Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… July 2019

July. Heat and dry weather finally have arrived in Michigan. And will continue for July 4 celebrations, we hope. A happy holiday break to U.S. readers and a happy Canada Day to our Canadian friends.

At the end of this month, expand your marketing insights and experiences with friends and colleagues in Philadelphia at the eduWeb Digital Summit July 29-31. Review the program and register.

The 2nd in a series of “deep dive” Top Task research webinars from Gerry McGovern is set for July 8. Perfect for people thinking about doing a top tasks research project on your own. “Top Tasks Identification: Shortlisting” gives you essential tips on how to create the final task list that people who use your website will vote on. Check the description and register here.

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.

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. One example: University of Sheffield reduced an academic program’s content from 120 to 50 pages. Rare. Marvelous.

7,300+ people get my daily marketing updates on Twitter at

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And now, your marketing news and notes for July.
Cartoon of the Month: “Data-Driven Marketing” Caution

Data. We all have data. Lots of data. Tom Fishburne is right to note that “There’s a lot of bad marketing that can be justified by data, particularly data used selectively or myopically.”

Share and discuss Tom’s cartoon and comments with your marketing team.
High School Students & College Admissions: Advice from a High School Senior

An enterprising high school senior has combed IPEDS and Common Data Set data for public universities and private colleges as a senior project and created a website to share the results.

Note the motivation: “I would’ve found information about merit aid very helpful during my time applying to college, and it was something I couldn’t find on the internet in the way that I wanted to. That was the main motivation for this website.”

Every person recruiting high school students will benefit from close attention to “College Application Data and Advice.”

Interested in how it all came together? See “Gabe’s Senior Capstone Project” blog.
Net Price Calculators: Not-So-Nice US News Report

Net Price Calculators are required content on college and university websites. But since the original mandate many have been hard to find and many mimic the FAFSA in ease of use.

A new US News reports continues those complaints and adds another “beware” item for the public: check to see if schools include loans in a calculation of net price. US News doesn’t think loans count as a reduction in net price. Another recommended check: is housing included in total cost at residential schools? If not, one school might mistakenly appear less expensive than another. Buyer beware.

More on what the public is being told about NPCs at “What to Know About a College’s Net Price Calculator.”
Recruiting Online Students: “Online College Students” 2019 Report

For colleges and universities competing with online giants like Arizona State University, Southern New Hampshire University, Western Governors University and others, here’s the good news: increasing numbers of students prefer to enroll at a college close to their home.

In this research year, 44 percent enrolled at a school within 25 miles of their home. Another 23 percent enrolled within 26 to 50 miles of their home.

Explore the details of the 60-page Learning House/Aslanian report when you download “Online College Students.”
T-Shirt Size: Asking a Potential Freshman Student

My ongoing review of college and university inquiry forms last week revealed how Oregon Tech answers that question: when a person completes an RFI form.

Oregon Tech offers 6 sizes, from “Small” to “XXX Large.” Future graduate students can also ask for a shirt.

Can’t say if the offer is unique or not. But I’ve not seen clothing on an RFI form before.

Marketing smart? Just might be another way of sorting out the more interested people early in the recruitment cycle. And texting after receipt to see how it fit.

Scan the complete Oregon Tech Request for Information form.
“Exclusive Preview”: E-Expectations 2019 Survey Results

Karine Joly is gleaning key findings from this year’s popular E-Expectations survey of high school seniors, juniors, and sophomores from Ruffalo Noel Levitz. No need to wait for the official unveiling later this month.

Karine is writing four sections: Email & Text, Search Engine Optimization and Advertising, Higher Ed Websites, and Social Media. Every year there’s been results that suggest changes needed in student recruitment strategy and tactics.

We learn yet again, for instance, that email isn’t dead. (Are there really people who still need to hear that?) And we learn when to send and the most important elements to include. Does personalization help? Yes. It is essential? Not yet.

Read the email and text details at the higheredexperts website.
MBA Programs: 10,473 Graduating Students Rate 126 Schools

Bloomberg Businessweek rated 126 MBA programs in several different areas based on results from a survey of their graduating students.

Categories include (1) inspiring and supportive instructors, (2) skills for real world business applications, (3) healthy competition among students, (4) inspiration to be ethical, (5) prestige to attract recruiters, (6) recruiters from a wide geographic range, and (7) right mixture of academics and business professionals teaching courses.

The top 5 schools in each category vary quite a bit. Easily scan the top 5 and expand to the top 30 at “Best B-Schools.”
Transfer Student Recruitment: 14 Practical Tips

If recruiting transfer students in an enrollment priority at your school, check through the 14 tips provided by a transfer student recruiter with 12 years experience.

My favorite was #3: “Ensure you website speaks to the transfer audience.”

Compare your transfer recruitment practices with the tips at “Veteran wisdom for transfer student professionals.”
Test Optional Schools: University of Rochester Joins the Group

Are colleges that don’t require SAT or ACT test scores as part of the admissions process growing faster this year than before? I don’t know but it seems as if that’s the case.

University of Rochester has just announced that change in admissions requirements. See “University drops first-year admission standardized test requirement.”

For colleges and universities that no longer require a test score, scan the alpha list from Fair Test.
Most Popular Topic in June Newsletter: “too many cooks in the creative review” cartoon

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

Spark creative discussion. Circulate “too many cooks in the creative review.”
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

Bob Johnson, Ph.D.

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