Case Study: Oregon Tech Spark a Response Mailer

Industry: Education

The Challenge

Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) is a unique public polytechnic university whose students are educated in authentic, real-world situations from freshman year forward in labs, in the field and in workplace experiences. All of this happens in locations as varied as their academic programs and under a canopy of high accolades too numerous to list here.

As competition for the smartest and brightest students reaches a fever pitch, university recruiters looked for a new approach to identify and engage prospective students. As part of a comprehensive marketing plan, admissions needed an initial piece that could introduce the university to students who are at the beginning stages of researching colleges and considering career options. They wanted a device that could be returned with information, leading to building a relationship and maneuvering the prospect through the recruitment pipeline to ultimately select Oregon Tech.

Our Process

We met with Oregon Tech marketing and brainstormed some possible solutions, knowing that this would be a mailer geared toward 15-17 year-old high school students with STEM-related interests. Since SmithBates had been heavily involved with assisting in design and development of other promotional materials for the university, we already had a “look and feel” established and many resources to pull from. All we needed was to come up with an exciting piece that would make these students want to learn more.

Close-up of cover icons

Eye-catching photos

The team decided on a mailer that would be sent to a list of 10,000 prospects to begin with. The main item would be a small booklet that urged the viewer to “Be the spark that ignites your possibilities,” and included quick and easy to read facts about the university. This booklet was tucked into a clever response fold-over card that promised a “Tech-infused gift” if returned (in case you are curious, the gift is a really cool AR-enabled felt pennant). The booklet and card were inserted into a bright gold, full-window envelope. The “Get Cool stuff! Look inside!” and the recipient’s name and address was printed on the reverse side of the response card and viewed through the envelope window.

Results That Shine

It is still early for a full assessment, but according to the marketing team, “We have a TALL stack of response cards in Admissions, so I’d say it’s safe to say this campaign is effective!” The mailer really catches attention with its bright envelope, and the design and graphics tie seamlessly with other materials that will be seen in the future by those smartest and brightest that respond. It’s the power of seeing your name on a neat piece of mail and feeling a connection with its contents that could change the course of your life.

Clear Call to Action

As seen in a pile of mail

“Oregon Tech sees a lot of value in personalized student communications and we are very pleased with the initial response rate of this particular direct mail piece. The SmithBates’ MARCOM team provided a thoughtful design, and creative presentation, for a piece that will not get lost in the pile of mail that a prospective student receives.”Joel McPherson, Director of Marketing, Oregon Tech
537 Northern Heights Blvd., Klamath Falls, OR 97601 / 1.800.303.3714 /