Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… November 2022

November… A happy Thanksgiving to the U.S. readers as that holiday is upon us. May your visit and application results be whatever you were hoping to have.

Notable Twitter Quotes:

  • Another fall, another season of hearing from college counselors all over the world about how completing the CSS Profile is agonizing + demoralizing for the most vulnerable students. And some just give up.” Eric Hoover, Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • “The CEO of a 3-letter behemoth EDU consulting firm says on the record “we want to work with everybody.” And then we wonder why so many institutional strategies and tactics look the same.” Liz Gross, CEO at Campus Sonar.

Tagline Reports: Taglines for some universities mentioned in the newsletter are included. Found those on either a Google search result or on a home page. If you don’t see a tagline after a name, it is because that school does not use one.
Increase your website recruitment strength. Keep potential students smiling after their first visit with rapid completion of the tasks that brought them to your site. Gerry McGovern’s Top Task webinar series continues on November 23. Register for “Top Tasks Overview.”

  • How to identify what matters most–the Top Tasks
  • How to measure the performance of the Top Tasks
  • How to create a classification / navigation based on Top Tasks

Join 903 higher education professionals on the members-only Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group at LinkedIn. Check: “Top Task Student Recruitment Emphasis” with links to two university home pages that put academic program links in priority position. Join us 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 November.
Cartoon of the Month: Marketing Evolution & a 20 Year Anniversary

Tom Fishburne is celebrating 20 years of writing marketing cartoons since his first efforts while a young marketer at General Mills. Wise insights have been flowing ever since.

Be sure to check his 5-stage “evolution of marketing” tale that starts with “Consumers will always pay attention to our TV ads” in the 1980s and ends with “Consumers want to hang out with our brand in the Metaverse” in the 2020s.

Tom ads a few of his favorites from years past at “evolution of marketing and 20 years of marketoonist.”
Admissions Man Bites Dog: College President “Thrilled” at Applications Drop

Central College president Mark Putnam believes fewer admissions applications from students who are not all that interested in his college allows admissions folk to concentrate conversion efforts on people who might actually enroll.

Applications dropped from 4,016 in 2017 to 1,971 this year. New student enrollment increased from 322 to 351 as yield increased. Expenses with an external enrollment marketing firm decreased by 33 percent.

Schemes exist to inflate application numbers to give the impression of high demand and greater selectivity. For more on the Central approach (and the name of the new enrollment firm) see “A College’s Applications Fall by Half and the President is Thrilled.
Enrollment Trend: “Young” student enrollment increasing in online degree programs

Post-pandemic enrollment of “young” students (24 years and less) is increasing at universities with large online enrollments. Examples include Western Governors University (“The University of You”), Southern New Hampshire University (“You’re Ready for Your Degree”), and University of Maryland Global Campus (“Succeed Again with a UMGC Online Program”).

Actual numbers were 10,000 at SNHU and 9,000 at WGU. Those are small increases compared to total online enrollment at each school. The total is smaller at UMGC but “Eighteen- to 22-year-olds are actually are single largest, fastest-growing group.”

More on what’s been happening and how schools are preparing for even more students from this age group at “A Surge in Young Undergrads, Fully Online.”
For What It’s Worth: Top 50 Most Visited Websites

You likely can get the first few, starting with Google. Hint: The 2nd most visited is not Facebook.

See how you do with the rest at “The World’s Top 50 Websites.”
Tuition Discount & Net Revenue: Private Colleges for 2020

Jon Boeckenstedt is back with another in his series of “Higher Ed Data Stories,” this time with a report on discount rates and “average net on tuition and fees” for 1,000+ private sector colleges and universities.

Jon advises us to make direct comparison only between comparable schools. You can sort his data for schools within individual states or within 9 regions.

Compare your school with others like yours when you visit “Private Colleges and Discount, 2020.”
Video Marketing: 4 success points from the most successful marketers

Most organizations (88 percent) using video marketing do not think they are using it to full potential, according to a recent survey.

Those that report: “excellent results” cited 4 success points:

  • Topics that their audience is actually looking 1 to 3 minutes
  • Better videos than the competition
  • Authentic stories from “the people the stories are about”
  • Dropping efforts that don’t work.

More on developing an effective strategy for video marketing at “Video Grows in Potential But Doesn’t Reach Full Potential (New Research.”
Student Recruitment: Tracking marketing activities without 3rd party cookies

As privacy concerns increase, Google (and others) are eliminating 3rd party tracking of the steps people take online in response to advertising and web visits. Elements that some people always regarded as “creepy” will disappear in 2023. “Retargeting,” for instance, will cease to exist as we’ve known it.

What are the alternatives? The folks at Terminal Four review the changes in an exploration of “How will advertising work without cookies” and an introduction to “the first-party cookie.”

Get ready for change in 2023 with “The cookieless future: what it means for higher ed marketers.”
Admissions Applications: Incomplete Apps No Longer Count for IPEDS Reporting

Selectivity percents will fall for some colleges now that IPEDS is no longer allowing colleges to report incomplete applications as part of the application total.

This always struck me as a dubious practice as colleges can’t make an admissions decision for an incomplete application. Not everyone reported incomplete apps as part of their total. But too many did.

More at “Federal data change means colleges can’t count unfinished applications in admit rates.”
Direct Admissions: Admit students before they send an application

Not sure how this will impact reporting completed applications but, if done with excess enthusiasm, direct admissions might well reduce yield.

InsideHigherEducation is reporting a jump in the number of colleges (160+ now) sending admit letters to students who meet a particular profile but are not yet in a college’s potential student pool.

Expectations are that the number of schools doing this will increase. EAB has already acquired an early provider of this service, Concourse (“Reinventing college admissions to create more access to higher education”).

Direct marketing tip: this will work best for schools that have the self-restraint to only offer admission to potential students who most closely match the profile of those who already enroll. Venture far beyond that profile and enrollment results will disappoint.

More on “direct admission” (including schools adopting it) at “Direct Admissions Takes Off.”
Most Popular in October Newsletter: “5 Stages of Returning to the Office”

You don’t have to look far to see how the remote vs. “in office” issue is playing out in higher education marketing. Especially as many higher education marketing agencies are promoting “remote” availability in their recruitment efforts.

To see where you fit in the cycle of deciding whether or not to return to office work from “denial” to “acceptance,” see Tom Fishburne’s “5 Stages of Returning to the Office.”
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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