Ideas, insights and inspirations.

1. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. (Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco) 2. Viewers spend 100% more time on pages with videos on them. (Source: MarketingSherpa)   3. Pinterest generated more referral traffic for businesses than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined. (Source: PriceGrabber) 4. Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video. (Source: Internet Retailer) 5. 46.1% of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company. Find more great arguments for visual content at HubSpot.

According to Inside Higher Ed, “About two-thirds of high school students use social media to research colleges, and more than one-third of those students use social media to help decide where to enroll.” So why do colleges and universities post unsharable content to social channels that are designed for sharing? Posting the merits of your curriculum, class schedules and holiday wishes for your current students has a certain amount of utility. But is that content, which could easily be relegated to a page on the University’s main site, being shared with prospective students? Probably not. Social media is about people. People use it to post pics of themselves and friends. People use it to promote their righteous cause. People use it to find righteous causes to support. So it’s no wonder that posts about inspirational alumni, professors and community leaders get passed around much more than a post about summer scheduling. The University of Pittsburgh recently shared a tremendous story … Continue reading

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Buzzwords, such as “native advertising,” “brand publishing,” “custom content,” “sponsored content” and “corporate journalism” are fresh industry lingo for what advertisers have been trying to do since the dawn of advertising – appeal to potential customers with content. Though the ultimate goal of content marketing has stayed the same, the agencies and mediums of delivery are vastly different. Companies are turning to web content experts to produce ads that reinforce their brands while matching the editorial voice that the site’s dedicated readers have come to expect. Upworthy — a website for viral content started in March 2012 — creates content marketing for clients. They recently created “Watch the Spread of Walmart Across the Country in One Horrifying GIF” and ran it on their site for the AFL-CIO. “Our goal in this process was not to advertise for the AFL-CIO or to promote companies,” said AFL-CIO digital strategies director Nicole Aro. “It was to instigate conversations that are happening around what … Continue reading

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You know how to blog and to use Twitter and Facebook to connect with customers. But do you know how to create the content that attracts and retains them? According to Joe Pulizzi, author of “Epic Content Marketing” and founder of the Content Marketing Institute: “Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing valuable and compelling content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” The keywords here are “valuable” and “compelling.” If your content doesn’t fulfill these two prerequisites, chances are it is not reaching too many people. Are you offering your customers something they wouldn’t get from another firm? Is your content compelling enough to be widely shared on social media? Take a look at these companies who are producing valuable and compelling content and think about how your content provides your customers value. Red Bull It’s fair to say that Red Bull will do anything, … Continue reading

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We spend a lot of time thinking about higher education marketing – from brand refresh to increasing enrollment. Like most agencies, we’ve drawn our own conclusions, studied others and learned from our own successes and mistakes in order to define a clear set of higher education marketing strategies. Be accessible and authentic “Your reputation lasts for a long time, and needs to be treated with respect. You won’t get very far if you try to be something you’re not. Rather, your personal brand is about figuring out who you really are and what you do best, and then living that brand out. It’s the essence of authenticity.” – Dorie Clark OK. We all know the keg-swilling derelicts aren’t the best students. In fact, they were barely students at all. But Dean Wormer (“Animal House,” 1978) was the absolute worst at making Faber accessible to anybody but polo-wearing rich kids. Incorporate brand ambassadors Getting brand ambassadors to talk is more important … Continue reading

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When working with clients on their higher education marketing strategies, we try to find their most marketable assets and build campaigns around them. Sometimes, the tough part is finding those distinguishable assets. These institutions no longer have that problem thanks to their clever CIOs. Five higher education CIOs who are taking the guesswork out of higher education marketing: > USG, CIO Curt Carver Developers on Carver’s team wrote custom code to handle cross-registration. The custom middleware integrated student information systems to create a total head count of registrants across USG universities. It also let students stay in their institution’s interface — if a student at Coastal Georgia registers for a course at the University of Georgia, it all looks like the Coastal Georgia system, with no need to register at or pay fees to another university. > University of Oklahoma, CIO Loretta Early The University of Oklahoma (OU) is embracing massively open online courses (MOOCs) on its own terms — … Continue reading

Unfortunately for higher education marketers, there is only so much program-specific information a University can espouse before its branding message becomes just another noisy, unrecognizable foghorn on the mist-cloaked, higher-ed seas. To differentiate your school’s programs, brand and message, consider marketing sideways. “Use a peripheral but more human and interesting component of your brand to tell a story that compels your customers and prospects more so than any product feature or benefit,” writes Marketing Keynote Speaker and Best-Selling Author Jay Baer. Baer’s article cites The King of Sideways” – Subway’s Jared Fogle. Subway’s campaign positioned Jared’s weight-loss story in front of customers who would hopefully relate and identify with Jared. The story appears to have worked. Jared is in his fifteenth year as a Subway spokesman with a net worth of $15 million. Sideways marketing is nothing new and certainly doesn’t begin or end with Jared. This marketing technique has been used by an uncountable number of brands – think … Continue reading

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The question of whether MOOCs pose a threat of extinction to brick-and-mortar institutions is akin to the argument of whether digital music destroyed, is destroying, or will destroy the music industry. The answers to the latter questions are no, no and no, while the answer to the former is still no. MOOCs are goosing the educational landscape today the same way Napster and mp3s roused a coasting music industry in the early aughts. “The paint is barely dry,” wrote Laura Pappano about emerging MOOCs in 2012, “yet edX, the nonprofit start-up from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has 370,000 students this fall in its first official courses. That’s nothing. Coursera, founded just last January, has reached more than 1.7 million — growing ‘faster than Facebook,’ boasts Andrew Ng, on leave from Stanford to run his for-profit MOOC provider.” The appeal of MOOCs, much like the appeal of Napster and other music-sharing sites, is affordability (sometimes free), access, speed, … Continue reading

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In 2005, Jerome C. Weber wrote a journal piece entitled “Why Can’t Colleges and Universities Be Run More like Business?” The public outcry colleges sometimes receive when they are perceived as a business is one answer to Weber’s question. Take Thunderbird School of Global Management, who chose to partner with a for-profit in an attempt to get out of the red. “With its 2012 fiscal budget $4 million in the red, the Thunderbird School of Global Management has agreed to grasp a sorely needed lifeline. “The decision has kicked up a storm of controversy. At least two board members have resigned in protest and nearly 2,000 of the school’s alumni have signed a petition contending that its agreement with Laureate Education Inc. would “cheapen the value of the [Thunderbird] degree. “’This is the end of Thunderbird as we have known it,’ wrote Merle Hinrich, a director and alumnus, in his resignation letter.” But Andrew P. Kelly for The Atlantic proposes … Continue reading

Amber Mac outlines her ABCs of social media in the book “Power Friending.” Mac’s “Rules” chapter details authenticity, bravery and consistency as the three precepts for growing a brand socially. I agree with Mac’s three tenets, but would add a “D” for “delineate,” imploring social media purveyors to choose carefully which channels they use to spread their message before gobbling up every network in site. Now, I know the rule of thirds, this, and that The Jackson 5 probably wouldn’t have knocked “Let it Be” from number one with a song called “ABC … D.” But hear me out. Delineating your social media wants from your needs weeds out channels that don’t fit your brand, preventing spreading resources too thin. Is that expensive YouTube video of your restaurant’s world-famous bologna sandwich any better than a picture or description posted on Facebook or Twitter in a fraction of the time? Are the hours you spend posting photos of your hydrofracking hose … Continue reading

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