Sunday, February 1, 2009

It's always nice to see you - the advantages of a personal touch in marketing

Yesterday I attended the 50th Anniversary of the Mount Holyoke College Peninsula Club. In years past I was president of this group and we actually had an array of past (and present) presidents at the event. It was great to see so many friends - and to forge some deeper relationships wtih people I knew only slightly in my early days with the club.

As an added benefit to the afternoon event (and the delicious anniversary cake) Mount Holyoke sent along the new Executive Director of the alumnae association and the President of the Alum Assoc as well. It was an excellent marketing decision by the College to send the two women west.

The new Executive Director, this was her 30th day, was charming and made everyone feel comfortable that the association would be in good hands. The trials of a few years ago when the association seemed to be at war with the College is not something any of us want to see repeated. The rival direct mail letters alone were enough to make many say, I think I'll keep my checkbook closed that year.

The President of the Association did a fabulous job. She was incredibly knowledgeable about every aspect of the college - from the state of the endowment, what's going on with the faculty, how they are addressing students with financial issues and the new dorm (which remains nameless). She answered every question, validated every member for their input and inserted a few blatant and a few subtle pleas for contributions. She reminded everyone how urgent it is for everyone to make their annual donations and pleaded for contributions to the scholarship fund. I have a lot of respect for someone who can ask for money and not make everyone uncomfortable.

The afternoon ended well and I look forward to seeing more of both these women in the future.

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