Rethinking marketing and recruitment to drive down costs

Increasing security and efficiency by restructuring campus print and mail operations

Print marketing is often an opportunity for improvement for higher ed institutions, particularly print mailings. What is the most common setup?
Recruitment typically begins with the purchase of lists of prospective students’ addresses. Ensuring those lists are accurate is a huge undertaking, especially when marketing leaders want to segment mailings by different criteria. For 95 percent of institutions, that verification process, as well as the mailing process itself, is outsourced to a retail supplier. In-house marketing teams at institutions are often swamped with projects, while retailers have the bandwidth to turn projects around very quickly. But with postage and adding up all the fees for handling, folding and address-correcting, a simple postcard can cost 13 to 19 cents each.

So what’s an alternative to outsourcing? How can institutions bring down print marketing costs?
Many institutions try to bring mail operations in house, but are unsuccessful. They make major hardware and software investments and could spend as much as $20,000 to $30,000 per month with very little output. They end up spending more money than they would have if they had outsourced. But there is a way to run a print shop at the institution and save money—with the right guidance. That same 13- to 19-cent postcard can be made for a penny.

Ricoh can help to improve university operations with its printing and mailing services. We help universities identify ways to reduce costs through consulting on key postage metrics. Nominal technology investments by the institution, such as a paper folder and envelope inserter, can eliminate manual labor. We also provide software that estimates how long a specific piece of mail will take to arrive, helping institutions plan ahead and avoid costly first-class postage. And the ROI on all of that technology is typically realized in less than two years.

Ricoh can provide insight and expertise to institutions who need a little guidance on getting started with a print shop or those looking at restructuring an existing operation, or Ricoh can staff and manage the whole print and mail center.

Security and compliance are always concerns for an institution. How can campus leaders ensure their mail center processes are as safe and secure as possible?
Students will often leave their P.O. boxes unsecure, making their mail—which can be anything from a check from grandma to a FERPA-sensitive document—easily accessible to potential thieves. The solution? Eliminate P.O. boxes. Ricoh’s mail center services store mail in a rolling file-folder infrastructure and electronically alert a student when they have mail. The mail is securely stored behind the counter and physically handed to the recipient or placed in an intelligent locker system that allows the student to retrieve the mail via a kiosk located within the mail center.

What about receiving and processing checks meant for the institution?
At too many institutions, checks are manually opened, the essential info is manually keyed into a CRM and then the check itself is stored with others and physically deposited at a bank by a staff member. Automating that process is the first step to increasing data security. With Ricoh’s managed services, our team lockboxes checks and digitizes the information without entering anything manually. Checks are swiftly deposited without a bank trip.

A sound accounts receivable process should also include an automated business rule to email or send a printed thank-you letter to the donor, so they know that the business office has a firm record that the check was received. On many levels, automation is key to sound business office operations.

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