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TPR 5/19/21: Why texts for college success haven't scaled well

TPR 5/19/21: Why texts for college success haven't scaled well
By Mark Tosczak • Issue #19 • View online
2-minute read
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Why texts for college success haven't scaled well
A decade ago, researchers demonstrated that text messages to prospective college students could increase the percentage who made it to college in the fall, rather than “melting” away in the summer — often due to obstacles such as a lack of financial resources.
Since then, state and national campaigns have failed to have the same positive impact on college enrollment. Several factors seem to be involved.
  • The original campaigns connected students to advisors. Some of the bigger campaigns forego one-on-one help and just send text messages, which by themselves may not be enough.
  • State and national agencies sending text messages may be less trusted than an individual college or college counselor a prospective student already has a relationship with.
  • Successful text campaigns had highly personalized campaigns, based on factors such as the completion status of a student’s financial aid form. Larger campaigns often lacked that tailoring.
In addition, students also receive many more texts from companies and organizations now than they did 10 years ago.
The lesson here? Just adopting a tactic is a poor way to replicate successful campaigns. It’s important to understand all the nuances that made the prototype campaign successful and to make adjustments over time as the market environment changes.
Upcoming issues:
  • Going green, social values and the hazards of brands citing social values
  • Does the number of views provide social proof or trigger the bandwagon effect?
  • What you need to know about picky shoppers
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Mark Tosczak

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