional brochures.Full implementation of the plan took about a year. It began with creatingdesign templates, being careful to ensure that the design allowed for thelongest copy necessary. The templates were shared with the copywriter whowas also given word counts to write to. EMG arranged for photo shoots andinterviews with real TC students from the various academic departments.(During this time, EMG created a virtual tour of the campus, which enablessome of the creative effort to serve multiple purposes and is available forpotential students’ review on the Web site.)Working closely with TC, the team members created the online form,carefully choosing the information they wanted to gather from theirrequestors. EMG also created the template for the E-brochure.Image and content libraries were assembled, using standardized namingconventions. It was determined that each brochure would include:• First-name personalization• A cover photo featuring the student’s preferred Area of Study• Information and more photos featuring that Area of Study• Copy and photos of up to three different programs within the Area of Study• An interview with a TC student from that Department• Information on student life, which would vary depending on whether the student is from in state or out-of-state© 2008 PODi, the Digital Printing Initiative www.podi.org Best Practices in Digital Print Case Study
  6. 6. Teachers College Uses Relevance to Improve the Admissions Experience6Eighty-five percent of each brochure is variable and customizable to aspecific student. (One caveat: EMG says that if it could change one thingabout the project, it would be to simplify the variability. Althoughimpressive, the brochures would have been simpler and just as effective witha more judicious use of customization.)By this time, EMG had found its printing partner, Entremedia, and set up theproduction system. The final InDesign files and .csv database were given toEntremedia and put into XMPie. Sample files were test printed for approvaland tweaked as necessary.Once set up, the workflow is automatic: New lists are sent to Entremediaevery two weeks in .csv format. The lists are cleansed through a standardprogram and go directly to XMPie, which is set to map and create a PDF filethat is RIPped and sent to the press. All an operator needs to do is to approvethe printing. After that, the brochure is printed on heavyweight, coatedpaper; trimmed, folded and saddlestitched; and wafer-sealed for mailing.As for the Lead Generation Postcards, approximately 80,000-90,000 are sentout annually, leading to 15,000-20,000 online requests for information, or aresponse rate of about 20%. The college receives about 3,500 applicationsfrom this program annually.The system was designed to grow with the College’s needs, and will soonexpand to include several additional follow-up brochures.Best Practices in Digital Print Case Study www.podi.org © 2008 PODi, the Digital Printing Initiative
  7. 7. 7Client Teachers College, Columbia University www.tc.edu Teachers College is one of the nation’s oldest and largest graduate schools of education—a place whose founding vision was to bring educational opportunities to all members of society, and whose faculty and students, time and again during more than a century of leadership, have demonstrated the power of ideas to change the world.Print Provider Entremedia www.entremedia.com Entremedia delivers integrated solutions primarily for direct marketing: cost- effectively generating new customers and sales. Entremedia employs “information leverage” to systematically target and motivate the ultimate purchasing decision-maker and the individual consumer.Agency Earthbound Media Group www.earthboundmediagroup.com Earthbound Media Group (EMG), a cross-media and creative communications agency, offers award-winning marketing solutions, eBusiness consulting, enterprise-level Web strategies, dynamic 1-to-1 personalized publications, stunning film production, and interactive services. It has had an impact on a diversity of industries, including higher education, commercial, healthcare, retail, and non-profit organizations.Hardware Xerox iGenSoftware XMPieTarget Audience Graduate studentsDistribution 100-700 customized brochures, printed and mailed every 2 weeksDate Launched in May 2007; ongoing© 2008 PODi, the Digital Printing Initiative www.podi.org Best Practices in Digital Print Case Study

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