Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… June 2019

June. What I’m thinking about this month are the marketing changes reported in May that are underway at institutions of varied types. Academic program reductions at University of Tulsa, Gordon College, and Wheeling Jesuit University and financial aid reduction (no more “need blind” admissions) at College of the Holy Cross come first to mind.

Is the place of “product” in the proverbial 4 Ps of marketing taking a more prominent role? Not all is negative. St. Bonaventure University, for instance. Is reporting high freshmen enrollments the past two years, attributed in part to new program additions that will continue in the fall. Let’s hope that similar happy stories are on the way.

Share your marketing insights and experiences with friends and colleagues in Philadelphia at the eduWeb Digital Summit July 29-31. Review the program and register.

Improving the marketing power of your website? Find out what potential students like and dislike about your current site before making changes. Feedback in 5 days on 13 quality points with Gerry McGovern’s unique Customer Centric Index (CCI) survey approach. Visit “How it works” at

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Join 700+ higher education professionals on the Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group at LinkedIn. Request membership at and scroll for success stories of universities with a Top Task approach. Start with the several pathways Carleton College offers alumni to complete a top task. Continue on to how the University of Sheffield reduced website content for an academic program from 120 to 50 pages.

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And now, your marketing news and notes for June.
Cartoon of the Month: “too many cooks in the creative review”

Try to include everyone’s feedback to a creative concept and you’ll end up with nothing creative at all.

That’s the opinion of Tom Fishburne who advises that “Creative project require an editor – someone who can sort between frequently contradictory feedback, listening to some, ignoring others, and making the final call.”

To spark creative discussion on your campus, circulate “too many cooks in the creative review.”
Personalization in Marketing: 2019 Trends

Based on a survey of marketing professionals early in 2019, Evergage, Inc. reports that most marketers think personalization is important (78 percent) but few think it is being done effectively (32 percent).

Marketers say that personalization is most likely to happen in email (78%). After that, personalization drops to 58 percent on websites and (curiously) just 42 percent for “in-person” contacts.

Reasons for personalization vary, from “deliver better customer experiences” (88 percent) to “customers/prospects expect it (43 percent).

Details, including the role of Artificial Intelligence, in the 49 page “2019 Trends in Personalization” report.
Marketing Online: A YouTube Guide

Most colleges and universities have YouTube channels. To make sure you get the best marketing results from your efforts, visit “YouTube Marketing: The Ultimate YouTube Business Guide.”

The tips here range from creating an effective home page to increasing watch time to using strong calls to action. You’ll also find sections on initial YouTube advertising and retargeting efforts.

These areas and more are included in the Social Media Examiner YouTube marketing guide.
Tuition Discounting: NACUBO 2019 Report

The headline “Private Colleges Now Use Nearly Half of Tuition Revenue for Financial Aid” introduces details of the growth in tuition discount levels that continued from last year.

Rates increased to 52 percent for new full-time freshmen and 46 percent for all full-time undergraduates. Many schools are above 60 percent. A chart detailing annual increases since 2007-2008 is online here.

If tuition discounting interests you skip the press releases on the new report. Start with Jon Boeckenstedt’s exploration of a challenging subject at “The Discount Dilemma.”
Admissions & Marketing Blogs: University Business Recommends 4 to Follow

Early in May I was pleased to see myself included in a short list from University Business recommending 4 blogs to follow for news and notes on admissions marketing.

The other 3 were College Web EditorHigh Ed Web Tech, and Digital Leadership in Higher Education.

You’ll find a short summary for the content of each one in the University Business article.
College Costs and Public Relations: An AARP Report

More than 38 million people were AARP members in 2018. AARP is a U.S. organization for people over the age of 50. Many are retired. Many are helping children and grand-children with college costs.

Last month AARP reported to members on how costs have risen “dramatically over the past several decades across all types of institutions.” The many charts include public university flagship schools.

The 12-page report includes this warning: “A recent review of financial aid award letters found that some schools mischaracterized how student loans were incorporated into a student’s aid package, including 24 instances in which words other than loan were used and a number of letters in which parent loans were considered part of a financial aid award.”

Help everyone on your campus understand how public reviews of higher education costs impact your marketing when they read “A Look at College Costs Across Generations.”
VP of Enrollment: VP of Sales is the real job

Rich Whipkey at Waybetter Marketing has written an insightful article that reminded me of something Brian Niles repeated often over the years he was leading TargetX: “The Vice President of Enrollment is the Vice President of Sales.”

That’s still something that many if not most people in higher education are not willing to admit. Or at least say in public. Whipkey’s article is a good place to explore the implications for the role, resources, and institutional support that enrollment VPs should have. Pay special attention to the negative impact of excessive attention to “brand” as a solution for enrollment problems.

Good reading awaits at “What Does a Vice President of Enrollment Do?”
Gerry McGovern: “Digital Transformation or Digital as Usual?”

Gerry’s latest webinar, developed for a business consulting firm, updates the role that Top Tasks approach can take to improve customer sales and satisfaction by focusing digital efforts on providing the best possible experience for people working with your college or university.

Gather your team and get ready to discuss “why digital is never done” after the “Digital Transformation or Digital as Usual” webinar.
Most Popular Topic in May Newsletter: 10 Strong Examples of Mobile Landing Pages

The best ad campaign will fail if the landing page fails to turn a potential student into an inquiry. If you advertise online, don’t miss the Unbounce report on “Mobile Landing Page Examples that Seriously Set the Bar.”

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