Loading...

Follow Converge Consulting | Higher Education Marketing on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

Understanding keyword research can tip the scale in your favor when it comes to getting your digital content to the right audience.

What are Keywords?

Keywords are the words and phrases that account for both what people are searching and what is relevant to your content. The ultimate goal with keyboard research is to bridge the gap between what you have to offer and what the audience wants. This can be done through both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Paid Search, often referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-click (CPC).

SEO: With SEO, your link shows up on a search page is ranked against other similar organic content in regards to the relevancy of what was search for. Top rankings are largely earned through having your content match what people are searching for – top rankings are what you should strive for to land yourself on the first page of search results.

Paid Search: PPC allows you to NOT rely on algorithms to determine your content’s relevancy to search terms. Instead you can bid on the keywords you want to be associated with your content and in turn gain authority over ensuring your content is seen.

Why do you Need Optimal Keywords?

Did you know that 95% of people never make it past the first page of search results? Whether you’re utilizing organic or paid search, you need to give yourself a fighting chance in the digital world by securing yourself a top spot on the coveted first page.
 

What are the Different Types of Keywords?

The first thing you should consider when coming up with keywords are the different types of keywords and the typical intent of the user that is using those types of keywords. Types of keywords and intent include:

  • Head Type: this consists of one or two words that have a high search volume. For example, if you search “college,” you’ll get millions of results. These types of keywords usually indicate that a searcher’s intent is more informational/awareness.
  • Body Type: this consists of two or three word phrases that pull a good search volume, meaning if you were to search “colleges near Iowa” you would most likely receive hundreds of thousands of results. These types of keywords typically indicate that a searcher is in the investigation/consideration state of search.
  • Long Tail Type: this consists of four or more search words strung together with a lower search volume because it’s a more specific phrase of exactly what the searcher wants. For example, if you search “Masters in Business Administration near me,” you’ll most likely be given specific programs you would be interested in. These types of keywords are good indicators of the intent to make a decision/conversion on what you are offering (conversion is a metric that is used in digital marketing to count when a consumer initiates interest or an enquiry for services or products).

 




When participating in paid search, as the diagram shows, head type words cost more because of the large amount of competition, while long tail words have less competition and are therefore less expensive. Ideally you should have a mix of the various types of keywords because you want to reach people in all stages of intent, so you can help guide them to ultimately turning into a conversion for you.

 

How do you come up with these Keywords?

So you know the types of keywords you need to be successful. Now, how do you generate an actual list of words that are relevant to your content?

Think about what keywords people would search for related to your business or content (these “topics” are not necessarily the keywords that would work best for you, but they are what you can start with to guide you to finding your keywords). There are four different categories for the topics of keywords you will want to consider:

  • Brand Terms: any keywords containing your brand name and trademarked terms
  • Generic Terms: terms relating to products or services offered
  • Related Items: terms that don’t directly relate to what you’re selling, but that users who want your products or services may be searching for
  • Competitor Terms: the brand names of competitors who are offering similar products and services to yours (this can often be a more costly strategy with PPC, but has the possibility to pull in new leads from your competition.)

 

Once you have topics, your next step is to start typing each topic into search engines, like Google, and see what is suggested for you. If Google is finishing your phrase with suggestions, that is a good indicator that other people are searching for those keywords or phrases as well. For example, if your content is relevant to digital marketing, you can type that in and see the autofill suggestion, “digital marketing course,” which would then be a good choice for a keyword if it relates to your content.




You can also use this same tactic with other platforms, such as the Youtube or Bing – they will also try and finish your phrases with their most searched words and phrases.
 

Another way to find ideal keywords and phrases is to utilize Google, search one of your topics, then scroll to the bottom of the search page. There you can find search suggestions that are related to your original search term. This is the platform telling you “these are popular search terms!”

If you are taking advantage of paid search, you should note that not only do you have the ability to control words you want to be associated with, you can also specify which keywords you DON’T want to be associated with. By coming up with a list of these words and phrases, you can mitigate the risk of your brand showing up as a paid search ad when users search for something irrelevant or offensive to your content. For example, if you’re a luxury brand, you don’t want to be associated with terms including “free” or “cheap,” which you can control with PPC.
 

