Smarter DM strategy packs classrooms and boosts ROI by 25%

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University is one of the world’s top business schools and a world leader in providing executive education, offering more than 45 programs. As the “for profit” department of the University, executive education contributes significant operating revenues that are critical to funding general education and overhead.

Client Challenge

After the tech bust and 9/11, the market for executive education declined and Kellogg began to see significant softening of their enrollments. Kellogg had long relied on direct mail to create both demand and conversion, but they were not utilizing proven DM techniques and did not have a database that allowed them to understand who was attending their classes (job title or function) or what kinds of companies or industries were represented.


Recognizing the need for a comprehensive solution, Diamond Communication Solution conducted a thorough analysis of Kellogg’s customer data to create a “best customer” profile by program. We targeted key people, companies and industries, and evaluated all direct marketing materials to make recommendations for improvement. Our analysis showed that we could clearly identify Kellogg’s best customers by SIC and geography, and that each class attracted executives at different points in their career and at different management levels. With these insights, we were able to better target lists and write more personalized, more relevant copy. In addition, we learned that seasonality and lead time were extremely important in converting demand to attendance, and we rescheduled the marketing program to coincide with natural booking cycles. We also developed an international marketing strategy to reach the global companies who participate in Kellogg programs.

A+ Results

The results Diamond Communication Solution delivered for the Kellogg School would earn an A+ in any classroom: a 30% increase in class occupancy
and a $34:$1 direct marketing ROI—a 25% improvement.

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