U.S. Journal of Academics
  usjournal.communiqué: eRecruitment Trends and Techniques
January 2005 
Torment Your Customers: A Guiding Principle?

As we transition from 2004 to 2005, we reflect on the past and hope for the best in the future. Last year, our most popular click-through link from all nine of our usjournal.communiques was Harvard Business Review's Torment Your Customers (They'll Love It). This year, perhaps our biggest hope revolves around the United States re-establishing itself as the premier education destination for the world's best and brightest students.

Is there a connection between these two particular elements of our past and future?

Remarkably, yes. It seems as though Stephen Brown's HBR piece -- and three of his five fundamental truths of retromarketing -- have (unwittingly) served as the guiding principles for the United States' international education policy over the past few years:

1. Customers crave exclusivity (i.e., Beanie Babies). Retromarketing deliberately holds back supplies (of visa approvals?) and delays gratification. As Brown notes, It allows buyers to luxuriate in the belief that they are the lucky ones, the select few, the discerning elite.

2. Retro revels in mystery and intrigue (i.e., Harry Potter). If it engages the customer in even just a moment of consideration of the product (What are the code words for a successful interview during the student visa application process?), secrecy helps to sell.

3. The hot ticket or cool item is amplified (i.e., P.T. Barnum's snake oil). Brown says it best: There's nothing like a little outrage to attract attention and turn a tiny advertising spend into a megabudget monster.

So, what are the final two principles that do not (yet) apply to the international student recruitment industry? 4. To entertain (i.e., the old record producers' trick of planting hidden messages between tracks), and 5. To thrive on cleverness (i.e., the gregarious, round-buying barfly in the way-cool club is actually an employee of a liquor company).

Brown's conclusion offers hope: ...research shows that many of the marketing coups of recent years have been far from customer centric. Or at least, the successes have proceeded from a deeper understanding of what people want than would ever emerge from the bowels of a data mine. Customers do not want us to prostrate ourselves in front of them and promise to love them, till death do us part. They'd much rather be teased, tantalized, and tormented by deliciously insatiable desire. It's time to get back to an earlier marketing era, to the time when marketers ruled the world with creativity and style.

The critical question is whether these apparent guiding principles will serve us well, into the future. Results will be mixed, as different cultures react differently to policies and actions. Stay tuned.

For Advertisers: Announcements / Improvements

Ensure that your Excel Reports by-pass your campus spam blockers: A few advertisers have noticed that they no longer receive our Excel Reports of prospective students who specifically requested information about their programs. These compilations are automatically generated, according to student preferences, a few minutes after midnight on the first day of each month (or the first day of each quarter, depending on advertiser preference). If any advertiser did not receive a report of your latest activity on 1 January 2005, let me know:

Please add the domain to your address book or contact list, to ensure that our timely messages are not filtered by spam blockers. If you have questions about spam filters, please call or e-mail your technical support team, and ask how you can be sure to receive all messages from us.

SSL Secure Server Certificate: In the interest of universal accessibility, we resisted encrypting our student inquiry form. Now that encryption technology has gotten friendlier, and now that students are requesting secure connections, we've decided to enable this security measure. Our dedicated server's SSL Secure Certificates will be compatible with 99 percent of the Web browsers being used by today's Internet users worldwide. Contact Cheryl for details.

Minor modification to our Inquiry Form: Based on advertiser feedback, we edited our student inquiry form to request more specific information in the Comment section. It now reads Comments: (Please include the name of the school you most recently attended, and if it is accredited). Student responses appear in the advertisers' Excel Reports, and also on the eMessages sent to advertisers a few minutes after the student clicks Submit on our form.

Cross Promotions: Upcoming Recruitment Fairs
  • International Center for Education Inc.: ICE's fairs are based on targeted local market penetration, media blitzes, local political support and pricing packages that start at only $1,950. For details, contact Husain Neemuchwala, ph 905-785-0764,, or
    • Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Pune: 8-14 February 2005

  • Romanian International University Fair is slated for 2 April 2005 in Bucharest. In addition to meeting with promising students and graduates (more than 2,500 expected), admissions counselors will also be able to interact with officials of the Ministry of Education and of the most distinguished Romanian high schools and universities. Exhibitors’ packages start at $1,100. For details, contact Alexandru Ghita, ph +40-745-024-469,, or
    • Bucharest: 2 April 2005

  • The 3rd Annual EducationUSA Fair, Chile is the only educational fair sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Chile, as well as the Chilean Ministry of Education, the Fulbright Commission, and other governmental agencies. It is especially designed so that U.S. recruiters can reach the highest number of potential students in Chile, by including the cities of Santiago, Valparaiso, and Concepcion, thus covering 70 percent of Chile's total population. Contact Maya Dafinova,, or see
    • Santiago, Valparaiso, and Concepcion: 19-22 April 2005's Participation in Upcoming Events

WIEC, Washington, DC, 24-25 January: The Washington International Education Conference hopes to bring together Embassy Education Attachés, relevant U.S. federal officials, and U.S. international admissions reps. We'll be there.

AACRAO, New York City, 30 March (International Day): Please let us know if you'd like to meet during the AACRAO Conference in New York City.

NAFSA, Seattle, 1 June: Plan to attend our all-new eRecruitment Session scheduled for Wednesday morning at the NAFSA Conference.

About us
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