Mail Order Pride: Is Your School Reducing Direct Mail to Alumni?

How might the responses differ for your Class of 2007 alumni who are already planning their 5th reunion versus the Class of ’62 coming back for their 50th?
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20 years after the onset of e-mail and the web, schools still send a lot of snail mail.


Fundraising requests.  Alumni magazines.  Invitations to reunions and local alumni events.   Athletics newsletters.  Annual reports and giving rosters.

I pretty sure I’m not the only recipient who is overwhelmed by the sheer volume of mail, and the associated costs.

There is a business case for continuing to include direct mail as part of a multi-channel marketing strategy.   In 2009, Pitney Bowes (the world’s largest manufacturer of postage meters) published a White Paper titled “What Alumni Want” that claimed survey respondents overwhelmingly preferred direct mail from their alma mater relative to other options including mail and e-mail.

The problem with this survey (other than being sponsored by a company reliant on mail volumes for its survival) is that it failed to segment the respondents based on any demographic indicator.

How might the responses differ for your Class of 2007 alumni who are already planning their 5th reunion versus the Class of ’62 coming back for their 50th?

According to the United States Postal Service, after decades of growth, US direct mail peaked in 2006 at 215 million pieces.  Since that time, volume has fallen over 20% and the USPS reiterated today that the organization is bleeding cash.

Mail volume is projected to continue to decline in the coming years as everything from coupons to wedding invitations is repurposed for online and mobile distribution.

How is direct mail volume trending at your institution?  Are you “keeping pace” with the macro decline?  Do you measure the ROI of direct mail?

Would anyone be willing to share direct mail statistics for your community?

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing case studies and analytics that document the high level of engagement the EverTrue mobile app platform and tablet-friendly web framework is generating from the ISL to the Ivy League.

Ever True!

Brent

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