RMU boosts enrollment with personalized mail campaign

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RMU boosts enrollment with personalized mail campaign
RMU boosts enrollment with personalized mail campaign

Client: Robert Morris 

Vendor: Rider Dickerson

Objective: Improve response to its student recruitment campaign
 with personalized offers.

Robert Morris University (RMU), a Chicago-area institution that has grown to 10 campuses, does annual recruitment campaigns targeting students taking the college entrance exam. RMU had been a client of Rider Dickerson for several years, so it was one of the first the print services provider reached out to when it acquired a new HP Indigo digital printing system that allowed more flexibility to generate customized communications, says Dean Petrulakis, Rider Dickerson's SVP of business development. 

STRATEGY: Rider Dickerson used the variable printing capacities and incorporated marketing software by MindFireInc. to execute a campaign that included personalized letters and postcards to 385,000 prospects, followed up with targeted emails. The mail pieces channeled prospects to personalized URLs (PURLs) with customized messages aimed at generating campus visits and applications. Rider Dickerson used the technology starting with RMU's 2009 recruitment campaign and in 2010 added quick response codes.

Segmentation data determined the imagery in the postcards and on website pages tied to the PURLs and kept the personalized data consistent across the mail and online content, Petrulakis explains. Prospects were segmented by variables including whether they were in-state or out-of-state students, SAT scores, geographic location, major preference and whether they were interested in athletics or not. For example, the landing page might include a greeting from the dean of the school for that student's major, or include athletic information for sports-oriented prospects. 

The system generated lead reports internally, so subsequent waves of mailings could be adjusted on the fly, says Petrulakis. For example, the reports during the latest campaign showed that letters (which were added to the postcard-only mail plan in 2010) outperformed postcards in terms of conversion rates. By the final wave of mailings, the postcards were dropped. 

RESULTS: In the first year of the campaign, RMU nearly doubled its response rate, while the conversion rate of prospects into inquiries went up 79%. The latest campaign rose another 30% and lead purchase went up 58%, while costs dropped 56%. Overall, student enrollment has increased 6.1% on the campuses.

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