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Episode Cover Art: People, Process, and Technology with UCF's Dr. Jennifer Sumner

People, Process & Technology with UCF’s Dr. Jennifer Sumner

We’ll be talking with Dr. Jennifer Sumner about people, process, and technology, within the University of Central Florida‘s online program. In this wide ranging conversation, we hear about UCF Connect, the university’s success coaching program for online students. We hear how the university is leveraging SalesForce and other technologies to improve the student experience. We talk about ways they’ve helped build a sense of belonging for online students and how, despite the enormous size of the university, the UCF online team has fostered productive collaboration among dozens of stakeholders and departments.

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Five Dysfunctions of an Admissions Office

How many times have you found yourself wondering what went wrong with your recruitment campaign when it’s already too late to do anything about it? In my 20 years’ experience as a higher ed enrollment marketing professional, I’ve learned a lot about the blind spots and best practices of our industry. Below are five common mistakes that are made in college admissions offices, along with five steps you can take to be successful and avoid the “what happened?” Continue Reading

A Public Relations Primer with Barbara Pierce

If you’ve ever felt that public relations was a mysterious black box, then this episode is for you. We discuss public relations for higher ed with Barbara Pierce, president of Tipping Point Communications. Barbara has over 25 years experience leading global, national, and regional public relations initiatives, and she’s worked extensively in higher education.

We start by hearing Barbara’s favorite definition of public relations, and then we jump into the major shifts that have drastically changed how PR is practiced in recent years. Barbara shares her insights into how marketing and PR teams can become better aligned, and she gives actionable advice on how schools can increase the odds of getting their stories picked up by media outlets. Towards the end of our discussion, we talk about how schools can better prepare for crisis communication scenarios before they happen.

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Growing Enrollment at the University of the Ozarks

Growing Enrollment at University of the Ozarks (Part 2)

This is part two of a two-part episode in which we explore how the University of the Ozarks, a small, private, liberal arts university in rural Arkansas, has managed to consistently grow enrollment despite the challenges facing small private schools.

In this episode, Reggie Hill, Vice President of Marketing and enrollment at the University of the Ozarks and Amy Lloyd, Ozarks’ Director of Marketing, continue to dig into the key factors that have allowed their institution to thrive; and in one case, generate a 30 percent year-over-year increase in enrollment. We hear what Amy learned when she started attending recruitment events, and how Ozarks has focused the recruitment and marketing activities for maximum impact, which included foregoing a traditional view book and replacing it with something else designed to generate even more impact. We wrap up by hearing how Amy and Reggie, productively, approach internal resistance to new ideas and how they focused on the long game.

This was an incredible conversation that, I hope, will both inspire and challenge you as you think about your own marketing and enrollment efforts.

Turning Numbers Into Narratives With Data-Driven Marketing

Data-driven decision making is all the rage, but despite our best intentions, many of us still struggle to turn numbers into meaningful, actionable insights.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Ken Reaves, director of research and strategic projects at Southeastern University. Ken has more than 15 years of experience in the field of institutional research, and he was eager to share his insights on how schools can make their data more compelling and actionable. Here are a couple of key takeaways from our discussion. Continue Reading

Growing Enrollment at the University of the Ozarks

Growing Enrollment at University of the Ozarks (Part 1)

Small, private liberal arts colleges face significant headwinds as they try to grow enrollment. Despite these challenges, University of the Ozarks, Arkansas’ oldest private liberal arts university, has managed to buck this trend. In part one of this two-part episode, we talk with Reggie Hill, Vice President of Marketing and Enrollment at Ozarks, and Amy Lloyd, Director of Marketing. We touch on how Ozarks has better aligned marketing and enrollment, how they’ve taken smart, calculated risks in promoting the university, and we dive deep into the specific strategies they use to stay connected to the younger generation they hope to reach.

making data meaningful cover art

Making Data Meaningful at Southeastern University

Marketers and enrollment managers are swimming in data, but making it digestible and actionable is easier said than done. In this episode, we talk with Ken Reaves, Director of Research and Strategic Projects at Southeastern University. Ken is an expert when it comes to combining hardcore data and research with creative storytelling, and he’s got tons of advice for anybody looking to make their data more compelling and actionable.

We discuss:

  • synergies between marketing and institutional research
  • the specific techniques and thought processes he follows to create compelling, story-driven narratives that bring numbers to life
  • potential pitfalls associated with data-driven decision making
  • how to nurture a more data-driven culture.

5 Essential Tips for Improving the Usability and User Experience of Your Higher Ed Website

One of the main goals of any website project is to produce a website that is easy to use. Usability is sometimes reduced down to “easy to use,” but it really is so much more. I could write a whole article about the definition of usability, but today I’d like to jump straight to a few tips that can be applied to your existing site, gleaned both from my professional experiences and Steve Krug’s awesome book, Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Website Usability. Continue Reading

Messiah College: A CRM Success Story

For higher ed marketers, prospective students are really prospective customers. It comes as no surprise then, that in recent years colleges and universities have rushed to adopt the customer relationship management (CRM) tools that have long been used by other industries to centralize and streamline their communications.

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Kris Hardy from Messiah College, a small, private, Christian institution located in Central Pennsylvania. As Messiah’s director of web and digital marketing, Kris oversees the college’s public-facing website and is responsible for managing digital marketing efforts for the school’s academic programs.

Since Messiah moved to a CRM system two years ago, Kris says the platform has grown to play an increasingly important role in his work as a digital marketer. During our interview, he detailed how making the switch to a CRM has helped Messiah take their digital marketing efforts to the next level, outlined the challenges his team encountered post-rollout and shared a few of the things they learned as a result. Here’s an abridged version of our conversation:

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Digging Deeper With Attitudinal Research

Demographic research can provide some very useful information about your target audience, but it definitely doesn’t tell the whole story. Recently, we spoke with researcher Susan Baier to find out what higher ed marketers can gain from looking at a different type of data.

Susan is the owner and founder of Audience Audit, a marketing research firm specializing in custom attitudinal segmentation research. She has more than three decades of experience in the marketing industry but, for the last ten years, her focus has been helping clients cultivate stronger marketing strategies based on insights gained through custom research. Here are a couple of interesting soundbites from our discussion.

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