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Articles: Marketing

The tornadoes that ripped across the South in April devastated everything in their paths. Some institutions had to close their doors before semester’s end.

Overlooking the Hudson River, this tech center helps orient the Marist College (N.Y.) campus to the river and will help enforce the role of technology across disciplines.

A year ago, at the presentation I gave at the EduComm conference and within this column (June 2010 issue of UB), I made the argument--and plea--for a web and social media analytics revolution in higher education. I explained why and how institutions should rely on analytics to stop making marketing decisions on opinions, guesses, and hunches and start embracing a more data-driven approach.

So, have these past 12 months made a difference? Has higher education finally warmed up to the possibilities offered by web and social media analytics?

Ever wonder what Facebook does with the information it collects about you? Ever wonder what you could do with that same information? Economist Richard Thaler of The University of Chicago recently raised the notion that consumers could benefit if companies would turn the data they collect over to the public. His mantra is, “It’s my data--give it back!”

Just back from campus info visits, with children having us in tow, we gained a fresh perspective on what today's aspiring college students like best to learn, where they want to live, and how they want to engage in the global higher learning experience. What we learned from the campus tours during spring break is that the fastest growing student co-curricular interests include Model UN debates, semester and summer study abroad programs, and international field practicums in the rain forest and the arctic, and exposure -- indeed, immersion in foreign languages and cultures.

Is 2011 going to be the "Year of the Mobile Web" for higher education? A few studies have already hinted it. According to a white paper published by The Nielsen Company in December 2010, "Mobile Youth Around the World," 48 percent of the 15- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. now browse the web on their mobile devices?even though only 33 percent own smartphones. The Pew Internet and American Life Project concurred in its own report, "Mobile Access 2010," released in July 2010.

Transfer used to be what happened when students realized too late that they picked a college or university that wasn't right for them. It wasn't until recently that the valuable market of transfer students has started being studied and really tapped into.

"For a while, transfers were kind of looked at as extra," says Bonita C. Jacobs, executive director of The National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students at the University of North Texas. Admissions offices began realizing they'd be left behind if they didn't start recruiting transfers.

Is 2011 going to be the “Year of the Mobile Web” for higher education? A few studies have already hinted it. According to a white paper published by The Nielsen Company in December 2010, “Mobile Youth Around the World,” 48 percent of the 15- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. now browse the web on their mobile devices--even though only 33 percent own smartphones. The Pew Internet and American Life Project concurred in its own report, “Mobile Access 2010,” released in July 2010.

Digital signage has existed on campuses in some form for decades. Originally, it was standard television sets embedded in the wall with a slow crawl of text showing campus news. Now, high-quality flatscreens display live TV, text, and information tickers all at the same time.

For-profit colleges have been under congressional scrutiny because they appear to be underperforming in enrollment, academic quality, and college loan repayment. I lead a company at the forefront of marketing traditional colleges, and our team believes that—regardless of the outcome of these investigations—traditional colleges and universities can learn some powerful lessons from the meteoric rise of their for-profit brethren. Here are seven of those lessons.

We have written before about the importance of considering your institution's market position relative to competitors when planning future price increases. When sticker price position is higher than "prestige" position (based on publicly available measures like test scores, U.S. News rank, and selectivity) institutions often see declining demand.

We delved into the topic of admissions office budgets with a plan to feature the diminishing resources available to college admissions offices and how that situation has impacted enrollment efforts. But as it turns out, admissions counselors are also concentrating on the limited resources of their institutions as a whole, and, concurrently, the financial challenges faced by prospective and current students and parents.

College graduates are used to hearing from their alma maters with requests about donations and to cheer on the school athletic teams. But lately, alumni from a growing number of institutions are hearing the sounds of alumni offices retooling themselves to offer an unprecedented array of services and programs.

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