Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… December 2012

December greetings to subscribers old and new, with a special hello to people
who signed on at the AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education last
month. Welcome.

The latest installment of my secret shopping email
marketing review is online at with notes on 13 emails from
mid-October to early November. As we have seen since inquiries were made at 6
schools in New York and New England in June, quality varies. My favorite subject
line in this group: a reference to Hurricane Sandy as an “inclement weather”

The Honor Roll of blessedly brief online inquiry forms expanded
in November with additions from Wisconsin Lutheran College and Drexel
University. Links to both examples together with the original list of six are at

Mark your calendar now. The
J.Boye Web and Intranet conference returns to Philadelphia May 7-9. This is a
great place to share ideas with people from inside and outside higher education.
Follow the program as it develops at

As the holiday season
approaches, best wishes to everyone for a happy time of celebration with family
and friends.

And now, here are your marketing news and notes for
NSSE Survey Results for

Results of the 2012 National Survey of Student Engagement were
released in November. About 285,000 freshmen and seniors at 546 colleges and
universities in the U.S. participated.

Marketers will want to pay special
attention to the importance of jobs and career advancement to the selection of
academic majors. STEM majors placed a higher priority on career success than
most other students. Ethnic differences were high as well.

The report
includes a roster of the participating institutions. If your school is listed,
be sure to ask for a copy of your results. Then compare what your students say
about their experience with how that experience is presented on your website and
in your view book. The closer the match, the better your chance for success in
reality marketing.

Download your copy of the 50-page PDF report at

The War is Over: ACE Starts Study to
Award Credit for MOOCs

Once upon a very short time ago there was
still great debate in academe over the legitimacy of online learning. How that
has changed in just a year or so is evident in an announcement from American
Council on Education that it will undertake a study to determine the “academic
potential” of online courses.

Can you read between the lines? With
Harvard, MIT, Stanford and more committed to online learning, the outcome of the
ACE study is predictable. Soon we will have a finding that will ratify what is
already obvious. Online courses will become an increasing part of the curriculum
at nearly every college and university.

If there is not already a
discussion at your school about how to award credit to students of every age who
complete a MOOC, it is time to get that started. More details of the ACE plan at

Higher Education and Public

Higher education often takes a “trust us” response to questions
about the validity of costs, programs, and outcomes. In that context, we do not
need revelations that well-known universities are cooking the data reported to
US News and World Report for the annual ratings issue.

The latest
admission comes from George Washington University. For about 10 years, GWU has
inflated the percent of new students who rank in the top 10 percent of their
high school class. Most recently, the number reported was 78 percent instead of
58 percent. That’s a nasty addition to recent examples reported from Emory
University and Claremont McKenna College.

US News is optimistic that
schools now are paying more attention to data integrity. For the sake of
preserving as much public trust as possible, let us hope that is true.

More on the GWU example at

Digital Advertising

Whether you are already advertising online or thinking about
starting a program, take a few minutes to review the 40 items in the Digital
Advertising Master Glossary from Website Magazine.

My question: will CPC
pricing become common for banner advertising in the future, replacing the now
standard CPM?

See how many you already know when you visit

Responsive Design for Email

Chris Studabaker compares 9 email examples in desktop and
mobile responsive versions in a column worth visiting at

Check your emails soon. As
Chris notes, there are few best practice examples. But what is likely certain is
that an email that looks fine and is easy to read on a desktop, laptop or tablet
computer is not likely to look as well on a smartphone. The 5-second rule
applies: if people cannot connect with your email message in 5 seconds or less,
your email marketing effectiveness will
NY Times Highlights College

“The Old College Try? No Way” in yesterday’s Sunday
Styles section of the NY times highlights the usual handful of college drop-out
who are now millionaires and beyond and others who have dropped out to seek
similar success. Chances of many people doing that seem similar to winning an
equivalent jackpot lottery but hope springs eternal. The article is online at

In the second half of the
article lurks perhaps a more important section on the movement to acquire a
substantial dose of college-level learning from a variety of sources, whether
you get a degree or not. Dale Stephens, for instance, dropped out of Hendrix
College, won a $100,000 Thiel Fellowship and started UnCollege to extend the
exploration of college alternatives.

Call me crazy, but I suspect that
UnCollege represents another step in the continued weakening of traditional
higher education. Most of today’s 5 and 8 year olds may still want a degree in
10 years. But they will not expect to earn it in anything resembling the usual
semester by semester four year quest to assemble 120 or so credits. Once upon a
time, after all, having a college degree was not a prerequisite to attending law

Visit the UnCollege website at

Facebook Ignores Ad Industry Privacy

To forestall government intervention in sensitive areas,
the ad industry creates voluntary guidelines that it hopes advertisers will
follow. And so the Digital Advertising Alliance has a guideline that it suggests
will help consumers understand the type of data that is being collected online
about them to use in behavioral targeting and allow them to opt out of tracking.
Privacy, after all, is a growing concern for many.

Facebook has an
alternative system that requires more steps to use than the DAA

Learn more about why the DAA is not happy with Facebook at

How is Your Twitter

I stopped paying attention to Klout when it reported I was
influential about Steve Jobs after a single tweet after his death. On the other
hand it can be fun to compare results from one source with those from another.
If you agree, try yourself or your school on TweetLevel at

TweetLevel will rank you as
a Viewer, Commentator, Curator, Idea Starter or Amplifier. I placed on the
borderline between Idea Starter and Amplifier. Follow my higher education
marketing tweets at

20 Most Shared Video Ads of

Advance note: none of these are for higher education.
Nonetheless, take a moment to scan the 20 and enjoy your favorites, from the
bizarre and unexpected to Coke Zero. Numbers 6 and 19 were my favorites. Yours
will likely differ.

Getting someone to share something on social media is
the holy grail of desired results. To help your efforts, see what worked best in
video in 2012 at

Most Popular Topic in the November
Newsletter: World University Rankings

The most visited item in the
November newsletter was a new Times Higher Education ranking of 400 universities
from around the world. Search for your university at

Conferences and Webinars in

Look for the first of these in the January newsletter in the New

Expand the marketing skills of people on your campus. Host a campus
workshop on any of my conference presentation topics or “Writing Right for The
Web.” Scan the presentation topics at

Contact me at or call me at 248.766.6425 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 248.766.6425 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
All for Now

Be a marketing champion on your campus.

Johnson, Ph.D. (
Bob Johnson
Consulting, LLC

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