While Students Live Online, Colleges Live in the Past, Says Recruiting Expert
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 screaming." 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 Milwaukee. 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.
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