Pump up the jam or maybe just the incoming class

August 24, 2009

Last week I was spending some time getting through the hundreds of items in my Google reader. One of the posts I came across wason a blog called  The Old College Try: Marketing Higher Ed. The University of Toledo had done a video (in-house) designed to pump up the incoming students and get them excited about starting at the school.

I thought the video was really well done but did more than just pump up students. It did a really nice job of getting a group of salespeople (new students and parents) excited about the institution. What is the top question parents of new students are going to answer in their communities, at dinners, and other events back at home in September.

Where is Johnny headed to school again? How does he like it?

What better way to get a group of your best brand advocates to be excited and engaged about the institution. Well done –


Survey Results on Use of Web-based Technology to Support Communications and Marketing at Educational Institutions

August 20, 2009

In March 2009 in preparation for the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Communications, Communications, Marketing & Technology Conference, Cognitive Marketing, a brand development firm, developed a survey to gauge the level at which Internet‐based technologies are incorporated into the marketing practices of educational institutions. The range of technologies, from basic websites through to fully integrated social networking programs, was explored.

For those interested the full report from the survey can be downloaded.

Make the brand easy

August 13, 2009

I often hear these phrases in higher education:

“We can’t make our logo easy to download. Then people might want to use it”

Isn’t this exactly what social media and web 2.0 is all about. User generated content. Social networks. Social Media is word of mouth marketing for this generation. Our communities are going to start groups and conversations using our names why not give them the tools to do it right?

There are 2 examples that I think are really good. One from higher education is Skidmore Interactive. Skidmore does a nice job of bringing all their social networks together and maximizing their brand on the sites.


One from the world of politics is the Obama campaign.The downloads section of the site is extremely impressive. You can get everything from a background image, to buddy icons, to posters.


3 daily emails to subscribe to

August 6, 2009

If you are anything like me you get a lot of email. Sorting through what you have to read, what you want to read, and what you can delete is a task in itself. However I make sure to read 3 daily emails on a regular basis that help to keep me up to date on higher education and internet marketing. By no means is this a complete list but it is my list.

Inside higher ed
A daily e-mail review of top news stories, provocative opinion and great new careers in higher education – delivered to your inbox each weekday. I find this has really good stories and information each and everyday. It also allows you to stay on top of not just web and marketing trends but also higher ed trends in general.

iMedia Connection
Daily newsletter that covers what’s hot in news, features and among industry thought leaders. Successful creative executions, research and industry best practices. As well as tips to explore and embrace interactive marketing strategies. I always find the articles interesting and thought provoking and they provide an “outside” of higher ed perspective.

BlogHighEd is a higher ed blogger network. They aggregate blogs from many areas: webmasters, marketers, vendors, counselors, consultants, and more (including this blog). Instead of individually trying to sign up for email alerts from all these different bloggers get it all delivered to you in one email each day.

I am sure there are other favorites out there but I have found these three to be helpful to me as I do my daily work. I invite you share yours thoughts on these or others.

August is a good time for lunch

August 3, 2009

Over the years I have made it a habit to use the month of August to have lunch with a handful of people on campus. Usually I target the directors of the Career Development, Off-Campus studies, and the Center for Public Service. Each year these lunches have yielded at least one or two really good projects including student stories, travel blogs, or web enhancements.

Lunch on campus seems to work well because it strikes the right balance between informality and a meeting. I start by asking about what might be happening in the year ahead or what programs the person is most excited about in the coming year. Then I just sit back and take good notes.

August always works well too for a number of reasons. Most people (especially those in student affairs) are back from vacation since they are preparing for the arrival of the first year class. Additionally by august most divisions and departments have completed their goal setting and planning for the year. By August the directors of these key areas have a sense for what programs and people will have an exciting and interesting story to tell.

So since August is here my advice is pick up the phone and have lunch.

How University Vice President of Communications And Content Strategy Leadership Roles Are Likely To Change

August 1, 2009

I found a blog post that I thought was so good it was worth sharing here.

How University Vice President of Communications And Content Strategy Leadership Roles Are Likely To Change

The post by David Dalka who is presently a search engine marketing and content strategy management consultant talks about the role of the VP for Communications and what skills will be needed in the future for the position. I am interested to see what people think of his ideas. He lists a number of attributes the Vice President of the future will have at the end of the post. I thought they were all good but a few in particular popped out to me:

  • Person Will Understand How to Create Unified Content Strategy
  • Individual Should Be Passionate About Enabling Student and Alumni Personal Branding
  • Individual Has Experience Driving Change in Data Models, Technology and Process Standardization
  • Person Should Have Passion For Effective Spending and Budget Reform
  • Individual Should Desire to Make Education More Accessible To All
  • Person Should Embrace New Technology Like Mobile and Digital Signage
  • To give proper credit I originally found this post via Andrew Careaga’s blog higher ed marketing.

    The future of alumni magazines

    June 4, 2009

    This week the new Newsweek has been a hot conversation on the CASE CUE (university editors listserve). A few weeks back Newsweek introduced a new look and new approach to their magazine.

    In the May 16th issue editor Jon Meecham (who spoke at Gettysburg last year) described the changes:

    And so the magazine you are holding now—the first issue of a reinvented and rethought NEWSWEEK—represents our best effort to bring you original reporting, provocative (but not partisan) arguments and unique voices. We know you know what the news is. We are not pretending to be your guide through the chaos of the Information Age. If you are like us, you do not need, or want, a single such Sherpa. What we can offer you is the benefit of careful work discovering new facts and prompting unexpected thought.

    The chief casualty is the straightforward news piece and news written with a few (hard-won, to be sure) new details that does not move us significantly past what we already know. Will we cover breaking news? Yes, we will, but with a rigorous standard in mind: Are we truly adding to the conversation? When violence erupts in the Middle East, are we saying something original about it? Are our photographs and design values exceptional? If the answers are yes, then we are in business.

    As a long time Newsweek reader I was impressed at the new approach and one particular line stuck out for me. “Are we truly adding to the conversation?” They truly get it. I don’t want the hardcore news I can get that up to the minute on the web from a weekly magazine. Can they give me value added? Can they make me think? Can they bring a different perspective that I haven’t thought about before? Can they offer me a fresh idea?

    Are we seeing the future of alumni magazines? Maybe not this year or next but in 10-15-20 years when this generation is in their mid 40’s and  comfortable with technology and news on the web. Could this be the future for higher ed alumni magazines?