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Personalized Mailer Becomes Centerpiece of Campus Culture | Education

empty, sunlit lecture hall at a university

University leverages variable print to increase response and brand value

CHALLENGE

In an effort to recruit prospective students effectively, a private research university needed help standing out in the mailbox. With a list of 600,000 names and a historical response rate of 1-2%, the university recognized there was an opportunity for significant improvement. 

SOLUTION

When the client showed interest in leveraging variable print for an upcoming round of mailers, RRD wholeheartedly supported the idea — then executed on it.

Each mailing included a personalized letter and a colorful, oversized (17”x22”) poster that featured the name of the prospective student within an inspirational quote. A second and equally important focus was placed on reducing overall production costs, which RRD achieved in two ways. 

First, despite the inclusion of a full-size poster, RRD reduced the size of the mailing envelope from 9”x12” to 6”x9”. This smaller size qualified the piece to be mailed at a much lower, letter-size postage rate. Second, cost-effective materials became a viable option thanks to RRD’s tech-centered process.

Typically, specially-treated glossy paper stock is a requirement to print digitally, prohibiting many marketers from pursuing that option due to cost. However, RRD’s presses enable printing on any type of paper stock while maintaining offset-quality results.

RESULTS

$100k in annual savings

10-15% increase in response rate

The decision to pair personalized materials with a smaller envelope proved to be a winning tactic. The smaller format alone resulted in a 12-14 cents per piece reduction in postage. This produced an annual savings of over $100k for the client.

One year and three mailings later, the client’s response rate also saw a significant improvement, skyrocketing to 10-15% — an increase of 650% over the previous year with static (non-personalized) materials.

Unexpectedly, the poster has become a centerpiece of campus culture, showing an unquantifiable increase in brand value long after the campaign had already exceeded expectations. The president of the university ordered an additional printing of 5,000 posters to be given to faculty and students. Today, they decorate classrooms, hallways, and dorm rooms.