While Students Live Online, Colleges Live in the Past, Says Recruiting Expert

Nov 08, 2004, 00:00 ET from TargetX

    BRISTOL, Pa., Nov. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The nation's colleges could save
 millions of dollars and communicate more effectively if they would only
 realize the students they're recruiting have no time for the printed word.
     That's the conclusion of TargetX CEO Brian Wm. Niles, a leading authority
 on using the Internet to recruit students.
     "Brochures and letters have all the appeal of black and white TV for the
 Millennial generation," says Niles, referring to the Internet-savvy youth born
 after 1981.
     "Admissions offices continue to spend most of their recruiting dollars on
 printing and postage while the young people they target are online -- checking
 their email, instant messaging their friends and getting their information
 from the Web," Niles added.
     A Harris poll recently found that 75 percent of the time students spend
 looking for the right college is spent online.
     "So all that money and effort colleges are putting into publications and
 telemarketing buys just 25 percent of students' attention," Niles said.  "That
 should send a chill up the spine of every college president and chief
 financial officer."
     Niles, who co-founded TargetX as an email marketing company in 1998,
 thinks higher education is on the verge of a marketing revolution.
     "Schools will rely less on direct mail and printed pieces and more on
 electronic tools like email and chat sessions," Niles predicted.  "But many
 traditional recruiters will be dragged to the revolution kicking and
     The disconnect between the way colleges continue to market themselves and
 the way today's students seek information prompted TargetX to launch the first
 Internet-only, student-recruiting agency.
     Called iRecruit, the agency was introduced to higher education
 professionals at last month's national conference of admission counselors in
     The new agency, which operates as a division of TargetX, offers unique
 communication planning that emphasizes Internet tools like email broadcasting
 and online chats.  In addition, it provides the creative services and
 technology necessary to make electronic recruiting as effective as possible.
     "iRecruit is the first one-stop shop for admissions officers who want to
 begin or enhance their online recruiting," said Niles.
     Research shows that the so-called Millennial generation, those born after
 1981, spend more time on the Internet than any other activity.  "That's where
 they get their information, check their mail and communicate with their
 friends," Niles said.