Generation Z

Connecting With Students In A Digital-First World

Just as colleges and universities swiftly implemented new ways to provide academic continuity for enrolled students during the COVID-19 pandemic this spring, higher ed admissions offices have found themselves mastering new skills as well. Constantly changing messaging, remote recruiting and virtual events – online student recruitment? You are already there.

The shift has been seismic for prospective students well. High school sophomores and juniors can’t help but feel sidelined themselves, as senior classmates graduate with very little pomp and circumstance. In these distant times, how can you connect with them in a more meaningful way?

CustomViewbook was designed to help students focus on how education can bring their hopes and dreams closer to reality – even the current one. Answering the questions about your institution that continue to be top of mind – what’s here for me, how can I make it happen, and where can I go from here – CustomViewbook allows you to email personalized content to engage, inform and reassure each prospective student.

A few things to keep in mind when helping your Generation Z prospects find their way in this season of uncertainty:

  • They’re digital natives accustomed to having things personalized for them, from playlists and newsfeeds to all kinds of product features. Help them feel seen with specific, dynamic, customized communication.
  • They aren’t excited about more frequent emails – just more relevant ones.
  • They’re pragmatic and rethinking what’s possible all the time. You can take a segmented approach to offer individualized options, such as regional campaigns that focus on local alternatives for college.
  • They’re cautious marketing targets. Authentic, brief and direct subject lines and calls-to-action give them the confidence that you can be trusted.

Whether capturing stealth shoppers on your website or from social media, or strategizing email campaigns that cut through the clutter and deliver meaningful engagement, we are here to help! Contact Mary Pannullo (mary.pannullo@customviewbook.com) for an informative demo.

At UIC The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Creativity Drives Student Engagement

When Jannie Kirby accepted her post as Director of Communications and Marketing at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC LAS), she set out to support the recruitment team by adding a digital experience that prospective students could not refuse!

Jannie worked with her Student Affairs group and CustomViewbook to tackle one of the main challenges that many Liberal Arts schools have – capturing the attention of Gen Z prospective students who have interest in the liberal arts, but may be concerned about career preparedness and a viable post-college path. Together, Jannie, with input from LAS’s Career Development folks, created a Viewbook experience that brings alive the spirit and depth of their diverse programs and vibrant campus life, while providing academic content that underscores the ‘real-world’ value of a liberal arts and sciences education. This content includes inspiring student testimonials, faculty videos, alumni career profiles, experiential learning and internship highlights, and information about minors that can offer a pragmatic complement to a liberal arts’ major.

So far, LAS’s CustomViewbook has proven to be a big hit with prospective students and the recruitment team alike! Jannie noted, “We had a fall Open House and were really pleased with the student enthusiasm for CustomViewbook. The recruitment team really made it a fun event with large banners and signage with QR codes, snippets of student testimonials to encourage prospective students to explore our majors, and chances to win prizes with a ‘Wheel of Fortune’-styled giveaway for those who created their own Viewbook. We captured over 426 new leads through face to face interactions, alone.

“We are really happy with the level of enthusiasm we’ve seen to date. We are not merely pushing info. Students are telling us what interests them the most, which is a great setup for more meaningful dialogue with advisors. We were surprised by some of the most popular areas of interest under ‘Campus Life’, which in turn has informed our web content and communications efforts. We’re incorporating the ViewBook into our social media outreach as well.  It’s exciting to see the number of repeat visitors grow and gain new insights about student preferences. For us, CustomViewbook has been a great addition to our lead nurturing and yield efforts, and we are excited to be leveraging digital technology, creative storytelling, and a tailored student experience to reach Gen Z. They’ve pretty much grown up with digital.  We want to connect with them using a customized approach that they understand and can fully appreciate.”

To learn more about how CustomViewbook can help you capture high value leads and drive lead nurturing and yield efforts, contact Mary.Pannullo@customviewbook.com

Reduce Print Costs: Striking the Balance Between Print and Digital in Higher Ed Admissions’ Marketing

The trends vary. While every institution has their own take on the strategic use of print pieces for prospective students, each grapple with the same considerations. What is the right balance between print and digital? Where in the recruitment cycle? What kind of pieces? Does Generation Z even look at print? Is it really just for parents?

In our Gen Z Labs user testing sessions, the students are pretty adamant. They only prefer print pieces:

  • if they asked for it
  • if the information is specifically relevant to their interests
  • if it’s brief, factual – not too ‘salesy’
    *Oh, and they like stickers, too.

