Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… March 2017

March is here. For all our “above the equator” readers, that signals the impending arrival of spring. Despite a mild winter, I trust you are as ready as I am for the first new flowers of 2017.

Join 361 members of the Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group on LinkedIn. If you work at a college or university check the post on top website tasks for faculty and staff, current students, and alumni when you visit to request membership.

What do people like and dislike about your website? Get feedback on 13 important points with our free web visitor survey.
Ongoing project: Evaluating direct marketing search mailings

After adding 15 new colleges and universities getting a late mid-November start, we now have 231 schools in our series on direct marketing in student recruitment. The 4th installment features publication types and primary messages from the 15 late arrivals to the quest to enroll our high school senior. See the new additions from California to Cornell.

Mark your calendar for the 2017 AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education: November 12-15 in Atlanta. Call for papers is open until April 14.

Join 7,360+ followers on Twitter at for my daily marketing updates.

And now here are your marketing news and notes for March.
Cartoon of the Month: Digital Advertising and Shiny New Objects

Tom Fishburne created this cartoon after hearing the CMO at Procter & Gamble give a talk on the need to pay more attention to digital advertising basics than trying to be the first to use a new shiny object.

See why a “cool VR experience” might not be the best place to spend your money.
2016 Freshman Admissions Data: SAT, ACT, Admits Rates, Sort by State

Another masterful edition of Higher Ed Data Stories from Jon Boeckenstedt at DePaul University. Visit to easily check SAT and ACT composites and ranges, admit rates for men and women, and more for new freshmen enrolled in 2016. Every college and university in the U.S. reporting data to Peterson’s is included.

Sort and scan by state to compare with competitors when you visit this Higher Ed Data story.
Virtual Reality: Future Marketing Potential

Thinking about adding a Virtual Reality experience to your marketing? No need to rush. AdAge reports low immediate adoption plans by major brands while citing a Forrester report predicting greater acceptance several years from now.

One of the problems: The current video experience using a smartphone is poor while few consumers will spend $500 or so for the viewing devices that allow a better experience. Another report predicts that by 2020 154 million people worldwide will have used VR at least once in a year but only 3.2 percent will be “active daily users” on mobile.

Read about VR today and tomorrow from AdAge.

A bit more from Forbes on the “fading” VR hype.
Web Metrics for Higher Education Marketing: New Series from Ingeniux

From all the data available from Google Analytics and other systems, what deserves priority attention from marketers in higher education? Ingeniux is starting a new series to help answer that question.

The first installment focuses on 3 metrics for “Who Visits Our Site?” Later installments will cover “How Did They Find Us?” and “What Did They Do?” Start your reading here.
Online Student Enrollment: 5 Myths to Review

Review the 5 myths in this Learning House infographic about students enrolling online programs.

Give special attention to Myth #1: “Financial Incentives Need to be Substantial in Impact Enrollment.” While the amount of a scholarship incentive can be low, you will also see that “Tuition and Fees” is the most important factor in selecting a school. In other words, do not hide that information on your website.

Check myths on the infographic.
Advertising Online: Facebook Custom Audiences

Online advertising most often will work best if you devote your time and money to increasing conversions from people who are already visiting your website rather than casting about for new leads with banner ads and native advertising. Facebook custom advertising allows that.

SocialMedia Examiner presents a guide to Facebook custom advertising techniques that, among other strengths, will let you craft retargeting ads to people who visit individual academic programs on your website.

To get a better ROI from your online advertising check the SocialMedia advice.
Tag Lines: Does Yours Create a “Visual Image”?

If you are thinking about creating a new tag line, read this article by Al Ries, with special attention to the tag lines used by the 10 largest advertisers in 2015. Most create no particular brand-related image that people will remember.

Good tag lines? Ries cites those from Zappos, BMW, and Geico.

Does your tagline create an image of your school that people can use to remember something special about you? More from Ries on the power of “visual words.”
Brand Differentiation: Challenges for Colleges & Universities

If you like Jonathan Swift, you do not want to miss this article reviewing the work of an ad hoc “Committee to Make Us Special” created by the provost at Old Oak College. The author closes with an analogy to events in “The Martian” movie.

Start reading the Inside Higher Ed article now.
Quinnipiac University: Another Great Logo Controversy

Did this really happen? Again? Alas, yes.

Another university seeks to revise the wordmark logo to “improve Quinnipiac’s stature and visibility in the higher education community.” Students object and gather a 1,200-person petition protesting the use of a lower case “u” in the “university” word. Sometime after that the plan is changed, without reference to the student protest.

See two versions of the wordmark and gauge for yourself the relative impact of one over the other on the “stature and visibility” of Quinnipiac.
Most Popular Topic in February Newsletter: 25 Call-to-Action Words

To increase inquiry and gift conversions on your website, review this collection of “The Best 25 Words to Use in Your Call-to-Action Buttons.”
Employment Opportunity: Two Positions at Xavier University

Open at Xavier are a Marketing Project Manager position and another for a Marketing Research Analyst. Details from the links on the Xavier website.
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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

Increase your marketing success with one or more of these services. Contact me for details at

Top Task Website Design Research with Gerry McGovern
Communication Audits
Expert Marketing Communications Website Reviews

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *