Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… September 2017

September. The opening of a new semester. The welcoming of new students. Of every age. On campus. And online. Strong wishes for everyone on a successful start to the new academic year.

Register soon for the 2017 AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education, November 12-15 in Atlanta. Add my “Digital Marketing Strategy” Tutorial E to your Sunday schedule. Program details and registration are online now.

My Top Task Content and Design: Strategy and Tactics for Website Success slides from the eduWeb Digital Summit workshop are online now to read and download.

If you work at a college or university join 497 members of the Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group. Request membership when you visit.

Updating your website? First find out what potential students like and dislike about the site. Feedback in 5 days on 13 key quality points is yours at no cost with our visitor survey.

Join 7,525+ followers on Twitter at for my daily marketing updates.

And now here are your marketing news and notes for September.
Cartoon of the Month: The Tension of Data-Driven Creative

“Big data” is hot, deservedly so. But anything can be overdone. See Tom Fishburne on the tension that results when data limits creativity in advertising. The cartoon is here.
13 “Jacked Up” Admissions Micro-Sites

Why do you do when a regular college or university website does not give priority to student recruitment? My friends at idFive offer “13 Microsites Designed to Do One Thing: Recruit Students.”

The collection includes private and public-sector schools both large and small. And some are indeed “jacked up.”

My favorite is the more restrained entry for online students at Arizona State. Your opinion may differ when you review the sites.
3 Top and 11 Tiny Website Tasks for Student Recruitment

At the eduWeb Digital Summit I asked 32 people in my workshop to list and rank the website tasks they thought were most important to future students. The result: 23 possibilities.

See the 3 “top” and 11 “tiny” tasks (and 9 others) suggested in my posts for the “Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content” group on LinkedIn.
If Student Loans Were Honest: A YouTube Video

Here’s a 4-minute video that everyone in higher education can hope is not taken seriously by very many people. But it is out and about the land on YouTube where 408,000 people have seen it since August 21, with 15,000 likes and 272 dislikes.

Check the pitch for student loans at the video you’ll see here.
Anti-Trust Exemption for Colleges and Universities?

Should colleges and universities be allowed to discuss prices and tuition discounting levels among themselves? Would ending merit-aid bidding wars halt or reduce rising tuition rates?

That is the focus of a Hechinger Report article reporting renewed interest within higher education in ending a ban imposed in 1991 on collaborative financial aid discussions. The public is skeptical.

Read more on anit-trust exemption for higher education.
The Need for Speed: A Note from Notre Dame

If you are having a problem convincing people that your website speed is important, this podcast interview with Erik Runyon at the University of Notre Dame may help. Simply put, Erick recommends that home pages download in about 2 seconds and interior pages in about 1 second.

Speed makes people happy, Brand reputation benefits. Conversion rates increase. See “Notre Dame’s Web Speed Strategy.”
A New Website: 8 Steps to Decide if You Really Need One

Not everyone needs to invest in a new website. And if you do, make sure that the interests of the people who will use the site are paramount in creating it.

That is the message from Website Magazine in “Design is Overrated, Here’s Why” that first sets out 8 steps to take before deciding if a new website is necessary, including Customer Research and Competitor Research.

More steps and planning process charts in “Design is Overrated, Here’s Why.”
College Admissions: Casting Aside Old Approaches

Does it really make sense to place so much reliance on ACT and SAT test scores as a measure of readiness for college?

If you are having this discussion on your campus be sure to circulate “Reexamining Our Approach to College Access” by Angel Perez, vice president for enrollment and student success at Trinity College.

Results to date include more low income and first-generation students along with an overall stronger academic profile. And happy faculty reports. More on the Trinity changes in The New England Journal of Higher Education.
12 Best College Logo Designs

If you are a logo fan you do not want to skip this list from HubSpot: 12 university and college choices together with a short explanation of why each made the list.

Learn the “hidden secret” inside the University of Oregon design and see 11 others from Maine to Hawaii.
User Interface Design: 10 “Painful Mistakes”

If you care about creating a website that people will enjoy using, pay attention to advice from Paul Boag.

Start with “10 Principles Learned from Painful Mistakes” (including one from higher education). “Clarity over Cleverness” is a favorite. Revisit your website to see if you need to correct any of the mistakes on his list. If you are searching for a website design firm, test reaction to this list before you hire. The principles are here.
Virtual Reality: Stepping into the Future

Ad Age used an interview with a Chief Marketing Officer to survey the potential of using virtual reality to enhance brand perception.

While I do not believe that the Guinness example cited was “experiencing the beer on all of its essential levels” without tasking it, do read “Why Progressive CMOs are Already Testing VR.
Most Popular Topic in August Newsletter: The Problem with Focus Groups

Once again, the Cartoon of the Month was “most popular” as Tom Fishburne highlighted why marketers should use caution in interpreting focus group results. See “The Problem with Focus Groups.”
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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

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