Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… April 2023

April… Yield season continues in earnest and application deadlines keep extending in my secret shopper world. This year, like others, recruitment season for most will continue well into the summer.

Notable Marketing Quote: “College don’t need taglines.” Jamie Hunt, “The Higher Ed CMO

Gerry McGovern & Top Tasks: Mark your calendar now for Gerry’s next “Top Tasks overview” on May 10. Here’s what’s covered:

  • 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

Register now with name and email.

2023 eduWeb Summit: Dates for the conference are July 18-20 in Washington, D.C. Check the 6 higher education professionals leading the program development at the 2023 Program Committee page.

Higher Education Connect 2023: Janus Boye’s first higher education conference last year in the U.K was a success. And he’s now planning the 2023 event. See the first 3 headline speakers and sign up for updates as the agenda develops at “Higher Education Connect 2023.”

Join 914 higher education professionals on the members-only Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group at LinkedIn. 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 April.
Cartoon of the Month: “Marketing Planning” & A 14-Step Guide

Tom Fishburne gives us a look at 6-slides typical of many marketing plan processes… and also a link to what he calls “one of the best step-by-step primers I’ve seen on how to write a marketing plan.”

Refresh your marketing team activities at “Marketing Planning.”
Secret Shopping: Education Department starts a program

Secret shopping is beloved by many, including myself. Checking on how competitors are communicating with potential students should be part of every higher education marketing plan.

Now the Department of Education is starting a secret shopping program to find “potentially deceptive or predatory practices used to recruit and enroll students.”

More on what’s planned and pro and con reactions at “Education Department Will Tap Secret Shoppers.”

Also visit the full DOE press release.
Enrollment Changes: Graduate and Undergraduate

How have enrollment levels changed between 2011 and 2021? The answer, of course, varies not only for individual schools but also by region, state, public vs. private sector and more.

Jon Boeckenstedt at Oregon State University has once again crafted an easy-to-use data view that lets you find the answers you need for your deans, trustees, presidents and anyone else who asks.

Find your competitors and more at “Enrollment” It’s complicated.”
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Models: Digital Marketing Potential

Piero Tintori, CEO at Terminal Four, presented in mid-March a webinar exploring AI models including beyond ChatGPT (text focused) and others designed for images, video, story- telling, marketing copy, and more. That makes the webinar an excellent place for an overview of the AI world and how it can help on a day-to-day basis.

The webinar includes a live experiment using catalog content from a university website’s aerospace engineering program. Piero asked for a 600 -word landing page for potential students. Special attention to 2nd round results when he asks for language better suited for 14- to 18-year-olds than the original version based on catalog content. He then visits a video AI source to add images to the content.

Spend about 45 minutes to see how AI can advance your marketing work at “Unlocking the potential of AI models for higher education digital marketing.”
ChatGPT: How might it help higher education marketing teams?

Bart Caylor at Caylor Solutions is a higher education marketing consultant who believes that CHATGPT can be an “idea generator” to help boost the work of higher education marketing teams when used with appropriate expectations about what it can and can’t do.

See his results for promoting a software engineering program at John Doe University and crafting a marketing strategy for potential donors.

Visit “ChatGPT: Empower Your Higher Ed Marketing Teams.”
Closings & Consolidations: State by State Listing Since 2016

The closing of Iowa Wesleyan University announced last week has continued interest in the extent of higher education closings and consolidations. For people taking part in those discussions, Higher Ed Dive has put together a U.S. map to let you check on what’s been happening since 2016 state by state.

In addition to the list, you’ll find brief summaries of the reasons offered for the various closings. Visit “A look at trends in college consolidation since 2016.”
Writing Right for the WebTechnical and Professional Jargon

Kate Moran at the Nielsen Norman Group gives us a guide on when to find a substitute for jargon on our websites. A special admonition: “Always Avoid Acronyms.”

See her Technical Jargon Decision Tree and more at “Dealing with Technical or Professional Jargon.”

Bonus note: Instead of “disbursement” on financial aid sites, try the Hood College approach: “A payment from scholarships, grants or other sources.”
Pell Grants and College Rankings: Harvard Falls on Forbes Rankings to #16

Forbes rankings have dropped Harvard from the Top 10 list. Other Ivy League schools fell as well. Public universities moved higher. The reason: relatively few lower income Pell Grant students enroll at Harvard.

Forbes notes that Pell Grant students at Harvard graduate at a 97 percent rate, just one point under the overall graduation rate. But Harvard doesn’t enroll many Pell students to start and at Forbes that moves them lower on the listing.

Details on the Forbes ratings are at “American’s Top Colleges 2022: Why Former #1 Harvard Is No Longer in the Top Ten.”

The full Forbes rankings list easy to scan data on average grant aid and average debt for the top 150 schools. MIT leads the list. UC Berkeley and UCLA are publics in the Top 10 at “America’s Top Colleges.”
Most Popular in March Newsletter: The “AI Pivot”

Tom Fishburne takes note of a new “breathless excitement” in the marketing world… the AI potential that’s replacing last year’s breathless excitement over the potential of the metaverse.

More on how to control excitement and manage expectations at “The AI Pivot.”
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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