Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… September 2021

September… And the COVID Delta variant continues to plague college and university plans for the “normal” academic year that we anticipated back in June. No predication here on how this will unfold between now and December. But one does suspect that innovative recruitment tactics learned last year will continue to be essential in this new year.

Create a strong(er) marketing website. Pay careful attention to keeping your visitors happy with rapid task completion. Gerry McGovern’s webinar series September 22 on “Top Task Questions and Answers: Ask Gerry McGovern.”

Join 877 higher education professionals on the members-only Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group at LinkedIn. My latest post reviews 2001 E-Expectations Survey results for key top task insights. Request membership at

Follow along with 7,200+ people for my daily marketing updates on Twitter.

Forward this newsletter to a friend. Only email required here to subscribe for a personal copy.

And now, your marketing news and notes for September.
Cartoon of the Month: “Brand Fatigue and Brand Consistency”

How often are you tempted to “update” or “change” your brand symbols?

“Brand consistency is an underrated value in marketing. And yet it’s that consistency over time that can create brands that are distinctive, memorable, and valuable.”

More on the virtue of staying with the logo that people know and love at “Brand Fatigue and Brand Consistency.”
Qualitative Research: How high school seniors pick a college to attend

To balance the formal research of E-Expectations and similar surveys, read through how high school seniors describe their “ideal” college in their own words.

Visit Reddit for a collection that varies from “any school that gives me money” to detailed reviews of available academic programs and other features at Northeastern, Cornell, Cal Tech, Johns Hopkins, NYU, Davidson, Columbia, Chicago, Georgia Tech and others. (Thanks to Steve App at Campus Sonar for continuing to showcase Reddit.)

Visit “Seniors, what is your dream school and why?”
Website Personalization: 7 factors to consider before you invest

It may seem difficult to not accept that “personalization” on your website is a good thing. It can be depending on your expectations and resources to make it work. It isn’t essential.

Before you commit to making a personalization investment, consider the “seven types of personalization and their pros and cons” reviewed by Paul Boag.

Paul starts with “Email and Social Media Personalization” and continues to geography, campaigns, IP addresses and more. Visit “Website Personalization: What Is It and What Are the Options?
Most Important Marketing Element: Undergrad academic programs offered

The great majority of students looking for a college to attend have a specific area of study in mind. If you don’t have it, a potential student is not likely to attend.

Jon Boeckenstedt has again performed a public service with a new data offering: the ability to search by either broad academic areas or specific academic majors to learn what school if offering what program. Even better: You can see how many degrees were actually earned in a particular major offered.

Narrow your search within type of institution, enrollment size, or an individual state. That makes it easy to update yourself on what your competitors are offering and how many students are actually majoring in that area. Useful marketing intelligence, for sure.

Visit “College Major Finder.”
YouTube Advertising: A 5-step guide for beginners

TikTok might be the new shining star in online advertising but YouTube is far more popular among college-bound high school students. If you are advertising to this group online, YouTube should be a priority consideration.

Lisa Jenkins’ Social Media Examiner article gives a detailed but easy-to-follow review of the steps needed to create and execute a YouTube campaign.

A key item is in #4: are you running your ad for brand awareness, lead generation, or web traffic? Pick a single goal and focus ad creation on that goal. Your goal will in turn determine who you select to see your ad. If the two are not in synch your results will suffer.

More from Lisa at “A Quick Guide to YouTube Advertising for Beginners.”
Free college tuition: a Pew Research Center report

How strong is support for free college tuition at public universities? Overall, adult support is at 63 percent, with 34 percent in “strong support.” In opposition are 36 percent, with 20 percent in “strong opposition.”

At you might suspect support varies by political affiliation, age, ethnicity, education level. For the details see the Pew Research Center on “Democrats overwhelmingly favor free college tuition, while Republicans are divided by age, education.”
Athletes and Higher Education: “Employees” sue for over-time pay

A recent court decision (Eastern District of Pennsylvania) denied a motion to dismiss a suit that college athletes might receive a minimum wage + pay for over-time work from their schools. College athletes, in the verdict of this judge, can claim that they are employees of their schools.

The schools and sports in the suit: football at Villanova, swimming/diving and baseball at Fordham, tennis at Sacred Heart and Lafayette, and soccer at Cornell.

Can you feel the winds blowing? Details of the legal decision from Sam Erlich on Twitter.
College Admissions: student works attempt unionization

In yet another indicator of how things might be changing in higher education comes a report that “about half” of student admissions workers at Hamilton College have signed to have an election to form a union.

That, for sure, does not mean that a majority of the students will vote for a union but certainly it is a move to follow. A student organizer says the students want “higher pay, a uniform disciplinary process, codified advancement rules within the department, travel compensation and greater control over messaging.”

That last point might indeed have marketing implications for campus tour content.

The report from Inside Higher Education at “A Union for Admissions Workers.”
World University Rankings: The Times Higher Education Version

If you like to peruse university rankings, add the 2021 listing from The Times to your reading. No major surprises here in the top schools… The United States claims 8 of the top 10 spots while University of Oxford continues ad the top ranked uni for the 3rd consecutive year.

Find hundred upon hundreds of ranked universities without having to sign in at “Best Universities According to World University Rankings.”
Most Popular in August Newsletter: “Personalization Privacy Paradox” Cartoon

Marketing “personalization” can be great. But people are often wary of excessively intrusive attempts to collect their personal data. What’s a marketer to do?

Learn a new term (“zero party data”) as you explore recommendations on how to best collect data that allows personalization without overly annoying the people you are collecting. Focus only on “the data consumers willingly share about themselves.”

Visit “The Personalization Privacy Paradox.”
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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