By Published On: May 23, 2011


Someone recently forwarded me an email with some quotes written by David Ogilvy – a true genius in the advertising industry. One of the quotes read “The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be.” This statement is brilliant in its simplicity – and a great reminder for those of us that spend our days trying to find effective ways to communicate our marketing messages.

A few months ago, our client at the University of Minnesota’s Technological Leadership Institute asked us to meet with them to do some brainstorming. We’ve been working with them for several years on their marketing efforts to find new students for their graduate level programs, and they were starting to fall behind on their goals to bring in new students.

When we met, we had the usual conversations about how they’ve found students in the past and what the demographics are of the current students. From that conversation came some new ideas that we hadn’t talked about before. Most notably, we discovered that there were several military veterans enrolled in their current Security Technologies program. So, we forged a plan to reach out to more of those people.

In the end, we decided to send direct mail and email to veterans in the area to educate them about the program. Nothing fancy, just a simple message to people we thought might be interested in the program and most likely had no idea it existed.

The cool thing about email is that you get to see, really fast, how well you did at getting your target to actually open it. A big part of this challenge is, of course, writing a good headline, which I think we did. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a whole lot of details from the list provider that sent out the email our behalf (like how many were undeliverable or how many were blocked by SPAM filters) but we did learn that 11% of the people we sent it to opened it. And 9% of those people clicked on the link to the website. Not too shabby for an email that was sent to a purchased list, in our humble opinion.

Getting a prospective student to sign up for a master’s degree program is a little more complicated that getting someone to try a new brand of toothpaste, so we know we have to be patient while we wait for the results that really matter. But for now, I’m confident that we succeeded in our goal of sending an educational, no-fluff, no-bells-and-whistles message to a group of people that might truly benefit from a product they previously knew nothing about. I think Mr. Ogilvy would approve.

Danette Knickmeier is an Account Director at d.trio marketing group. She’s manages a multitude of marketing tactics for her clients on a daily basis and can’t wait for the day that one of them asks her to organize a  flash mob.

About the Author: cat-tonic

Born of curiosity and enthusiasm, we’re a scrappy group of smart, passionate marketers who work hard and play hard. We show up every day and fight for our clients who are making the world a better place. We listen with curiosity, explore deeply, ask hard questions, and sometimes put forth ideas that might make you squirm. Because we believe the status quo is good for growing mold but not much else. The way we see it, change is the way forward and the magic happens when curiosity, math, science, instinct, and talent intersect.
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