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Developing effective broad reaching communications (Breakout Session) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Hannah Bowers   
Friday, 29 June 2007

Communications, Marketing & Research Breakout Session

(Monday, June 25, 2007,  1.30pm-2.30pm)


The main themes of the session were e-mail communications and developing broad strategic communications plans.  We share many similar challenges in these areas but all face different issues as well.  The main points of the discussion were:


Communications Strategy Development:  Data and industry expertise can be used as tools to support strategy development decisions, although hiring consultants can be something of a culture change.


E-mail management:  Most schools are finding that open rates are declining due to saturation (including many irrelevant e-mails) and to changes in e-mail technology which mean that open rates can’t be tracked.  The pros and cons of in-house vs third party e-mail management were discussed.


Frequency and scheduling of communications:  Alumni may be driven-away unintentionally if they receive too many e-mails which they see as all coming from the university, even if they’re sent from different groups within it.  Most schools have tried a calendaring system for scheduling e-mails but many found that it hadn’t worked.  Scheduling is often done on a “good citizenship” basis.


Publication lead times for communications:  Communications requests are frequently received with less than the required lead time.  Setting expectations early and plotting out the lead time to explain why the time is needed can be helpful.


Outsourcing:  Most schools outsource their graphic design.  Some charge back their time and the pros and cons of this were discussed.


Content of communications:  Adopting an editorial strategy for e-mails can help to make content more relevant and interesting.  Most schools send at least a regular monthly e-mail with news and events, and often other newsletters as well.  Some have split events and news into separate communications with good responses.


Opt-in e-mail systems:  None of the schools currently use an opt-in system for their e-mail communications.  There are both cultural and technical hurdles with such systems, as well as the challenge of getting alumni to opt-in.  Getting alumni to decide what’s relevant to them would be beneficial though.



We’ll add each other to our newsletter mailing lists and share ideas that we found helpful for e-mail and communications strategies on the Ivy Plus blog.


Last Updated ( Friday, 29 June 2007 )
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