Graceland University Relies on DesignMerge
to Target Student Recruitment and More!
University is a private, liberal arts university with 2,300 students
and 150 faculty members located on a residential campus in Lamoni,
Iowa and an urban campus in Independence, Missouri. The sponsoring
church is the Community of Christ, though Graceland celebrates its
non-sectarian heritage dating back to 1895 when the university was
founded. Students enjoy more than 50 academic majors and programs,
a 15:1 student/faculty ratio and 19 varsity and 10 junior-varsity
Following is an interview with Steve
Edwards, Director of Creative Services at Graceland, discussing
how DesignMerge has helped to target student recruitment efforts,
while also providing for an increase in general marketing efforts
to current students, their parents, alumni and more.
||What VDP challenges
have you faced in the Education market?
most significant business challenge was to cost effectively
market to high school students interested in a liberal arts
university for higher education. As with most colleges and
universities, there is a lot of competition with student recruitment,
and the process has become more competitive over the years
as universities have implemented variable data technology
to personalize their message and target interests directly
to prospective students.
While we recognized the need to implement
variable data printing into our marketing campaigns, each
time that we looked at doing variable postcards through an
outside service, it was decided that the cost was just too
did you choose DesignMerge for your VDP implementation?
Graceland was looking at doing variable data brochures and
postcards. And at the same time we were also evaluating several
new digital presses. We purchased a Canon C6000 and were thrilled
that DesignMerge was part of the purchase! We were immediately
pleased with the DesignMerge software.
||How important do you feel
it is to create personalized marketing materials for the purpose
of student recruitment/retainment?
studies all say that you get an increased rate of return when
personalizing. I think it's similar to when main-stream printing
moved from black-and-white to all color. Personalization has
become so widely adapted that I think it really stands out
in a negative way when a piece, especially a postcard, doesn't
have it. It would be along the lines of not placing the recipients
name on a letter.
||What type of variables are
considered in a recruitment piece?
use VDP for addressing, personalizing names, event-based text
(i.e. if a student hasn't yet paid their deposit, we include
a sentence encouraging them to do so), photos based on gender
of recipient, entire pages based on academic and sport interest.
The simple fact is, if we can imagine a way to segment a population
by data, we can use VDP to reach them.
||In what other ways have
you utilized DesignMerge?
We use DesignMerge
in our Annual Fund program (again, a postcard). The VDP on
these range from a simple name and address to changing out
the entire card face based on academic major or graduation
date. We've also used it in our homecoming mailing packet,
printing multiple letters, pre-filling registration forms
with name and address information, and swapping out entire
letters based on graduation year. Nametags for various events
are extremely easy to produce with DesignMerge. And we've
also seen an uptick in campus offices having us merge their
letters since we can do it faster with DesignMerge than they
can through MS Office.
||What are the results of
your DesignMerge implementation?
found that DesignMerge's seamless integration with Adobe InDesign
has allowed our creative department to generate complex database-driven
publications without having a database reporting specialist.
Furthermore, since implementing DesignMerge we've been able
to greatly reduce our inventory, save money on our overall
mailing costs and reduce the number of printed pieces we send
out since those that we do send are much more targeted.
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