Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Here's my presentation to the UPCEA Boston Strategic Marketing Presentation: https://www.box.com/s/fm4m97f1s8hh005rhl1d
Here's my presentation for the Financing and Administration of Online Presentation:
Monday, January 9, 2012
At a personal level, I remember meeting her in the late 90's at a UCEA Marketing Seminar in Arizona. She, of course, was one of the founders of the marketing seminar, as she recognized the need for continuing educational professionals to be focused on truly understanding the value of marketing. I found her so welcoming and ready to answer any question I had of her. She was always so friendly and never arrogant or egotistical in her knowledge. Dorothy also got it when it came to communicating marketing issues and opportunities to university non-marketers ... the administrators, dean or others. Dorothy created the bridge for marketers and administrators to walk on and meet in the middle. We still walk on that bridge. She was a great person we, in the education community, lost in 2011.
I'd rather forget 2011 for the most part. The things that happened at Penn State and Syracuse, the people we/I lost and other so-called top events of the year. One media outlet states the death of Osama Bin Laden as the top event, while the other being the Penn State scandal ... two things not necessarily to be proud of, war and abuse. In fact, today, as I write this entry, is the anniversary of Gabrielle Giffords being shot. While I am happy that she has recovered, what a sad day it was for the others that were less fortunate.
- Continued development in social media as marketing and message tool. Educational institutions are still behind here and will continue playing catch up here.
- Data-driven decision making and data mining will become more of a hot button. With continuing educations becoming more versed in customer relationship management, the next step will be mining and analyzing customer/prospect patterns and behaviors.
- Big and small screens. Yes, there's a tablet craze and greater predictions for online learning as a result. However, most continuing educators will not be in a position to use the technology for marketing. Consumers are not just bound to their tablets, they're also buying larger televisions with 3D and greater hi-def and recording capabilities. They're not just home theatres, they're going to be home learning centers as well.
- More apps for education! With the growth of smartphones, most developers focused on revenue generating or information applications. Outside of a small number of apps that were primarily aimed at traditional students, few were developed with continuing and distance education in mind. That should change in the next few years.
- Given the scandals at Penn State and Syracuse, might more emphasis be placed on public relations, crisis management and reputation management?
- The impact of the state authorization of distance education regulations may expose continuing education's customer relationship and prospect management systems and processes.
- Our economy is not expected to improve immensely over the next few years. Therefore, continuing education marketers will still be in "doing more with less" mode, as well as be under the microscope to measure marketing return on investment.
As the event became viral, I was informed by my cousin Vincent about this ... the outrage we felt was incredible, as I am sure that others, Asian and non-Asians, were certainly feeling. Upon arriving the official Papa John's Facebook site ready to vent my anger to the papa himself, I saw that they had dealt with it swiftly. I still posted my concern and ultimate thanks and Papa John, as a result, did not lose me as a customer (we order Papa John's at least once a month). They handled it well from a PR and social media perspective and dodged a multi-million dollar bullet. Kudos to Papa Johns. Too early to tell what the ultimate impact is for Penn State, but hopefully the healing for community, victims, alumni and the university's employees has begun.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Food for thought for the continuing education unit, no pun intended. Are you creating smaller packages or certificates for your valued programs in this challenging economy? Ice cream is often times considered a premium product. Breyers stealthfully manuevered a price increase disguised as an increase in value.
As a continuing education unit, are you looking at whether you can break up your bachelor's and master's degrees into smaller, yet more costly pieces to increase revenues and possibly enrollments. While the ice cream metaphor is different, for education there is some wisdom in this approach. Potential students will see the certificate as steps along the way in obtaining their full degree. This is not a novel concept and it is not packaged as an ice cream ploy, but feels more customer centric. A consumer might ask, "Why in the world would a university do this? They must be trying to help me ... making education more accessible and a credential easier to reach. Certainly, this is not a scheme to get more of my money.
It will be interesting to see if this works for Breyers, but should be reasonable strategy for higher education, as long as we assume we have a good enough product that can be delivered in meaningful and valued pieces.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
- Facebook Ads are still a tool and not a one size shoe that fits all. I will admit my resistance to Facebook Ads and gadgetry prior to 2010, but there are appropriate times and circumstances for universities to embrace them, such as targeting traditional students or audiences with defined demographics or geographics, as well as with a propensity to buy a product or service online.
