Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… September 2018

September. Move-in days for new residential students are done. A new recruitment season for high school students moves with earnest into the senior cycle. Stanford University tells us they won’t tell us how many applications they receive. Will any others follow suit?

New on my blog: “Take a 30-Day Branding Break: A 6-Step Exercise to Improve Recruitment Marketing.” See “Bad Tactics Kill the Best Brand Strategy” and how you can prevent premature death.

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And now here are your September marketing news and notes.
Cartoon of the Month: A 6-Step Guide to “How to rebrand”

Not doing as well in the competitive higher education market as you’d like to do? Maybe its time to “rebrand” your college or university. If that’s the case, there’s no better place to start before you get too deep into the swamp than with Tom Fishburne and “How to rebrand.”
College Rankings: 2018 Report from Washington Monthly

Just out is the 2018 edition of college and university rankings from Washington Monthly. Not pulling any proverbial punches, this report is presented as a contrast to “crude and easily manipulated measures of wealth, exclusivity, and prestige” used by US News.

The home page includes the top 5 national universities (no surprises) and the top 5 liberal arts colleges (Berea College is #1) and continues to add Baccalaureate Colleges (Goshen College is #2), Masters Universities (Evergreen State College is #1), and Best Bang for the Buck schools in 5 regions. Also ranked are best 2 and 4-year colleges for “adult learners.”

Explore Washington Monthly’s 2018 College Guide and Rankings.
College Rankings Overall: Forbes on 13 Ranking Efforts

A Forbes article gives us a synopsis of 13 different ranking efforts, starting with US News and ending with College Atlas. In between you’ll find all the usual suspects and possibly a few that you don’t yet know about. The overall conclusion? With a few noted exceptions, there’s not much difference among them even where “disruption” of the usual is a stated goal.

To know more about college rankings than just about anyone else in your circle, start at “How to Rank College Ranking Sites.”
Intelligent Assistants: How to Work with Alexa, Google, Siri

Best to get ready for the soon-to-arrive time when people will expect to talk to your website and find the content they want without having to puzzle out your navigation or use your search box.

Nielsen-Norman starts us on the right path with test results from two research panels. People will use Alexa et al for fact-based searches but not for opinions. They are more likely to use them in private than in public. Special attention to the section on “Language Used with Assistants.”

Yes, it is early days. But the time is now for smart marketers to visit “Intelligent Assistants: Creepy, Childish, or a Tool?
Reaching “iGen” students: A New York Times Review

Better know to many as “Gen Z”, these students born between 1995 and 2012 bring their own set of recruitment challenges. Communication channels aside, perhaps the most important challenge is this: “They are a frugal and ambitious lot, less excited by climbing walls and en suite kitchens than by career development.”

More on the new and expanded services colleges and universities will need to add and how they’ll need to promote them at “The iGen Shift: Colleges are Changing to Reach the Next Generation.”
Online Reviews: Making them work for student recruitment

People trust online reviews if the reviews don’t appear to be artificially created. Or censored.

The folks at Higher Education Marketing in Montreal have written a primer for colleges and universities on how to make best use of online reviews. You’ll find examples from Google, Facebook, and Yelp reviews as well as several sites specific to higher education. Don’t miss the section on “Responding to Negative Reviews About Your School.”

See how reviews from students and alumni might fit into your student recruitment plan at “Why online reviews are essential in student lead generation.”
Take this Survey: Higher Education Digital Marketing

Terminal Four is back with the 5th annual survey on digital marketing in higher education. Survey sections include: Digital Strategy, Website Personalization, Website Accessibility, Digital Marketing Conversion and Metrics, Website Management and Governance, and Data Privacy and GDPR.

The survey is quick and easy to complete. You’ll receive a copy of the results in October. And have a chance to win a ($/€/£)100 Amazon voucher. Take the survey here.
$5,000 Online MBA Scholarship: If you persist to the last term

Most scholarships start in the first enrollment term. Santa Clara University is reversing that with an “all new $5,000 scholarship⃰ available only to our online MBA students—if you apply now and enroll this Fall!”

But do follow that asterisk to the tiny print text underneath the offer. Students will receive the scholarship “in the final academic term required for the program” and, in most cases, must be continuously enrolled until that term. In other words, what we have is a scholarship focused on retention.

More on the scholarship and conditions at Financing Your MBA.
Most Unusual Marketing Effort? “Beachfront Living and Learning in Atlantic City”

Stockton University has opened a new residential campus in Atlantic City. That’s fine. What seems unusual is the effort to help promote enrollment by highlighting the opportunity for “Beachfront Living and Learning” in a climate that is not especially hospitable to beachfront life from, say, November to April.

An official Stockton announcement of the new campus is here and a Chronicle of Higher Education article on new efforts to reverse a decades-old tradition of New Jersey students leaving the state is here.
Most Popular Topic in August Newsletter: “How to define your brand positioning”

The “Cartoon of the Month” returned to most popular position with Tom Fishburne’s depiction of how marketers discuss their quest for “brand positioning” success. Cringe or cry with Tom if you’ve heard these words from your marketing agency.
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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

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