Our CVB Clients tell us that print is here to stay, though how they use it is evolving. Many are shifting away from expensive, one-size-fits-all print viewbooks. Instead, they start the recruitment cycle with inexpensive print pieces (postcards, tri-fold brochures) inviting prospective students to create their own CustomViewbooks. Once more qualifying information about the prospective student is captured, a targeted print piece is sent, with content relevant to the prospect’s interest. For many of our clients, this streamlined approach has resulted in reduced print production costs.

“CustomViewbook has played a significant role in reducing our print costs. We don’t use very much print anymore, and are making our main piece even smaller. Our bigger main piece is for out-of-state. Our smaller bread-and-butter pieces are driving students to create their own CustomViewbook. When we have VIP visitors to campus, we print out the Viewbook itself.”

“Print is here to stay but its purpose is changing. Because there is a big shift to digital, we use print pieces as something special and extra-personal to get. We use them less often.”

“There are shifts happening but not as quickly as you’d might expect. People are still using quite a bit of print, maybe shorter pieces and not as frequently.”

We get it – print and digital communications should work hand-in-hand!  CustomViewbook has two customizable print designs available for our clients, (a hand-out piece and a self-mailer), each working to build awareness and drive prospects to create their own CVB.  And, we can help clients track the effectiveness of these print campaigns with specific source URLs.

Want to learn more about how CustomViewbook can help make your print strategy more effective? Contact Mary Pannullo (mary.pannullo@customviewbook.com) and schedule a demo, now.

 

Prospective Student Engagement Is Energized and Riding High at USC Dornsife

There is nothing that pleases us more than hearing great, positive feedback from our wonderful Clients. We were really excited to hear from Mark Kveton, Assistant Director of Admissions at USC Dornsife, whose team has been getting some powerful results with their CustomViewbook.

“Custom Viewbook has created a new dynamic in how we connect with our prospective students. We’ve seen value in using it in all aspects of the admissions cycle, and we continue to think of new ways to get the word out about this resource. It has created a “buzz” during on and off campus presentations. The curiosity it sparks with students, parents, and even counselors enhances our ability to provide personal engagement with our educational community.”

“We are doing some ViewbookBlasts email campaigns this month and are really pleased with these targeted campaigns. Our recent campaign to admitted students resulted in almost instantaneous engagement. 100 out of 400 students opened and clicked thru within the first 2 hours; 200 students within 24 hours!”

ViewbookBlasts Email Campaign:

  • Over 400 Admitted potential First Year / Merit Scholarship Candidates
  • Broken out over 8 categories based on Academic areas & majors
  • Within 2 hours of sending out, we have seen over 100 Click thru’s (25%)
  • 200 within 24 hours! (50% Click thru rate in 24 hours)

Mark was willing to share a bit of how they have been able to achieve that kind of engagement, “We get students excited about CustomViewbook during our presentations and in conversations with students. They’re really interested in this resource and are looking forward to making their own by the time they get the email from us – even before they go to our website.”

Mark and his team are full steam ahead, using insights from their dashboard when presenting Academic and Campus/Student Life topics of interest to students; using the Multi-Source URL links to track specific campaigns; and directing students to edit their CustomViewbook as many times as they like.

Fun Fact: “We had one student return to their CustomViewbook 26 times. We’ll see if he becomes enrolled!”

We would love to show you how the CustomViewbook online experience, ViewbookBlasts, the Recruiter App for iPad adds up to high impact student engagement – and outstanding results for our Admissions and Recruitment clients.  Contact Mary.Pannullo@CustomViewbook.com to schedule an informative demo!

 

 

Reduce Print Costs: Striking the Balance Between Print and Digital in Higher Ed Admissions’ Marketing

The trends vary. While every institution has their own take on the strategic use of print pieces for prospective students, each grapple with the same considerations. What is the right balance between print and digital? Where in the recruitment cycle? What kind of pieces? Does Generation Z even look at print? Is it really just for parents?

In our Gen Z Labs user testing sessions, the students are pretty adamant. They only prefer print pieces:

  • if they asked for it
  • if the information is specifically relevant to their interests
  • if it’s brief, factual – not too ‘salesy’
    *Oh, and they like stickers, too.

Our CVB Clients tell us that print is here to stay, though how they use it is evolving. Many are shifting away from expensive, one-size-fits-all print viewbooks. Instead, they start the recruitment cycle with inexpensive print pieces (postcards, tri-fold brochures) inviting prospective students to create their own CustomViewbooks. Once more qualifying information about the prospective student is captured, a targeted print piece is sent, with content relevant to the prospect’s interest. For many of our clients, this streamlined approach has resulted in reduced print production costs.

“CustomViewbook has played a significant role in reducing our print costs. We don’t use very much print anymore, and are making our main piece even smaller. Our bigger main piece is for out-of-state. Our smaller bread-and-butter pieces are driving students to create their own CustomViewbook. When we have VIP visitors to campus, we print out the Viewbook itself.”

