Marketing Plan in the Great Recession

Fraternity uses Cheap Printing to Succeed!

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Marketing Plan in the Great Recession

Recently, my son, a sophomore in college, called and asked if we could help him do some marketing to increase his fraternity’s membership. You see, “rush” was fast approaching after Winter Break, and the fraternity really wanted to increase the brotherhood. Remember, the year is 2012, and the students in the fraternity, along with the rest of the University, are part of the Millennial Generation. These kids have been wired since a very young age, and grew up with MySpace, Facebook, texting and all the rest.

So what kind of marketing did the fraternity have in mind? Well, the fraternity had decided to do a little old fashioned marketing. The fraternity's marketing plan in the Great Recession was to mail a straightforward letter to the entire population of male freshman at the University during Winter Break. They composed a well written two sided letter explaining what was unique about their fraternity and fraternity house and sent out the mailing.

Well, lo and behold, the mailing produced results. To be honest, the fraternity paired the mailing with a new and more proactive approach to the “rush” process to improve the size of the rush class. Although the mailing itself isn’t responsible for all of the credit, the fraternity had a fantastic “rush” period in January, and signed up 22 pledges versus 11 the previous year. Many of the prospects mentioned the mailing when coming to the house to check it out. The bottom line is that the fraternity exceeded their expectations and is on a better growth path than before.

What are the lessons here for today’s marketers? There are several valid conclusions that can be drawn from this experience. First off, it makes sense to employ marketing to improve your growth, membership or what have you. Doing something beats doing nothing most of the time, so long as the strategy chosen is affordable and makes sense. Second, good paper based marketing is still effective, even with the Millennial Generation. It is fairly easy to execute and may be less expensive at times than electronic alternatives, so long as the marketing is targeted properly. Finally, when possible marketing should always be done from several angles simultaneously. This multifaceted approach usually works best.

You may not be responsible for increasing fraternity membership, but the importance of marketing in the Great Recession is not to be taken lightly.