Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… February 2018

February. If the days are not yet warmer, at least they are getting longer as the 2018 recruitment season for high school students heads into the final months. Intense weeks ahead. May your enrollment marketing bring the students you seek.

Recruiting online students in 2018? Follow my review of email and social media content from online MBA programs at American, Dayton, and Syracuse universities and Simmons College. The 2nd installment compares the opening emails from each program. Which one do you think is best? Visit and read the email.

The Call for Papers for the 2018 eduWeb Digital Summit (July 23-25, San Diego) is open until March 15.

Gerry McGovern presents a free webinar Improving Customer Experience: Top Task Identification with CMS Wire on February 20. Content summary and registration is here.

Join 588 higher education professionals on the Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group at LinkedIn. Read the new post on “Top Tasks and Voice Search: and request membership when you visit. 

Updating your website in 2018? First find out what potential students like and dislike about it. Feedback in 5 days on 13 quality points is yours with Gerry McGovern’s unique survey approach. See “How it works.”

The 2017 edition of my Digital Marketing Strategy tutorial from the AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education, “Creating Conversion Experiences to Gain Competitive Advantage,” is online at Slide Share.

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

And now here are your February marketing news and notes.
Cartoon of the Month: Trojan Mice Better than a Trojan Horse

When it comes to defeating change, some people in every organization play “whack-an-idea” whenever a threat to the status quo pops up.

Tom Fishburne recommends infiltrating change with many Trojan Mice nibbling away rather than a single, visible Trojan Horse.
Test Optional Colleges and Universities: Top 25 Schools

From the 2017 NACAC conference to a recent enrollment conference in California, the “test optional” movement in higher education has been under debate. Cynics might suggest that the College Board and ACT have a financial interest in curbing the adoption of test optional admissions.

And so of course we have a ranking system for “2018 Best Test Optional Colleges in America.” Bowdoin College tops the list and Fairfield University is ranked 25th. Rankings include 85 schools, ending with High Point University. See how “test optional” is spreading.
Search Mailing Deluge: A Parent’s Reaction

An annual higher education marketing ritual has started again: the quest for inquiries from high school students based on mailings to addresses purchased from ACT, College Board and other list providers.

Many letters from the “Akron processing center” arrived on the same day. This parent cites 15 schools and notes the opening offer, starting with Xavier University and ending with Texas Christian University.

Not quite direct marketing at its best. Compare the 15 for marketing distinctiveness.
U.S. College Enrollments: Changes from 1980 to 2016

How do enrollment changes since 1980 at your school compare with those of your competitors? Get great data for your president and trustees from Jon Boeckenstedt’s latest research.

You can sort by public and private status, by region, by state, by gender, by undergrad and graduate levels. And, of course, you can select individual schools to track.

Start with your own school and your top 3 competitors.
Higher Ed Website Design: Top Tasks at Roosevelt University

Aaron Rester, assistant vice president, web development, recounts his experience using a top tasks approach at Roosevelt, from the initial introduction of the concept, to creating a task survey, to getting people within the university to accept the results and the ensuing web changes.

Point of special focus: “People love their silos and they will not give them up without a fight.” Aaron knows a little something about how to do as well as possible in that fight. More at his blog post.
Email Marketing: 5 Tips for 2018

The reason email marketing has not died: evolution. The email marketing folk at Emma give us 5 “creative content ideas” to review for new approaches in 2018. My favorite was #2, “create more touch points” to include text, social media, apps and more for a comprehensive communication plan.

2018 creative tips from Emma are here.
Mobile User Experience: New Report from Nielsen-Norman Group

News from the usability folk at Nielsen-Norman is good: the overall user experience on mobile websites and apps is getting better, including “Better use of Phone Features” and “Better Integration Between the Mobile Web and the App Web.”

For higher education marketers, this is a good guide to helping evaluate your mobile presence. Give special attention to the closing “Steps Backward” section when you visit “The State of Mobile User Experience.”
Easy Path to Net Cost Estimate: 31 Colleges and Universities Using MyIntuition

Demand for affordability information early in the college selection process continues. And the usual Net Price Calculator is not the best way to meet that demand. It asks too many questions. It takes too long.

And so, it is time to again recommend a serious look at the MyIntuition alternative pioneered at Wellesley College several years ago and since adopted at 30 others colleges and universities.

Private sector colleges should pay special attention to how this will help reduce list price “sticker shock.” Check the list of adoptees and learn more about MyIntuition at
3 Public Relations Notes: What Higher Education Does Not Need

New chancellor at Southern Illinois University arranged jobs for his daughter and her husband as part of the hiring agreement. Example of wide media coverage.

Endowment money at University of Michigan often invested in firms run by investment advisors. The Detroit Free Press report.

Temple University online MBA program sends false data to US News, loses #1 ranking. The Philadelphia Inquirer coverage at
Blockchain: The Complete Guide

Is Blockchain the shiny new marketing object for 2018? Or is Artificial Intelligence?

Wired magazine brings us a detailed introduction to blockchain, from the origins to possible future uses. Learn more about a database system that has “captured the attention of everyone from anarchist techies to staid bankers” when you download the guide.
Most Popular Topic in January Newsletter: Recruiting Online MBA Students

First installment in ongoing review of email and social media from online MBA programs at American University, Simmons College, University of Syracuse, and University of Dayton is on my blog here.
Be a marketing champion on your campus

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

Increase your marketing success with one or more of these services. Contact me for details at

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