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About GDA Integrated Services

About GDA Integrated Services

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About GDA Integrated Services

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  1. About GDA Integrated Services GDA Integrated Services is a market research, consulting and services firm specializing in customized, integrated marketing solutions to help colleges and universities compete successfully for students, funding and visibility in the 21st century. Services include:

  2. 2006 Tri-State Conference Integrating Print and Electronic Communication Flows Presenters: Christopher Small Jonathan Steele

  3. How Do Students Communicate with Colleges? GDAIS conducts on-going research with college bound high school students from the applicant and inquiry pools of colleges and universities across the country in order to find out how students approach the college search process.

  4. When do students begin their college search? • Before their senior year: 95% • Before their junior year: 58% • Before their sophomore year: 20% • Before entering high school: 2% • How have students received most of their information about colleges? • Information mailed to their homes: 51% • Internet: 46% • College fair/night: 12% • Visit to campus: 9% • High school guidance counselor: 6% • College guide book: 6%

  5. Which format do they find most useful in their college search? • Paper: 51% • Electronic: 35% • Both equally: 14% • Which format do they prefer to use in their communication with the admissions office? • Paper: 44% • Electronic: 42% • Both equally: 14%

  6. Very likely Likely Not likely A college's Website 42% 47% 11% A college search Website 39% 40% 21% An e-mail to the college 32% 46% 22% A letter or postcard to the college 25% 31% 47% A telephone call to the college 6% 29% 65% Students described how they were most likely to contact a college in which they became interested:

  7. Who is listening? • As many as 75% of most colleges’ inquiries do not realize they are even in your inquiry pool. • Fewer than 20% consider you among their top five choices • One in ten is a realistic applicant

  8. Interpreting the Research • Students are starting the college search earlier • More students are using the Web for college information and skipping traditional communication patterns • Students still like to read print publications • Electronic is quickly catching print as the medium of choice • Colleges need to develop a 24 month integrated print and electronic communications plan • Pay attention to those who are listening to you

  9. Getting MORE from Your Communication Flow • Don’t be afraid to promote the distinctiveness of your institution • Focus on features and benefits • Timing is everything • Investment benefits • Consumption benefits

  10. Getting EVEN MORE from Your Communication Flow • Keep messages clear and concise • Limit messages to one at a time • Don’t be afraid to repeat messages • Integrated print and electronic • Always have a response mechanism to see who is paying attention - The bounceback principle • Respond quickly to those who respond to you • Develop ways to measure the effectiveness of every communication device • Don’t forget the phone!!!

  11. Problems with College Websites: • Too many audience constituencies • Internal vs. External • Navigation • Anonymity (post and pray) • No follow-through Solutions: • Use e-mail to make communications active (rather than passive) • Single-Message Mini-websites • Capturing Data

  12. Communicating with Students: Develop a dialog • Encourage them to respond: • Call to action – in print and online • Have them log in • Pay attention to what they say • Follow up • Develop one-to-one relationships: • Don’t smother them with automation • Make it personal • Chat with them • Call them • Send them personal notes

  13. Out-bound Messages • Mix official and unofficial sources • Coordinate print with electronic • Focus on single messages, and use timing to tell the story • Always include a Bounceback mechanism

  14. Communicating with Students: E-mail • Segment your audience constituencies • Drive them to your Website with e-mail – the Bounceback Principle • Guide them to the messages YOU want them to hear • Develop a series of single-message communications, spool them out over time • Track their progress and get feedback • Measure your results and adapt

  15. The Pitfalls of E-mail • E-mail is cheap – too cheap, (we’re bombarding students) • CAN-SPAM, blacklists, and whitelists • Sender ID and SPF – Doesn’t that have something to do with sunscreen? • G-mail: Google enters the scene with e-mail, IM/Chat - Are you ready? • 57% from Hotmail • 27% from Yahoo • 16% from AOL, MSN, and Comcast (per Return Path)

  16. What’s Next • Instant Messaging is growing exponentially as a communication medium • Online Chats vs. IM: host them on your site or join the students on Yahoo, AOL, and Gmail? • Blogs: helpful or harmful? • Podcasts: build these on content (don’t make a blah-cast) • RSS: the new way of delivering web content • Social Networking: facebook.com, MySpace.com (WOM Marketing in the digital medium) • Where we’re headed: • Increased customization • Content on demand • Data management will be critical

  17. Great, now I have a headache… • Keep an eye on these trends • Students will adopt new technology fastest • They expect and demand colleges to keep up • Don’t lose focus: the old rules still apply • Build a communication flow • Make your case over time • Use a mix of print and electronic communication • Repeat messages until it hurts! • Get feedback from students and tailor your appeal • It’s still about people: personal connections and good stories

  18. GDA Integrated Services THANK YOU 33 Main Street, Suite F Old Saybrook CT 06475 860-388-3958 fax: 860-388-0595 www.gdais.com gdais@dehne.com