Your Higher Education Marketing Newseletter… February 2010

February has arrived, telling us that 2010 is well underway and the recruitment cycle for traditional freshmen is nearing the final months. Spring arrives not long from now, a most pleasant prospect.

Two webinars are set for April. We start with “Web Analytics for Enrollment Success” at and continue with “Writing Right for the Web” at

Here are your marketing news and notes for February.
Yale and YouTube: A New Admissions Approach

Watch this video and ask yourself the question: would my school use song and dance to explain why students picked my school? Would your version get 334,000+ views?

See the latest in 16 minute Ivy League admissions videos at
Fast Track Applications: Questioning the Motivation

The NY Times took note last month of 100+ public and private sector schools spending increased admission dollars on “fast-app” mailings to high school seniors.

Mentioned in the article are Marquette, RPI, University of Minnesota, University of the Pacific and several others. The pre-completed, no-fee applications sent to seniors have resulted in large increases in applications pools.

Marketing goals vary from increased selectivity and ethnic and geographic diversity to more national awareness and, the Times suggests, higher US News rankings.

The article compares the practice to pre-approved credit-card invitations and cites “white lies” about the exclusivity of the mailings. It also reports enrollment results at the College of St. Rose that are positive enough for the enrollment management officer to call the program “priceless.”

The story is at
Apps Surge at Elite Schools as Admissions Budgets Shrink

If your reputation is strong enough you do not need more applications and reducing your admissions budget, especially for travel, will not have a negative impact on your applicant pool. Harvard travel dollars are down 50 percent and Brown by 30 percent. Applications have soared.

Bloomberg news service reports the details for record applications for 2010 admission for Harvard, Stanford, Brown, Chicago and several other top tier schools at
134 Higher Education TV Ads

Planning to add TV advertising to your marketing mix? Just like to watch TV ads?

Elizabeth Scarborough has started a collection of college and university TV ads with 134 entries so far at

If you have a TV ad that is not there now, why not upload it soon?
101 5-Minute Steps to a Better Website

If you need proof that incremental changes can improve your website, take time to scan through this list and plan your web enhancement activities over the next few months.

Start with 19 writing tips and go on to 5 other categories: usability, SEO, accessibility, design and legal. Truly, there is something for everyone here.

Give yourself a score for what is already done or in progress when you visit
Ready for the Splinternet?

Groundswell researchers are reporting the end of 15 “golden age” Internet years when everything was nicely integrated. In the future, say these usually wise folk, we will not have things as easy as we have had them in the past.

Marketing communicators had best take note. If this is correct, we have to learn new ways to do web analytics, search engine optimization, online advertising and more. Why has the Internet splintered? Blame the variety of social media and mobile devices now in play.

A synopsis of the report is at
Williams College Drops “No-Loan” Policy

InsideHigherEd reported yesterday that Williams College is dropping the “no loan” policy for financial aid awards, effective with the entering class in fall 2011. The announcement was made Sunday. That is a not surprising result of decreases in endowment revenue and other fiscal challenges. Will other “no loan” schools follow Williams?

As of Monday night, the Williams website had not quite caught up. Read about the “no loan” policy at but do not get the wrong idea if you are a high school junior this year.
Does “Branding” Work on the Web?

Do you make a special effort on your website to make sure people find what they want to find when they visit (the academic programs offered, the real cost of enrolling, the academic profile of people who attend)?

Or do you insist on telling visitors what you think they should know about you?

Branding on the web is all about creating the right experience for your visitors.

Gerry McGovern writes about the perils of annoying web visitors at
Congrats to University Presidents in Oregon

Presidents of public universities in Oregon are taking pay cuts and freezing salaries.

The step is no doubt symbolic in the face of overall financial challenges, but the higher education sector can use more symbolism like this in the months ahead after a recent Chronicle of Higher Education report on a continuing trend to higher salaries.

Check what is happening at various schools as reported by The Oregonian at
Myths and Realities: Teen Media Use

Nielsen reviews the differences and similarities between teens and adults. Time spent on TV, radio, and the Internet might not be as different as conventional wisdom has us think.

Check a quick summary at and move from there to download the 17-page PDF report.
Mobile Marketing: Controlling Expectations

Yes, mobile marketing is growing in importance and marketers should not ignore it.

However, it is important to balance the actions of “early adopters” with those of most other people and keep expectations under control while we plan activities in this new sector.

Read the ReadWriteWeb report that 76 percent of people do not use their mobile phones to access the web. (Higher for teens but not yet 40 percent.) Mobile users will increase but the difficult question is “how far and how fast?”

More including pro and con comments is at
Future of Marketing Communications

If you like to think ahead 10 to 15 years, then do not miss the NY Times article that imagines how 2-year old children will communicate not long from now.

That is not the only learning point. Equally important is the finding that important generation gaps in how people communicate are only a few years apart. If you think you know what works for a 17-year old, do not be silly and assume that it will work for a 14-year old three years from now.

Get ready for the future at
Time on Social Networks per Person: What Country Leads

A quick-to-scan ClickZ chart lists the top 10 countries around the world. No, the United States does not lead. Japan is last.

Find the leader and the rest at
My Upcoming Presentations in 2010

Share questions and answers with people like yourself who are building a competitive edge in higher education marketing. Join me for one or more of these events.

February 2, ACT: “Social Media in Marketing Communications,” Lansing, MI

April 7, Magna Publications Webinar: “Web Analytics for Enrollment Success.” Program details and registration at

April 20, Academic Impressions Webinar: “Writing Right for the Web.” Check the outline and register at

June 3-4, Education Dynamics Aslanian Group Seminar, Marketing to Adult Students, Chicago, IL

July 21-23, ACT Enrollment Planners Conference, Chicago, IL

July 26-28, eduWeb2010, Chicago, IL Follow the conference program as it grows at

Increase ROI from your online marketing. Expand the writing, editing, and search marketing skills of people on your campus. Host a campus workshop on online marketing.

Contact me at
That’s All for Now

Be a marketing champion on your campus.

Bob Johnson, Ph.D. (
President and Senior Consultant
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC

Increase your online marketing success with these 6 services.

• Customer Carewords Research with Gerry McGovern
• Writing Right for the Web On-Campus Workshops
• Marketing Communications Website Review
• Competitive Website Reviews
• Content Copywriting Services
• Usability Analysis

Start now at

One Comment

  1. Bob,
    Enjoy your newsletter — lots of interesting things to read and think about.
    When my colleagues and I first saw the new Yale college admissions video a couple of weeks ago, some people said they loved it simply for its creativity, while others thought that Yale deserved credit for trying something new. Furthermore, the video sparked a great conversation about the state of higher ed marketing and social media’s impact on the industry.
    If you’d like, you can check out our blog, Logical Juice, to read our full take on Yale’s experiment:
    Ashley Sterne
    Media Logic

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