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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Brad simply asked what audience your numbers are specifically measuring and that simple question somehow turned into this? Seemed like a pretty innocent question to me? :)
But as far as this decussion you are still talking about two audiences because what you are asking from them are different things and thus different audiences.

One your trying to convince them to make the biggest decision of their life to attend your school because it's the perfect fit for them.

The other they most likely have complete trust in this institution that they just spent the greatest years of their life at and your either asking them to donate or attend an event to hang out with all their old classmates.

Simply in what you require of these audiences your communication is different. One your trying to build confidence and conviction the other is continuing what is hopefully a lifelong connection.
I have to agree with Kyle here. Having a 17 year old and a 22 year old I would say my stats are very accurate concerning their habits. My 17 year old deletes everything in her inbox when she even bothers to check it. She has shown me her inbox and it is full of marketing emails from colleges. She has never opened one. If she wants info about a college she will go directly to their site but mostly to college board or facebook pages about a specific college. My 22 year old has graduated from college and will check and read her email constantly. There is nothing similar about the their email habits. They communicate in very different ways. You would be wasting your money sending emails to my younger daughter but it may be well spent alumni marketing dollars toward my other.
I wonder if thinking of our target audience(s) would be better done by imagining a continuum, rather than placing different ages (or generations) in separate compartments? It seems that while some similarities exist in knowledge of communication styles among 17, 23 even 29 year-olds, there are great differences as well. I don't know that we can even classify all alumni together either: there are 22 year-olds all the way through 90 year-olds...do they ALL communicate the same way?

It was my experience (may not be yours) when teaching college freshmen that many did not use e-mail. They used facebook, myspace, etc. and only had an email address to "sign up for stuff". Even after their freshman year, they began to learn to use email for communication to do business.

I think that both 17 and 23 year olds are aware of the same technologies, but may not use them the same. I think the lines of our compartments of audiences may be more fluid than we give them credit...another good reason to use more than one communication medium. :-)
I agree! Recognizing a continuum keeps our methods broad enough that we are less likely to miss people. I think triangulating the information with multiple methods is the better option.

For example, we can say one group has a range of IM, Facebook and e-mail, and then design our communications strategy to fit that range. Another group might respond better to including print in the strategy.

I think it also has to do with numbers and cost. Investment in e-mail is so much cheaper compared to print. If I send 100 e-mails and 99 are deleted but one is kept and used as the source of information for the program, then is it still worth it to do the e-mail campaign? For some departments which have limited numbers of students, that one is going to be worthwhile.

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