eduWeb13… 6 Higher Education Marketing notes that linger

Higher Education Marketing Notes from eduWeb13

Just back on Wednesday from the latest eduWeb conference in Boston. And here are some notes important to higher education marketers that linger in my memory from various keynote talks and presentations. A disclaimer: order of presentation doesn’t equal order of importance, just the way my memory is working as I write.
Presidents on Social Media Can be Magic for Your Brand
  • Presidents who take naturally to social media and make time to use it to engage in a personal way with students, faculty and the outside world at their university really do have a marketing impact on brand strength and more. That’s the major take-away from the opening address by Santa Ono, president at the University of Cincinnati. 
Responsive Design: Do Everything You Can to Cut Content First
  • The best presentation I’ve heard yet about a Responsive Design solution to get your website “mobile friendly” came from University of Vermont, “From Mobile Last to Mobile First: A Pragmatic Approach to Responsive Design.” 
    • The most important point: if you have a large, bloated website for the big screen that’s what you’ll have on the small screen after you finish applying RD to the site. Great slide of a large cat forcing itself into a small box. Alas, starting with a “mobile first” attitude is rare since it requires serious content reduction to work well.
International Students: The Flow to the U.S. Will Shrink

  • Jeff Selingo speaking to major points from his new book that actually are not new anymore but need to stay in the public limelight. As he says, he wrote this book for parents and college-bound students not higher education professionals. The more people in his primary audience read it, the more the higher education establishment will change. I hope.
    •  As is often the case, one of more interesting long-term points came during the questions after the talk: expect the flow of international students to the U.S. to shrink to all but the highest ranked universities as schools in China, India and elsewhere become stronger. Not tomorrow, but in 10 years we’ll see a difference.
E-Expectations Survey: Still a “Must Read” for Marketers
  • The annual presentation of the latest Noel-Levitz E-Expectations survey of college-bound high school students. More questions on survey questions and results this year than usual, but this remains a “must-read” collection of data. 
Your Marketing Plan: Revisit and Revise Every 3 Months

  • Ken Bonham from the Lucid Agency at the closing keynote reminding everyone of the incredibly fast way that online marketing is changing. If you don’t revisit and update your marketing plan quarterly, you are losing to those who do. 
    • Old-style planning, and especially annual reviews and adjustments? Dead.
Retargeting Advertising Increases Yield to Enrollment

  • Valuable experience-based comments from people at my workshop on online advertising:
    • Retargeting works to increase yield from potential students who have visited your website but not taken an action at that first visit.
    • Advertising on Pandora produced leads but conversion rates from those leads were not as high as from other sources. Not a reason not to try Pandora ads, but a red flag to monitor results and compare value for money with other sources.
    • The ideal online advertising world: you have enough organic traffic to your website that retargeting is the only advertising you have to do to meet enrollment goals. Probably a dream.
eduWeb14 in Baltimore
eduWeb14 is next year in Baltimore, August 4-6. Plan now to attend.
That’s all for now.
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Conferences in November
  • November 5-7, Aarhus, Denmark: J.Bloye Web & Intranet Conference, “Writing Right for the Web” tutorial and “A Need for Speed: Responsive Design in a Mobile World.” Check the entire program here.
  • November 10-13, Boston: AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education. Pre-conference tutorial on “Digital Marketing Strategy: Building Brand Strength and Enrollment.” Visit the Symposium website.

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