As we travel around the country engaging with alumni and development professionals, common questions arise:
- Are other institutions still printing alumni directories?
- With ‘everyone’ online, why should we entertain publishing an alumni directory?
- Aren’t printed directories ‘Old School’?
Interesting new research from the business world introduces the reality of what is working in terms of a mixed media strategy to maximize engagement. An article by Denise Lee Yohn in the February 25, 2015 edition of Harvard Business review entitled “Why Print Catalogs are back in Style” points to retailers who have reversed their position after shedding their focus and expenditures on print media during the economic troubles of 2007. Her research states that:
- Customers who use more than one of their channels are usually the most valuable
- Nordstrom reports that customers who have a multi-channel relationship with the brand spend four times as much as those who do not
- Given the new dynamics of multichannel marketing and commerce, as well as the new targeting and measurement capabilities of catalog marketing, catalogs are here to stay
Colleges and Universities face the same challenges as other business markets in terms of the right mix of media types and channels to touch a myriad of different alumni life stages and resulting interests. The questions stated above might be more appropriately stated as:
- With ‘everyone’ online, can maximum engagement be achieved with all alumni only through that channel?
- Do alumni in certain life stages have an interest in printed matter – magazines, directories?
- If we could publish a directory, collect massive amounts of new alumni data and benefit financially without spending advancement dollars, should we investigate how this could strategically fit in our engagement strategy?
PCI has had the good fortune to have three record years in a row offering traditional services without cost to our clients. We propose that you take a fresh look at a proven product and invite you to talk to those who find this strategic component a key to their success.
- TEXAS A&M – Marty Holmes – Vice President
“We chose PCI to publish our 2012 directory (after having made a decision to never publish again) based upon a key differentiator – combine a donation “appeal” with the directory offer to our non-donor population.”
- Furman University – Tom A. Triplitt ’76, Executive Director (retired 2014)
“PCI convinced me back in 2012 that I did need to publish another print directory. We garnered a great deal of new information for our alumni database, including about 3000 new emails, which was one of my measurable goals for the year. I highly recommend PCI and their work.”
By Rex Petrasko, PCI Executive Vice President