Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… September 2022

September… Fall classes are open everywhere, move-in days are over… and the 2023 cycle continues. Early FAFSA arrivals are not far over the horizon. Good luck and high energy to everyone.

Notable Twitter Quote: “Every time I say ‘the demographic cliff matters most if you’re primarily concerned about your population of straight rich white 18-year-old students’ there’s a little bit of awkward silence in the room. But I will keep saying it.” Liz Gross, CEO at Campus Sonar.

Taglines: Taglines for some universities mentioned in the newsletter are included. Found those on either a Google search result on a home page. If you don’t see at tag line after a name it is because that school does not use a tagline.
Janus Boye is holding a new Higher Education Connect conference in Manchester, U.K. this September 27-28. Janus creates the best organized, friendliest conferences I’ve had the pleasure of attending. Check the conference program here.

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 October 5. 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 901 higher education professionals on the members-only Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group at LinkedIn. Check the latest post: “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 September.
Cartoon of the Month: “AI Generated Marketing Content”

“AI is being adopted by marketers for all sorts of marketing content.” But is Artificial Intelligence intelligent enough to create content that is “human, empathetic, and real”?

Check and chuckle over the evolution of AI capability at “AI Generated Marketing Content.”
College Rankings: Washington Monthly for 2022

Washington Monthly isn’t shy about telling us why it is better than US News at ranking colleges:

  • US News “relies on crude and easily manipulated measures of wealth exclusivity, and prestige.”
  • WM, on the other hand, relies on the “contribution to the public good in three broad categories; social mobility, research, and providing opportunities for public service.”

Schools are ranked in 4 categories: National Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, Master’s Universities, and Bachelor’s Colleges. The top 2022 schools in each category are Stanford University, Harvey Mudd College, Evergreen State College (“Your Way to the World”), and California State University Maritime Academy.

How different are the results? Berea College (“A College Like No Other”), for instance, is ranked 5th among Liberal Arts colleges by WM and 30th among National Liberal Arts Colleges by US News.

Check the full rankings, the methodology, and the different results from US News at “Washington Monthly’s 2022 College Guide and Rankings.”
Digital Marketing: 8 Tools for “2022 and Beyond”

What tools are you using now to plan, execute, and monitor digital marketing campaigns?

Compare your current tool kit with the 8 tools listed by Ann Smarty at the Convince & Convert Agency. Areas covered include SEO, ad design, and competitive monitoring.

Scan the list and intro notes and sign for the C & C newsletter at “8 Tools That Innovate Digital Marketing in 2022 and Beyond.”
Digital Marketing: Nano Influencers in Higher Education

Terminal Four reports that while Generation Z folks are growing wary of major celebrity social media influencers motivated primarily by financial reward, there is indeed an opportunity for higher education marketers to make use of “nano” influencers (people with 1,000 to 10,000 followers) and “micro” influencers (10,000 to 100,000 followers).

Successful examples are noted from University of St. Andrews (“Scotland’s First University”), University of Oxford, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (“Home Away from Home”), and University of East Anglia (“Find your place at UEA”).

Review the examples to see how you might add similar influencers to your marketing mix at “How to use nano influencers in higher education digital marketing.”
Race, Ethnicity in Admissions: College Board Info to Review

This fall the Supreme Court will begin reviewing cases on the use of race and ethnicity in college admission decisions. The College Board has prepared what Jon Boeckenstedt describes as “good digestible information to help you prepare for a SCOTUS decision.”

Visit “Prepare Now for the 2023 Ruling.”
Latest, Greatest in Social Media: BeReal

Looking for a shiny new object to explore? Try BeReal, a social media site that is popular with the 10- to 15-year-olds of Generation Z. BeReal is, at the moment, the most popular free iOS app download among that generation.

What’s the attraction? No ads? No influencers? No followers? No video? All of those?

BeReal says it is “A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.” To learn more start at the BeReal home page.
Economic Mobility: 1,321 Colleges & Universities in 4 Tiers

Michael Itzkowitz, senior fellow at Third Way, offers us a listing of 1,321 schools by how they perform on an economic mobility index based on a variety of factors. Percent of low-income students enrolled is a key element as is the time it takes students to pay load debts.

Some of the placements surprised me, others were as expected. California State University and City University of New York Schools dominate the top 50 cluster of the 1st tier.

Scan the top 10 schools in the first 3 tiers and download the complete listing at Michael’s Twitter post.
CMO Interview: Two University CMOs Reflect and Advise

Jenny Petty, vice president for marketing communications at University of Montana (“Public Flagship in Missoula”) and Gabriel Welsch, vice president of marketing communications at Duquesne University were interviewed by Michelle Mulder at Campus Sonar re the marketing trials, tribulations, and techniques for success that new and aspiring CMOs in higher education can expect.

Questions answered include:

  • What do you think stops higher ed marketing teams from getting to higher stages of marketing maturity?
  • If you didn’t have any limitations, what efforts would your marketing team initiate?
  • What are you doing to push boundaries on your campus?
  • What kind of support are you receiving, or need to constantly seek out, to pursue your innovative efforts?
  • Do you have any advice or tops for getting more support?
  • What words of encouragement would you offer aspiring CMOs?

An interview well worth reading at “CMOs Pushing Boundaries and Seeing Results.”
Website Features: Skip “Enhanced” Searches

If anyone suggests adding “enhanced” capability (“expanded recommendations for site content presented to the user during on-site search and shown under the search box”) to your “search,” Nielsen Norman Group suggests you skip the opportunity.

Search users are fixed on getting as quickly as possible to the narrow topic of their basic search. Offering them other pathways risks blocking what might otherwise be a clear path. Nielsen Norman reports one research result where only 7 of 60 people offered enhanced search results followed any of them.

More on why basic search is best from Kate Kaplan at “Enriched Site-Search Suggestions: Rarely Used.”
Most Popular in August Newsletter: “How to give creative feedback”

In reality, 6 things you should never say during a creative presentation, starting with “Make the logo bigger” and ending with “Our priorities have changed and we need to ‘Pivot.’

See the other 4 from Tom Fishbourne at “how to give creative feedback.”

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