I needed a good “using technology for campus recruitment” site for e-rhetoric next fall. Here’s the one I was looking for: Campus Technology: Education Technology for Higher Education. It has everything: a magazine, a newsletter, a conference, a pr kit, advertising.
And it’s infused with a forward, in-your-face marketing ethos that’s easy to recognize. Listen to how Frank Tansey writes about a current trend (!) in eRecruiting Technologies (!!)
eRecruiting Tools Sweep In
In the world of higher education, one truth, at least, remains constant: Campuses are always looking for more effective ways to recruit and enroll new students. In fact, conferences are perennially teeming with tracks on recruiting and marketing, and the sessions in those tracks never fail to attract hefty attendance numbers.
In recent years, one of the hottest session topics has been the use of e-mail and the Web as recruiting tools. While it is the rare college or university that does not have a Web site, students frequently complain that the information they want is difficult to find. At the same time, students are increasingly expressing a preference for obtaining their information about a college via online communications. This expectation, however, goes well beyond the one-size-fits-all notion of a typical campus Web site. As is often the case, student expectations are for more services and information than many campuses now provide. They want accessible information tailored to their needs; they don’t want to sort through dozens of pages of information filled with links, in order to uncover the key information to help them make their college decisions. Rather, they want campuses to anticipate their needs and interests, which may be very different from the needs and interests of other students, and in many cases, very different from the perception the campus has of itself. Is this a tall order? Possibly, but savvy admissions pros are discovering that it’s an order well worth the effort.
What’s in order, according to Tansey, is more pull technology, but that’s not the interesting side of the article. It’s the case study of how a college re-crafted its identity, supported by an erecruitment technique: “targeted students began receiving short e-mails with links to more details on the campus Web site,” which then pulled them to the site. And here the military language is right up front: pools, targets, campaigns:
[I]n past years, the prospect pool was carefully pared to reduce brochure and mailing costs. With the new online recruiting tools, all prospective students who matched target criteria could be included in the campaign. Says Nostrand, “We are conducting campaigns we could not afford to, if they were direct mail.”
The intent is to “leverage information captured in their new eRecruiting systems.”
Lanham suggests that the reason bureaucratic language calls attention to itself stylistically is that bureaucrats want to be poets. The difference here is that poetic, like bureaucratic, language calls attention to its style. What here?