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Campus card technology changes rapidly, but the card marketing remains stagnant

There we were, 10 years ago on-site at a New York community college campus, on a tour of their ID card office. The college was preparing to deploy the latest in card production, a dye-sublimation printer and digital-image capture system. But that day we were treated to a demonstration of the school’s existing card production system.

A diminutive card office employee led us to a piece of equipment nearly 30 years old–a massive Addressograph card/plate embossing machine. With a sudden burst of strength and skill she initiated a violent process that produced an embossed metal ID card. It looked far more like a military dogtag than it did a student ID.

In one of this month’s articles, we review the components of a modern card imaging system. It will become clear just how much has changed since the early systems, like the Addressograph I saw in New York or the laminated Polaroid photo badges that can still be found in far too many card offices today.

But in contrast to the major changes that have occurred in card production, very little has changed in how we market our card programs to our constituents. What are we doing to market our programs? The answer on most campuses is “not nearly enough.”

For most programs, there are little or no dollars dedicated to card marketing. As you prepare next year’s budget request, include some amount for marketing. Even if it is only a token amount (e.g. $500) set the precedent that your program needs to be marketed for it to succeed. It will make it easier to request more in future years. And review this month’s article on marketing your program to get an idea of where to begin.

Chris Corum, Editor • [email protected]

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