University Web Developers

University Web Developers

So one of the most discussed topics at eduWEB 2008 was the topic of email being dead. Let's here people's opinion. I'll chime in with my deeper thoughts soon (once I get through this backlog of stuff), but in the mean time here are some links to get the conversation going.

* The video stream including Mark's Keynote Address that Kicked off the Debate

* My Presentation on Email Marketing at eduWEB 2008

Finally in Mark's Blog Post wrap-up he states:
"For the record, I don’t believe e-mail is dead. I do believe that e-mail is broken. I’ll be writing about this more in the coming weeks. My goal is to think strategically about how e-mail fits into the myriad of communication channels now at our disposal."

Let the discussion begin!

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Stephen, great question. This makes me think of a post made on this forum last week "The One Best Thing about "

It seemed like it was essentially spam on our forum. How frustrating! I wonder how far we could/should go to market or "get to" students on their favored mediums before we're viewed with disdain and marked as spammers.
I would have to agree with you, and I like your analogy of a "walled garden".
It may not be dead, but it's certainly moving on the balance sheet from being considered an asset towards a liablility.

To offer email was once a selling point, then became an administrative necessity, now is almost a commodity. It's becoming more difficult to justify the time, overhead, and outlays necessary to host, serve, maintain, backup and store branded email service...
My college just finished a survey of web use as part of a site overhaul project. We had a great response with over 3,200 respondents including prospective students, current students, alumni, parents, and faculty/staff.

94% of respondents who want to stay up-to-date told us they prefer email. It sure isn't dead at Calvin! Prospective students were the lowest population at a disappointing 92%. 35% of those prospective students want updates by postal mail, too (Alumni were the next highest at 7%). 1% reported using Twitter.

All audiences were split on whether it's acceptable for an institution to use a social networking site for official communications. However, the nature of comments on the subject makes it clear that we should to tread lightly in Facebook, at least for now.

Email may not be the first choice for some communications, especially P2P for students. But institutional communications by email is a clear winner, at least for now.

The survey completed less than a week ago. Keep your eyes on our project blog for more updates.

Matt
Matt,
This is exactly the kind of info to throw into this discussion! Thanks for sharing and the link to the blog.
I recently had to resurrect (kind of appropriate with the cemetery picture) doing an email newsletter.Depending on the population, the institution has to figure out what method of communication works best for that particular target. Email hasn't necessarily "passed" it just may not work well for a particular target.
I've always found e-newsletters to be a colossal waste of time. Particularly with prospective students, they have some of the lowest rates you'll see. There are just so many better ways to utilize email that are more focused on what the user wants.
Just to add some stats to this, I just did our email report today for the month of June and we raised over a quarter of a million dollars directly from email, which amount to 27% of the total money we raised online during the month. Not bad for a dead medium.
For the sake of discussion, who are we talking about here? 14-17 year olds and alumni are two entirely different audiences with different communication styles and needs.
Not necessarily. My audience of alumni includes millennials just like your audience of prospects does and they respond to email at rates that are just as high, if not higher, than older generations. A person's communication style depends far more on generation than on specific age (ie a 17 year old is not necessarily that different than a 23 year old, since they both have similar life experiences)
Did you really just say a 17yr old has similar life experiences to a 23 yr old? I'm sorry but those six years between the two constitute a time in these individuals lives called COLLEGE. If college isn't a life changing event I don't know what is? These six years are a very critical time in these individuals live where they grow up, get out of their parents shelter and basically must become independent (for the most part) and responsible.

A millennial who is out of college with a job is completely different than one who's still in high school.
Yes, being that I'm not a complete idiot, I do understand what I just said and I do stand by that statement. Is college a formative time? Of course. But that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about how they COMMUNICATE WITH PEOPLE LIKE US and I'm sorry but a 17-year-old and a 23-year-old do not respond to marketing messages over email in drastically different ways, no matter how much they have matured during college. As pretty much the only person in this discussion who has done high level email marketing specifically targeting both those audiences and has stats to back it up, I feel pretty confident in my assertion.

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