Open Menu


Industry insights + our best shower thoughts
Episode 12 cover art: Optimizing the Campus Visit with Jeff Kallay

Optimizing the Campus Visit Experience with Jeff Kallay

The campus visit remains one of the most impactful moments in the college decision process, and there’s probably no one who knows more about the campus visit experience than Jeff Kallay, Principal of Render Experiences.

His work on campus visits has been featured in numerous publications including the Chronicle of Higher Education, University Business Magazine, and the New York Times, and we were lucky enough to have him join us on the Higher Ed Marketing Lab podcast to share some of his best insights.

We cover:

  • why our complex digital world makes the campus visit more important, not less
  • how Gen Z and their Gen X parents present new and interesting challenges to recruiters
  • why rock star students don’t always make rock star ambassadors, and
  • why your guides should never, ever walk backwards and talk.

Continue Reading

Episode Cover Art: Leading with Compassion and Character with Major General H.D. Jake Polumbo

Leading with Compassion and Character with Major General H.D. “Jake” Polumbo

In this episode, we diverge a bit from our usual discussion around higher ed marketing to talk about leadership, which is a topic relevant to anyone who has to work with and through others.

Joining us in that conversation is retired Air Force Major General, H. D. “Jake” Polumbo. Over his 34 year career in the Air Force, General Polumbo acquired a great deal of wisdom around how to lead and manage others, even under the most challenging circumstances.

Among many other things, we discuss why leaders need to demonstrate compassion for their team, the importance of leaders publicly owning up to mistakes, tips for making decisions with limited information, and why character and integrity are essential for any leader.

Get a signed copy of General Polumbo’s book, Leadership at 30,000 Feet in Two Easy Steps:

  1. Visit us on Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes) and leave a review (good, bad, or indifferent, it doesn’t matter).
  2. Email us at with your shipping details. Your book will arrive in a few days!

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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