“Print is here to stay but its purpose is changing. Because there is a big shift to digital, we use print pieces as something special and extra-personal to get. We use them less often.”

“There are shifts happening but not as quickly as you’d might expect. People are still using quite a bit of print, maybe shorter pieces and not as frequently.”

We get it – print and digital communications should work hand-in-hand!  CustomViewbook has two customizable print designs available for our clients, (a hand-out piece and a self-mailer), each working to build awareness and drive prospects to create their own CVB.  And, we can help clients track the effectiveness of these print campaigns with specific source URLs.

Want to learn more about how CustomViewbook can help make your print strategy more effective? Contact Mary Pannullo (mary.pannullo@customviewbook.com) and schedule a demo, now.

 

New Features, Generation Z Reports, Super-soft T-shirts: 2018 NACAC National Conference in Salt Lake City – Here We Come!

Hello All! 

We are excited about the upcoming Annual NACAC Conference in Salt Lake City this month from September 27 through 29. If you are in Admissions, Marketing Communications or Enrollment Management, be sure to stop by and visit us at Booth #208.

Come demo the CustomViewbook platform, including the Recruiter App for iPad and ViewbookBlasts. There are new features to show you, new demos – and rock-solid client results:

Client data shows: Prospective students who create their own CustomViewbook are, on  average, 4.5X more likely to enroll than the rest of the prospect pool.

Participants will receive insightful reports – candid feedback straight from college-bound Generation Z high school juniors and seniors in our “Generation Z College Search Report” and “Generation Z and CustomViewbook.” And, one of our famous, super-soft t-shirts.

In the meantime, you can check out some Client Demos here.

We can’t wait to see you in Salt Lake City at #NACAC18!

Safe Travels!

 

Generic Email = “Eewww”

How To Cut Through the Clutter and Grab the Attention of Generation Z   

In our recent GenZ Labs User Testing Group, we asked college-bound juniors and seniors, “Do you receive emails from colleges and universities?

Their answers were quite impassioned:

“My inbox is flooded with emails from other colleges. I don’t even look at my emails now. So much clutter.”

“A lot of the email feels like generic information – they are not targeting you. It feels like they copy and paste a template and feels very generic. Eeewww.”

“If the information is not targeted for me – or pertaining to me in any way – it is not important. It’s like, ‘No Thanks,’ You’re just spamming up my email.”

We understand the challenge of actively engage Generation Z students.

Providing opportunity for a simple, immediate exploration of your offerings, with follow-up that is student-interest driven, personalized and authentic – is key.

That is exactly how we designed, and continue to evolve, the CustomViewbook platform. By keeping the end user experience in focus, our clients continue to get outstanding results.

Check it out for yourself! Contact Mary Pannullo to schedule a fast-paced, informative demo of CustomViewbook, including the Recruiter App for iPad and ViewbookBlasts. (mary.pannullo@customviewbook.com)

 

Summer 2018 – Hot, Super-Busy and Super Conference!

Hi Friends!    

We hope everyone has been able to carve out some time for rejuvenating R&R.
And that you’re staying as hydrated and cool as possible!

The CustomViewbook team has been super-busy these past few months.

A group of awesome new clients have come aboard; a new Advisory Panel has been established, helping guide us to an ever-smarter and effective recruitment platform; and lots of wonderful personal connections with Admissions, Marketing and Enrollment professionals across the country have been made.

A stand-out was at the 2018 Super Conference (NEACAC / NYSACAC) at the Marist College campus in Poughkeepsie, NY in June. Our fearless leader, James Horigan, EVP, co-presented with Robert Wyant, Director of Admissions at the College at Brockport. The gents had a standing-room only audience for
“Engage Z: Effective Digital Communications For Higher Ed Admissions And Marketing Professionals.”

Feedback was highly positive. We are so grateful for the encouragement and suggestions from participants.

“Provided many actionable suggestions, best session during conference. Give them a bigger space next year!”

For sure, we will be taking an even deeper dive into best practices to help our clients actively engage Generation Z student prospects.

Stay tuned for some great insights and feedback from our GenZ Labs User Testing Group. These college-bound high school juniors and seniors were very candid and specific about how they prefer to conduct the college search, and the kinds of personalized communication they prefer.

And always, contact Mary Pannullo to schedule a fun, fast-paced demo of the CustomViewbook platform including the Recruiter App for iPad and ViewbookBlasts.  (mary.pannullo@customviewbook.com)

Hang Ten!

