Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… October 2017

October. The high school recruitment season is in full swing. NACAC 2017 is over. The AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education is next month. And, at least here in Michigan, fall temperatures seem to have finally arrived.

Register this week 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 here.

Just posted 4 higher education notes from Gerry McGovern’s Carewords partners meeting in Lisbon last month for 523 members of the Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group on LinkedIn. Check the notes and 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 Customer Centric Index visitor survey. See how quick and easy it is at

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

And now here are your October marketing news and notes.
Cartoon of the Month: 7 Deadly Sins of Innovation

If your friends and/or your president demand marketing innovation, be sure share the “7 Deadly Sins of Innovation,” starting with “Lust” and ending with “Wrath.” Visit the 7 deadly sins.
Online Enrollment: Modest Growth, Increased Competition

The boom days for online enrollment growth likely are over. But modest growth rates of 3 to 5 percent a year are not uncommon. In other words, online enrollment ups and downs are beginning to mirror overall higher education enrollment.

Increased competition, especially within the non-profit sector, continues to limit growth at individual schools as program availability increases. Enrollment at for-profit universities continues to fall.

Examples include Penn State Online, Kent State, University of Maryland, Arizona State and more in the InsideHigherEd review.
Test-Optional Admissions: Angry Reaction to a NACAC Session

How important are ACT and SAT scores in predicting the success of high school students in college? Should we be surprised when ACT and College Board say that a test optional policy is not good?

At a 2017 NACAC session, 5 panel members (one from ACT, two from College Board, one a former College Board trustee) participated in a session designed to apply “empirical scrutiny” to arguments in favor of adopting a test-optional policy.

Jon Boeckenstedt at test-optional DePaul University attended the session. He got angry when one panelist said, and the others agreed, that going test-optional was “just a publicity stunt.” The testing agencies, he wrote in a blog post, “lie and distort [the facts} in order to save their bacon.” The revenue involved is, of course, enormous.

See Jon’s masterful dissection of the facts and figures in “Surprise: College Board and ACT don’t like Test-optional admissions.
Rankings with a Difference: Washington Monthly

Washington Monthly promotes a ranking alternative to U.S. News that relies on Social Mobility, Research, and Service as rating criteria. The methodology used, the magazine claims, is not easy to manipulate.

Some results may seem conventional, with interesting differences. The top 20 liberal arts colleges, for instance, include Harvey Mudd, Amherst, Wellesley, Williams, Middlebury, and Colgate. But first on the list is Berea College. Knox College, College of St. Benedict, and College of the Atlantic are also here.

Rankings also include a selection of best schools for “adult learners.” Start with “Please select a report” to find what interests you most.
Brand Style Guides: 22 “Visual Inspiration” Examples

Consistency in the visual presentation of brand symbols is essential in creating a recognizable presence in a crowded market place. Repetition and consistency are the key goals.

Compare your brand presentation guidelines with 22 examples from Karla Cook at HubSpot. Selections include one higher education example (University of the Arts Helsinki). You will find others from a great variety of organizations including NASA, the NY Transit Authority, Netflix and Urban Outfitters.

Find your favorites here.
Instagram Recruitment: 4 Secrets from Teens

After studying how teens use Instagram, Hootsuite reports on 4 ways teens use the social media channel that deserve attention from businesses (and that includes colleges).

Discover “They are ruthless self-editors” and 3 other secrets to ponder.
New at College Scorecard: Compare 10 Schools at Once

College Scorecard now allows people to compare up to 10 colleges and universities. Initial comparison data presents Average Annual Cost, Graduation Rate, and Salary After Attending.

See what potential students will see when you compare your school with your competitors.
Advertising Online: Specs for 5 Facebook Ad Types + 6 Content Tips

In a single easy-to-scan article, WordStream provides specs for 5 different Facebook ad types, from the tried and true “single image ads” to a new “canvas” format. After that you can compare your content against recommendations here. My favorite: use an image relevant to the ad message.

Compare your current Facebook ad practices to the WordStream review.
Digital Marketing Survey Report: Focus on Student Recruitment

Terminal Four has released a 2017 survey of digital marketing trends, the fourth annual report. Responses were received from 391 people at 333 colleges and universities, primarily in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

A sample of the findings: continued growing responsibility in “marketing and communications” areas for online marketing; continued Facebook strength as the most important social media channel; limited integration with CRM systems to measure recruitment results; nearly 80 percent have not yet delved into web personalization.

Download the survey report.
Disappointing Endowment Result: Harvard Only Makes 8.1% Return

If brand status is measured by endowment returns, Harvard is in jeopardy. The mean endowment return in higher education, after all, was 12.7 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30. And MIT achieved a 14.3 percent return.

Is Harvard crumbling? Will civilization survive? Learn more here.
Most Popular Topic in September Newsletter: 13 “Jacked Up” Recruitment Microsites

Easily beating the popular Cartoon of the Month was this list of “13 Microsites Designed to Do One Thing: Recruit Students” with entries from public and private sector colleges and universities. If you missed it, scan the microsite list now.
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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

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