Bob Johnson's Blog on Higher Education Marketing

June 2015 Archives

June greetings from Houston. I am here at the Academic Impressions conference on Improving Your Student Recruitment Communication Plan that starts today.

In April I started a new secret shopping project to continue reviewing how colleges and universities are responding to an online inquiry. My potential 2016 freshman selected 5 schools. All were in the private sector.

The response to date is the strangest I have yet received in two years of similar projects. So far, no emails have arrived from anyone. One college sent 5 print pieces in April and May. Another has sent a view book. And a third has sent a postcard encouraging a summer visit. From the other two, nothing has arrived either online or in print.

Was it the time of the year? April is a hectic month in the final conversion effort for 2015. I just might try again with a new name in June. Can you afford to ignore inquiries made on your website because they did not arrive at the right time of the year? 

More on this project as the year unfolds.
Upcoming Conference Events in July

The 5th Writing Write for the Web: Improving Your Online Content conference with Academic Impressions takes place in San Diego July 13-14. Check the agenda, including a post-conference workshop on creating and presenting "academic" and "affordability" content, at 

Registration is open for eduWeb Digital Summit in Chicago in July. Check the program details, including my 3-hour pre-conference Digital Marketing Strategy workshop, at

Invite a friend or colleague to subscribe to this newsletter. Just 30 seconds at 

And now here are your marketing news and notes for June.
Cartoon of the Month: 5-Point Creative Checklist for Your Ad

Rigid adherence to creative checklists can make you forget the point of it all and kill your advertising. Check the Cartoon of the Month at 
Branding: Is it a Waste of Money?

Is spending big bucks on branding the marketing equivalent of searching for the Holy Grail or Unicorns?

A Forbes magazine article suggests that for colleges and law firms the usual brand promotion efforts will not alter what people think of a brand based on the experiences they have with it. Read more on "Why Most Branding is a Waste of Money" by Robert Wynn 
Freshman Admissions: Why Yield Rates Fall 

No one presents data better than Jon Boeckenstedt, in a way that normal human beings can understand. A recent effort sheds light on the history of declining yield rates in college admissions from 2001 through 2013. 

One reason is an increase in "soft" applications. Some schools boost application levels to look more selective than they might otherwise appear. Drexel University recently opted out of this race to illusion. 

Use Single School Statistics to compare your application, admit, and enroll levels since 2001 with your primary competitors at 
Web IQ Quiz: Answer 12 Questions from Pew Internet

Compare how your knowledge of the web and Internet compares with that of others by age, gender, and education after you answer 12 questions posed by the Pew Research Center
Content Marketing: 6 Potential Pitfalls to Guard Against

Content marketing can be great. Or it can be not so great. John Unger discusses 6 potential mistakes to guard against. The first and sixth are my favorites: Failure to pay attention to first sentences and content that is too promotional.

More on those pitfalls and 4 others from Website Magazine at 
Brand Delusions: A 15 Minute Reality Check

Do people on your campus have delusions about your brand? 

See what you think after a 15-minute webinar on June 10 from Gerry McGovern on how to bring a better sense of reality into your brand discussions. Register at
Public Universities: Arms Race for Out-of-State Students

Just how fierce is the marketing competition among public universities for out-of-state students who will pay high out-of-state tuition rates? 

Fierce indeed, as a list of the top 50 public universities offering merit scholarships to students without financial need will show. Small individual scholarships can lead to a large increase in net tuition revenue. Not all awards are small. Schools with average awards of $10,000 or more include UT-Dallas and the University of Alabama. University of Vermont, Shepherd University, and UC-Boulder average more than $9,000 per student.

For more details download the New America Education Policy 26-page PDF at
Survey on Digital Governance: Take the Survey, Get the Results

My friends at J.Boye are conducting a short online survey to learn more about how digital governance works within organizations. To receive a copy of the results take the survey 
Insane Honesty in Marketing: Disney World Marketing Might Not Be Best

Do you practice Disney World Marketing, where everything is wonderful all the time? Or do you really want to differentiate yourself from everyone else?

Review the possible benefits of a more realistic approach that builds trust and believability when you read "The Power of Insane Honesty in Content Marketing" at 
Internet Trends: 2015 Report from Mary Meeker

As you speculate about what the online future might bring, especially the continuing move to a smaller and more mobile environment, add the latest annual report from Mary Meeker to your reading list. This is a must read for anyone interested in online advertising.

Start at 
Consuming Content: How Generations Do Not Differ

Generations differ quite a bit on the devices they use to access the web but they are remarkably similar in the type of content they prefer, regardless of device. 

Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials all favor blogs, images, and comments as their top 3 sources. Each generation counts quizzes, webinars, and white papers among their bottom 5 sources.

What is the best length for articles? Each generation favors 300 words.

Check more details at 
Mobile-Friendly Websites: Great Advice from Nielsen-Norman Group

A new Alertbox outlines significant differences between working on a website on a small smartphone screen rather than a laptop or desktop that responsive design by itself does not overcome.

Elements reviewed include the much shorter time of visits to small screen sites, the typing challenge, and connectivity limitations. See more to help you succeed on the small screen 
Most Popular Topic in May Newsletter: Telling a Good Story 

What makes a good story? And what can kill one? That's the focus of "Story Telling to Engage and Persuade." If you missed this infographic based on Emory University research 
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

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

Increase your marketing success with these services. Contact me for details at 

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