What’s the next move now that you have Keywords in Mind?

If you are utilizing paid search, using a tool such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner can help you determine which words will work best for your advertising purposes based on what your content is and what people are searching for. This tool will help suggest more keywords as well as give you an estimate on search volume and cost of running paid campaigns with each keywords or phrase.
 

While bidding for optimal keywords is an extremely effective way to reach your target audience, if you are relying on organic search, you can also place keywords in your actual content to help improve your SEO (it is important to note that an unnatural overuse of keywords will backfire because search engines have adapted to pinpointing this and penalizing your SEO as a consequence). The ideal places for keywords in content include:

  • In the title of your page – both the actual title and the title people see when your link pops up on the Google search page
  • In the meta description – aka the description used under the clickable title in the search page
  • In links and social media post – keywords in the title of your post can be effective, as well as adding hashtags with keywords can help get your content to the right user

 

Keyword research can seem overwhelming, but when you start to understand what your target audience wants, and you take the time to discover which keywords research them, you can begin to facilitate engagement with your offerings.
 

The post Keyword Research: What? Why? How? appeared first on Converge Consulting.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Mara Zepeda of Switchboard faced a life challenge we all likely dread— her mother, an avid cello player, was diagnosed with cancer. As her illness progressed, music remained one of her few sources of joy and comfort. So, Mara put a call out to the world via Twitter inviting musicians to her hospital room to play music.




My mother is in hospice with terminal cancer. She is a cellist now confined to keyboard and percussion). If you are a musician in [Portland] and would like to come play with her she’d love that.
 

Much to her surprise she received dozens of responses from people looking to come to her aid. One such group, the Portland Cello Project, came to play with her mom, who even while ill gamely bowed her instrument lying atop of her hospital bed. Mara also learned there is an organization that matches musicians with people in hospice. Who knew?
 

This story of connection set the stage for explaining how higher ed marketers can use social media for good and activate our networks to build real and abiding community. Based on the principles of service design, network theory, and our understanding of human interaction, Switchboard works with clients to look beyond empty content toward interactions with value. They do this by coaching teams to understand the power of a time-honored form of human interaction: call and response.
 

Call and response is what happens in churches on Sunday mornings. It happens with jazz musicians who improvise with one another. And, it happened when Mara asked Twitter to send her cellists. Because this interaction is so embedded in our psyches and the wish to help others is so ingrained in our DNA (it’s called the “helper’s high”), it naturally elucidates a deeper connection.
 

Key to call-and-response is the question and answer format. Putting out “an ask” is an important way to leverage an audience. These questions catalyze action as the audience now has something to do. When that ask is met, that successful interaction is content gold. The life-affirming victory of colleges offering mutual aid fosters a deeper connection, institutional pride and loyalty. It is the difference between talking at your audience versus engaging with your audience and thereby creating a relationship. Fostering these deep and meaningful interactions is higher education’s competitive advantage. The future of marketing will shift from the pushing content out to audience to a model that engages deeply with them through listening and service.
 

As a former radio reporter for NPR, Mara draws on lessons from journalism to inform Switchboard’s work. A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education highlighted the parallels between the two industries. Neither industry will succeed by giving into the latest widget: rather, success comes from re framing one’s perspective: telling readers what to engage with versus the emerging trend of participatory, audience powered journalism. Even thinking in terms of marketing fundamentals, it is the difference between selling—buy this now!—and marketing—how can we serve the consumer.
 

At stake for higher education are the declining statistics of our industry:

  • 50% of US alumni agree their education was worth the cost
  • 50% decline in alumni given grates from ’90 to ‘15
  • 44% of grads work in jobs that do not require a degree
  • 1/3 students will fail to graduate within 6 years
  • $1.3 trillion student debt crisis

 

How, then, do you integrate this concept into your work? By re-positioning your audience as heroes on as a quest. A quest has four stages: The Call (when the hero leaves home), The Helpers (who assist on fulfilling the quest), An Ordeal (an obstacle to be overcome), and The Return (the quest has been resolved by learning a lesson). An easy way to envision this is with “The Wizard of Oz”: Dorothy leaves home, she’s helped by Scarecrow and Friends, she is kidnapped by the Wicked Witch, and then she is saved by her helpers and Glinda to return to Kansas.
 

