One-to-one postcards

Personalized postcards sent to prospective students include their name, faculty of choice and the distance from their home to campus.

Recruiting with a personal touch

June 26, 2008

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New one-to-one marketing technology is transforming the way SFU Student Services reaches prospective students.                    

On June 12th, Student Services mailed 1,015 personalized postcards to remind selected B.C. high school and college students to confirm their SFU registration intentions for the fall ’08 semester. The postcards, created by SFU Document Solutions, depicted a car with personalized license plates bearing the student’s name and faculty of choice. A highway road sign indicated the number of kilometers from the student’s home to the appropriate SFU campus.

Within two weeks of the mail-out, Student Services had received 223 confirmations, a return rate of 22 percent.

"We’re definitely encouraged by the results so far and over time there may be even more applicants confirming," says Mehran Kiai, director of enrolment services.

He’s hopeful that the cumulative effect of personalized contacts, including e-mail and phone campaigns, will yield a fall enrolment of 4,885 students from an applicant pool of 13,000. That’s a one-per-cent increase over last fall’s target.

The postcard campaign, which used digital printing technology, is the way of the future, according to Raj Nadrajan, director of SFU Document Solutions, where staffers have been experimenting with new printing and database technologies for one-to-one marketing.

The postcard campaign involved creating software utilities to work in combination with pre-packaged applications so that the Student Services address database could work with Google Maps to generate each postcard with the appropriate address and distance from campus.

"It’s a wonderful advantage for us to have digital printing and customization right at home," says Kiai. "We did this as a pilot in partnership with SFU Document Solutions and they’ve been extremely helpful."

The colour postcards were printed in less than an hour, says Nadrajan, although the development took a week.

With that successful project in the mail, Nadrajan says, "We’re focusing on how we can individualize and personalize marketing campaigns for any SFU department."

To find out more, contact SFU Document Solutions’ cross-media solutions division at 778.782.4160 and 778.782.4963.
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