- Facebook Fan Pages have become more of conversion or advising tool for universities. In the past, many academic leaders and marketers looked at this social networking tool as a lead generation tool. It's still not true, but with other upstream advertising, a Facebook Fan or Group page can assist in converting a prospect into an applicant. As I've witnessed a number of times, a potential student will receive traditional or electronic advertising on University X and in his or her search for information, they find themselves on University X's fan page asking questions such as "What's it like to be a student at University X?" or "What kind of job can I get when I graduate University X" or even "Who can I talk to about financial aid at University X?" For universities, they must acknowledge the effort as a conversion and advising opportunity and not lead generation and in doing so create processes that first allow students and alumni to answer the question. If the response needs to be more official, then a representative of the university should step in. As you can see, planning and strategizing well in advance can have a significant return in the enrollment management process.
- Creating value and trust. My inbox has been flooded with special offers or exclusive member shopping day offers from Radio Shack, Best Buy, Borders, Staples, CVS, Omaha Steaks and more. Quite frankly, I don't mind. In December, I've received a total of 34 messages from these companies ... but I like these companies. I trust them. I see future value in being informed by them. If I see no short term value, then I delete the message. No biggie. What I don't like is the unsolicited and untargeted vendor. So, what's the message for higher education? It's about the relationship and the strength of the brand, but it's also about delivering value.
- What's in it for me and promotion. Last point is that these vendors are delivering something that attracts my attention. It's not long and boring information. There's usually something in it for me or something that I at least need to review to see if there is something of interest. For colleges and universities, don't just talk about yourself. Focus on the prospect and what their needs might be. Nothing worse than getting the monthly e-newsletter that says nothing or reading the boring, personality-less Facebook postings reminding adults when to register or how to buy their books.
Enough rambling. I knew some higher education marketing message was in the mix of the holiday blitz. I just had to blog it to coax it out. Sounds kind of gross, but it worked.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I hope 2010 was good to you and wishing you nothing but the best for 2011. Time to start wrapping presents.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
You can get the white paper by clicking on the title or on link to the right of this page. The top continuing education websites are listed, while the rest are blurred out (I didn't want to throw people under the bus.). As expected, so of the top sites were the University of Phoenix, Drexel, Penn State and DeVry. However, there were a few surprises, such as little Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts. They did a lot of the basics right such as meta-language and links, but still have room for improvement (copy and design).
Seattle was great! Led a session on marketing on Wednesday morning and then co-presented with Janet Gifford, Director of Marketing at Linfield College on the use of digital press releases and link building and how important it is for search engine optimization. Janet is a rock star! You can find our presentation to the right as a download as well.
Enjoy the white paper. It was good therapy for me ... hope it can help you, as much as it helped me.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Trendy and cool, social media has its place in the marketing toolbox. However, most people do not bang a nail with a pipe wrench. Why do many educational leaders believe that social media, such as Facebook, mySpace or even SecondLife, drives enrollment? I've broken down what I think the reasons are:
- Every Facebook posting that they see on their fan page looks like an inquiry to them, but in reality, they may be farther down the pipeline ... having responded to some other marketing effort.
- There is a buzz in the academic circles as to the instructional benefits of tools such as Facebook and SecondLife and administration sees this as a marketing benefit that can be leverage for inquiries.
The envy or cool factor. Their peers or competition are using it in ways that are exciting, which many feel are transferable to generating leads or that the millions and billions of people on the Internet will naturally stumble across it in random searches? Quite frankly, Facebook Groups doesn't work that way. There's usually some other stimuli that gets some one interested in a group well ahead of that.
Don't get me wrong in that I am stuck in time. I love my Facebook page, but for the right reasons. I use it to stay in touch with distant friends and family, but it can never replace the experience of a beer at the beach or over the bar-b. It is what it is and nothing more.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Say it "ain't" so: Washington Post article: For-profit colleges urged applicants to lie to leverage more aid, GAO finds
For-profit colleges urged applicants to lie to leverage more aid, GAO finds
Using secret shopping approaches in its methodology, the Washington Post article states a number of cases of shoddy recruitment and application practices among for-profit education institutions. A side of me wants to hope that the article is based on the extreme weaknesses of journalism (but this is the Washington Post reporting) and the accusations are exaggerated or that an institution had a bad day. However, the article suggests otherwise and that in truth, something poor really did happen.
Knowing a number of credible leaders at some for-profits, I only hope that they are not part of this mix of questionnable practices. I also realize that some of these practices may also be present in the "not-for-profit" or traditional college/university experience.
Minimally, while no one wants to hear bad news regarding the education of our society, what I hope comes out of this is a higher standard for education, marketing and the recruitment process. I only hope that greater details come out regarding this mess and until then I need to show patience about over-reacting.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Kudos to Nelson for an inspiring presentation.