I have just launched a college admissions program with Tufts University that completely avoids a traditional viewbook.
Before you assume I’m a complete radical you should know that I’ve got a project rolling out for another client that features a large, beautiful viewbook. I’m very excited about that one too. For me, marketing solutions are situational. No solution is right for every circumstance. The viewbook should do wonders for my one client while Tufts, I hope, will thrive without one.
We didn’t just eliminate the viewbook for Tufts. We got rid of the entire suite of traditional admissions publications. There is no search brochure, visit brochure, financial aid brochure, mailing postcards, as well as no viewbook. They are all gone. Finito.
What we replaced them with is not a radically new idea. It’s been around for a few years. We created an admissions magazine that will be produced trice annually and mailed to everyone in the admissions funnel. This saves enormous cost and direct-mail headaches. A printer with a high-speed web-press spits out the magazine in two weeks and mails it the next day. A great advantage of the magazine approach is that it enables us to be much more responsive to changes and trends at the university. We don’t need to wait for a semi-annual viewbook update to feature a new program. We can simply feature it in the next issue of the magazine.
I would never have gone down this road if I could not simultaneously realize another, ultimately more important, goal – integration of the Tufts Web and print marketing campaigns. Our new magazine, entitled Jumbo, can be found both in-print and on-line at the brand new Tufts Admissions Website. Everything hinges on the user friendly CMS produced by my colleagues as Fastspot, and provided to Tufts through Door. No. 2. This CMS enables the magazine’s writers and the entire admissions staff to regularly update content without any help from IT. The CMS offers a platform for building social media community around Tufts admissions. So, no, print is not made obsolescent in the new era of Web-based marketing, but it does change its stripes. Print becomes more flexible, streamlined, and nimble. It reflects the tone and pace of the Web which is becoming the pace of our world. Jumbo is our attempt to keep one institution up with the trends. Let’s see how it fares.