Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… November 2017

November. Looking forward to the AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education next week in Atlanta to meet old friends and make new ones. The 2017 edition of my “Digital Marketing Strategy” tutorial will be online next Monday. Look for the link in the P.S. to your next Link of the Week email that will arrive as the Symposium opens.

Scotland special! Read about top task web design at University of Edinburgh and University of St. Andrews at the Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group on LinkedIn. Visit and request membership with 536 others.

Updating your website? First find out what potential students like and dislike about your site. Include current students and faculty and staff as well. Feedback in 5 days on 13 key quality points is yours at no cost with our Customer Centric visitor survey.

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

And now here are your November marketing news and notes.
Cartoon of the Month: The Future of Advertising

How will “voice” search and home technology change the future of advertising? Will colleges and universities discover a new way to remind future students of FAFSA and application deadlines, campus visit schedules, and more?

Laugh or weep at “The Future of Advertising.”
Myth-Busing Admissions: 2017 Survey Results

Complete 3rd edition results from the mStoner “Mythbusting Enrollment Marketing” are not out yet but early release results tell us that 62 percent of potential freshmen rank your website as important to the college selection process.

The website is surpassed in importance only by college visits at 78 percent. Both are much higher than official social media sites at 22 percent.

See the percent for “school visit from a college representative” and “phone calls with an admissions officer” and sign for early access to the complete results.
Facebook Advertising: Chronicle of Higher Education Jumps the Shark

A publication that claims a high status in higher education last month ran an article by a “senior investigative reporter” revealing that schools like Berklee College of Music and University of Virginia were using custom and lookalike Facebook ads in their student recruitment plans.

The shocking revelation from the Chronicle? These were the same steps taken by “Russian operatives” to influence the U.S. election. The horror of it!

It was a stupid article. Liz Gross wrote a nice dissection in “Let’s Not Shame Higher Ed for Using Facebook Ads.”

If you are attending my Digital Marketing Strategy tutorial at the AMA next week you will find that, for the third year now, significant time is spent on creating Facebook custom and lookalike ads. Smart marketing.
Test-Optional Admissions: College Board Attacks

Big dollars are at stake for College Board and ACT if “test-optional” admissions practices continue to spread, especially at more selective colleges that set the tone for media attention.

That might be the reason the College Board is investing in advertising to discredit admisSee the College Board’s sponsored content “When Grades Don’t Tell the Whole Picture” in The Atlantic.sions decisions that do not require SAT (or ACT) scores as an admissions decision element.

See the College Board’s sponsored content in The Atlantic.
History of Strategy: Interactive Boston Consulting Group Chart

If you consider yourself a marketing strategist, check the publications from 1958 to 2014 selected by the Boston Consulting Group to include on an easy-to-scan interactive chart. Hover on a circle for a title, then click on what interests you for authors and a synopsis.

Most books here fall into a category of “Classical” but you’ll find others listed under Adaptive, Renewal (the smallest group), Visionary, and Shaping. Start your visit now.
AI Predictions: 7 Deadly Sins from MIT

Artificial Intelligence is one of the Shiny New Objects in 2017, for sure. Just ask Facebook.

And so, check the MIT Technology Review article on “The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions” to keep marketing expectations in balance. Start with “Overestimating and underestimating” and read through to “Speed of deployment.”
Writing Right for the Web: The Myth of Plain Language

Your website content is always better received when the language is clean and simple, even when writing for experts in a professional field, including science, medicine, and technology. That’s important when preparing academic program content to win the battle against people who think that big words and complex sentences are needed to impress readers.

More on this message, including 5 tips for “Writing in Plain Language,” from the Nielsen Norman Group in “Plain Language is for Everyone, Even Experts.”
State of College Admissions: NACAC 2017 Report

Download the full report and read summaries in four areas (College Applications, Recruitment and Yield Strategies, Factors in Admissions Decisions, College Counseling in Secondary Schools) when you visit The State of College Admission Report,
MBA Programs: Turmoil, Change at University of Wisconsin

Full-time, two-year MBA programs in the United States have seen three years of declining applications. University of Iowa, Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech are closing their programs. One-year degrees in finance, accounting, and data analytics are growing in popularity.

In that environment, a new dean at the University of Wisconsin announced plans to close applications for that school’s full-time MBA program. She was immediately greeting by a student and alumni backlash that forced a reversal of her decision and a pledge to work to improve the program.

Alumni reaction (Sweet Briar College, anyone?) prevailed over market conditions. Will the Wisconsin program survive the decreased interest level? Time will tell.

More on the market condition of full-time, two-year MBA programs.
8 Startup Logos: The Best from 96 Shark Tank Competitors

If you are a logo fan, make time for the HubSpot article reviewing 8 top logo choices from 96 start-up Shark Tank competitors. “Simpler is better” is the umbrella statement for 5 Principles of Effective Logo Design: Simple, Memorable, Timeless, Versatile, and Appropriate.

Each logo includes the name of the company, whatever the graphic style used. Scan the winners and pick your favorites.
Website Design: More on The Need for Speed

It pays to keep promoting the need for speed for a simple reason: many higher education website creators do not yet give speed the importance it deserves while Google plans to give it increasing weight in 2018 for search results.

For that reason, circulate on your campus “Why Should You Care About Your Mobile Site’s Load Time?”

The article recommends a 3-second download time. In my testing of higher education websites, only one has ever met that standard using Google Test My Site: the home page for the Medill School at Northwestern University.
Most Popular Topic in October Newsletter: 7 Deadly Sins of Innovation

The Cartoon of the Month regained the most popular spot in October, warning us of the “7 deadly sins of innovation” starting with “Lust” and ending with “Wrath.”
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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

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