 

On the Road Again…

A big part of why we love what we do is the great people we meet along the way. Our fearless leader, James Horigan, EVP, will be hitting the road for the first half of June, demoing the CustomViewbook platform as well as doing some presenting. James is super-cool and we love meeting you guys – so be sure to stop and say ‘Hello!’

First stop – The 50th Annual Conference of the Western Association for College Admissions Counseling (WACAC) from May 31 to June 2 in beautiful Monterey, California. This year’s theme is “Thriving in a Changing Environment.” We’re thrilled that the CustomViewbook platform had helped dozens of clients do just that. Stop by our booth for a chat with James and a demo of CustomViewbook, the Recruiter App for iPad and ViewbookBlasts. Participants will get one our famous, super-soft GenZ t-shirts!

Next stop – The first ever joint New England Association for College Admission Counseling (NEACAC) and New York State Association for College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC) Super Conference from June 6 to June 8, at the Marist College campus in Poughkeepsie, NY. James will be demoing at the Super Conference, as well as co-presenting with Robert Wyant, Director of Admissions at the College at Brockport.

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, June 6 at 3:15PM. You won’t want to miss “Engage Z: Effective Digital Communications for Higher Ed Admissions and Marketing Professionals.”

Coming Soon! Our recent GenZ Labs User Testing Group with college-bound juniors and seniors yielded fantastic feedback and insights.These GenZ students were impassioned, specific and quite certain about their likes and dislikes with the college search process. We’ll be sharing insights soon!

Want to check out the whole enchilada now?

Email Mary Pannullo (mary.pannullo@customviewbook.com) and she will schedule a demo of CustomViewbook, the Recruiter App for iPad and ViewbookBlasts for you.  The demos are  fun, fast-paced and provide great food for thought.

Travel safe and light!

 

 

Can Generation Z Save the Humanities?

They’re activists at heart. But can GenZ save The Humanities?

The decades-long debate over the value of a liberal arts education has recently been reignited, stoked by the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point plan to eliminate 13 humanities and social science majors in favor of funding more “productive” programs. Following decades of declining enrollment in the humanities, some policymakers argue that funding at public institutions should solely support STEM and business-related pursuits – majors that are seemingly more directly tied to employability and private sector needs.

Impassioned supporters of the humanities counter that many of the most productive and successful citizens began their academic lives with rigorous study of history, literature and the arts. They see a combination of skills drawn from the humanities, social sciences, business and STEM as vital to design and implement fully informed solutions for socio-economic progress, and to intelligently address complex world issues.

Humanities-or-not is a hot topic at family dinner tables, too. Stung by recession and highly debt-averse, Generation Z and their parents are much more likely to look at higher education through a cost-to-benefit lens and weigh an institution’s value through metrics like career preparedness and employability. Yet we also know that Z’ers are globally focused, motivated to solve societal problems at the root cause, and embrace diversity and cultural understanding – areas where the humanities play a vital role.

As higher education seeks to bridge the divide, we see that some of the most innovative solutions aren’t limited to an either/or scenario – they satisfy both schools of thought.  Forward-thinking colleges and universities are making the humanities a requirement of business degrees. Others offer students the flexibility to design-a-major, allowing self-directed, entrepreneurially-inclined GenZ students to combine studies that include the humanities, social sciences, business and STEM.

Across the academic spectrum, CustomViewbook helps higher education succeed in the balancing act. Aiming to address real-life concerns and nurture youthful aspirations, we work with clients to curate their offerings and show prospective students the possibilities ahead.

Beginning with the CustomViewbook wizard, student prospects set out on a path of exploration that’s as broadly or narrowly focused as they like. Once Academic and Student Life selections are made, each newly-qualified lead is immediately connected to content that’s crafted to reveal the realistic benefits of advanced learning.

We help every step of the way with options that add a practical focus to academic subjects, such as call-outs that underscore available internships and externships, along with companies who hire alumni – information that can transform a possible major into a real career path. In each Student and Campus Life section, we help clients showcase the resources, clubs and organizations, cultural events, athletics and more that make their institution special – aspects that can make all the difference in a student’s decision-making. The More Info section includes information students (and parents) need to know to take steps toward application, including costs, financial aid, scholarships, visiting campus and more.

By taking a deep dive into CustomViewbook content they select themselves – brought to life through photos, graphics, videos and authentic student stories – GenZ students are able to make the connection between their dreams, their realities and their college choices. When their natural interest in the humanities works hand-in-hand with the need to actually earn a living, the future looks especially bright.

Let’s talk about CustomViewbook’s ability to make a liberal arts education relevant in ways that resonate with GenZ. You’ll achieve more than upcoming admissions and enrollment goals – you may be preparing a generation of humanities advocates to take on the challenges of tomorrow.

Experience CustomViewbook for yourself – client demos are now online!