by Jim Stiles, CEO

It is not uncommon for a school, with a well known image and look, to want to stay with the images and message they have used in the past. If the picture of the clock tower on campus has become the mainstay image then why change it up? If the past dozen mailings used the clock tower image then why can’t the new cross media campaign just repeat it as well? Have you ever heard the saying “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result”? Unfortunately, I find that schools frequently fall into this trap. In today’s advertising world our readers are getting barraged with information and marketers must capture the reader’s attention in less than 6 seconds with a printed piece and 2 -3 seconds with a web landing page. So, is it possible that the old clock tower could be failing at the job?

Most marketing managers faced with this dilemma need to focus on what the goal of the campaign is. If the goal is simply wider brand recognition then the clock tower may be just the thing. If the goal is to get attention and solicit response from the reader then the clock tower needs to be replaced with a great “call to action” and some very eye catching quick bullet point messaging. My point is, if you are going to experiment and test new marketing tools like a cross media campaign then you may want to think about dumping the old tag line and image for a new look with powerful content.

This is especially true when you integrate variable content and imagery into a campaign. Now the message and imagery can be tailored to the recipient’s personal interests. How powerful is that? So, next time let’s try to lose the clock tower and stay away from the school logo or crest centered on a direct mailer. Be creative! Be diverse!