What is Wrong With College Recruiting Promotions..and How to Fix It

  • Oct 25, 2012

Is Your School Making These Same Errors in Promoting Your Campus Recruiting Efforts?

How to improve your college recruiting effortsAustin, Texas: In the past four months my son and I have toured five college campuses and met with a few other college recruiters- and the results have been unremarkable.

Unremarkable, as Seth Godin refers to it, in terms of not being worthy of being remarked about.

As the schools we are looking to send my son to will cost between $13,000-$28,000 a year (before room and board, books and other “incidentals”)- for a $52,000-$$112,000 four-year investment, I expect to be dazzled, catered to, romanced and marketed to.

As a marketing professional, I am appalled at how poorly most college recruiting has become.

Sure, my son gets a few emails.

Very few, in fact – and none have asked him to follow up in any meaningful way. Most seem like standard bulk e-mail spam.

No emails that have asked him to answer a few short questions to see how they can answer his questions or concerns.

No phone calls.

Lots of postcards and flyers. Junk mail, basically.

No flyers, brochures or mail from the particular field of study that he wants to major in–just from the colleges themselves. Too generic and not helpful in him choosing one over another.

Where is the personalization?

I’m a big proponent in immersing someone in a brand– so they see it in their car, in their room, at home, at play, etc.

All we received was a branded T-shirt, a decal and a pencil with the school logo and colors.

Where is the digital interaction?

Where is the email or postcard saying, fill this short form out and receive a music download card for 10 free songs?

Where is the free laptop or iPad skins that they can download with the school logo and colors? That will get his classmates talking.

At the end of one campus tour my son received a T-shirt. Big deal. They should have told the students to put on the T-shirt and led them to the student union to get a free lunch or snack– as a way of getting them more involved in the campus experience.

The tours are generic. I have trouble separating one campus tour from another sometimes.

College recruiters should not be afraid to ask questions of the students in return for moving them forward or steering them elsewhere.

All prospective students are not alike.

Find out their interest level, financial situation, class rank up-front and get those more inclined to your college on a different follow up path.

Don’t ignore the others but pay special attention to those that are more likely to put your college in their Top 3 list.

Trade data for merchandise. Fill out this form and get free logo merchandise.

And, most importantly, do something with this data.

Email the interested students.

Call them on their phone.

Meet with them at their convenience.

Get to know them.

Going to college is a four-year commitment that will cost a great deal of money and help shape a student’s life.

Don’t leave your college recruiting to bulk mail and junk mail.

Make your college recruiting efforts remarkable.

Your college deserves it. And so do the students.