Marketing Genius from Maple Creative


Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Higher Education Online - More Great Insights from Contributor Jennifer Wood

In case you missed the fabulous first part of this mini-series from Jennifer Wood, Web site and enrollment marketing coordinator for the University of Charleston, you can check it out here. Last month, Jennifer took us inside of her audience. Here, she gets into the nuts and bolts of marketing a university to prospective students. Jen is a longstanding member of the Marketing Genius family and a genius marketer in her own right. We're thrilled to have this guest contribtuion from Jen!

The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How

If you ask the important question of “How did you hear about us?” then you will have insight into how students find you. If you realize they are not finding out through electronic means, then I would say that you need to look at what strategies you’re carrying out electronically. If your web presence is lacking or difficult to find or navigate, your chances that students find out about you via electronic means is probably fairly slim. Tracking communications of who you send what to, how they receive it, how many conversions you have (applicants / deposits / registrants), you can find which tasks result in good leads and enrollment. This question can help you figure out where you should spend, cut, reallocate, etc. It’s interesting how much information and insight you can obtain through one question.

In higher education marketing, it’s now becoming evident that students are applying for college differently than before. In the “good old days”, students filled out an inquiry card or completed an online form to receive more information about the school in a follow up communication. We have seen a shift from that original process. Now students go right for the online application and avoid the other means of initial contact, at least electronically. Our web analytics show that students who complete online applications are twice as likely to be new visitors instead of returning visitors. So what does that say about our marketing strategy? How do we shift our promotional materials to accommodate that shift? Honestly, we’re still figuring that out.

As I write this blog post, I’m rethinking our electronic marketing strategy here at UC. Many times, daily operations take precedence over other marketing aspirations and get put on the back burner. I use that “excuse” all the time. My goal now is to find out what our resources are to improve our tracking system of applicants or “customers”. This of course, it will need to be an integrated effort with admissions, student life, communications, the registrar, and probably the IT department (to make appropriate changes to our systems).

So, I’d like to hear from folks out there….Anyone else experiencing this shift to “secret” or “discreet” customers? They don’t browse around first…they go right for the application or shopping cart? What is your conversion rate of these folks?

I’d love to find out how other industries are coping with this shift and how they are marketing through this new process. Not all questions in life can be answered merely by asking them. However, in marketing, many customers want to have a dialogue about their choices.

And for a bit of fun and humor on your way out, check out this really illustrative YouTube video, "Breaking Up," which shines some light on marketing dialogue.

I look forward to hearing from you with a comment here, or via e-mail:
Jennifer Wood

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Anonymous Janet Johnson said...


Once again, I really appreciate your inviting Jennifer to post here. I am already sending the links to her two posts to 'those in need' - specifically, those who are trying to get closer to what makes the student experience - here on the West coast.

Thank you both for raising our awareness...

11:27 AM

Blogger Skip Lineberg said...


Thank you for your comment. It's great that you found Jennifer's commentary so useful. How cool is it that her content is now moving around the West Coast! Very kind of you to spread the message.


1:48 PM


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