Begin to look at your community through this hero’s lens. How many calls (requests) are going unanswered? How many offers of assistance are being extended with no response (helpers not being allowed to help)? Is the personal adversity they experience overshadowing your messaging? How can your channels be leveraged to meet these needs?
 

Start with a social media audit. Look for how many asks on Facebook have gone unanswered—those are unanswered Calls from your community. You can also look on Facebook, LinkedIn, and in staff inboxes to find out how many people, often alumni eager to engage, are posting offers. There are likely offers without resolution. Importantly, in using community thinking you want don’t want to measure for views and likes; you want to see how many conversations were started and connections made. In assessing adversity, did a photo fall flat because of competition from outside political forces or something else in people’s lives taking them away from being interested in you? How might you more directly address their needs? You need to make sure you define what success means for you. Did you connect a current student with an alumna for a job? Did you connect 500? Did these employers brag about their new hires? Can you create opportunities for your community share heartfelt experiences, like alumni giving flowers to students on Valentine’s Day or alum meeting with students in the library after hours? If you can, you can begin to leverage community members to become content creators and connectors themselves.
 

All of this—the call, the response, the helpers, the return—becomes your marketing story. You have designed your community as a heroic experience to elevate your community members and in so doing eliminated the need to put the institution at the center of the story. Instead, you have a continuous supply of audience generated triumphs that tell the story of your institution, what Mara calls a cycle of success.
 

Ultimately, what this comes down to is the difference between getting people in the door (marketing) and what happens once you invite them into your home (community), as David Spinks claims. Yes, we all want reach and followers and awareness, but you also want retention and active users and referrals and that comes out of creating happy community members. What are you waiting for?
 

Mara Einstein has been working in or writing about marketing and advertising for more than 30 years. She has enjoyed stints as a marketing executive at NBC, MTV Networks, and at major advertising agencies. Dr. Einstein is the author of six books, including Black Ops Advertising: Native Ads, Content Marketing, and the Covert World of the Digital Sell (O/R Books, 2016), which was positively reviewed by Tim Wu in the New York Times, and Advertising: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2017). Her work appears in academic journals and edited texts as well as in popular outlets including Newsday, Broadcasting & Cable, Advertising Age, Harvard Business Review, and Fastcoexist. She is regularly quoted as a marketing expert on NPR as well as in the New York Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and the Wall Street Journal, among others. Dr. Einstein is a Professor and the Chair of the Department of Media Studies at Queens College, CUNY.
 

The post Leveraging Your Campus Community appeared first on Converge Consulting.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

The quickest way to get a rowdy conversation going with a group of higher education marketing and enrollment professionals is to ask them what CRM their school uses. In my experience, no one is completely happy with their current software solution, and the challenges facing their current teams. The tricky thing about Enterprise software for higher education institutions is simply how entrenched the school becomes with the company and with the solution. The contracts are generally 3 to 5 years long, and the cost of implementation is so high that many schools will simply renew their contract indefinitely in order to not have to pay that upfront cost again.

Once the situation becomes untenable, of course, a school may begin the long and tedious process of purchasing a new CRM system. This is usually done through a RFP process because of the complexity and size of the purchase, which is a nightmare in its own right. I’ve had many conversations across the industry with people who are excited about a new path forward, but are frozen by the enormity of the task at hand. As I said before, CRMs are behemoths, their structure can be labyrinthine, and the correct internal support system can be just as complicated.




Buying a CRM can feel like this — Go in with a plan so you don’t get overwhelmed.
 

So, here is a shopping list for buying a new CRM. While this list is not meant to be comprehensive, it should be a great starting point for a team that is considering jumping back into the RFP fray. First, we’re going to start with a list of integral questions you should have answers to from the relevant decision maker before you even start asking for proposals.

1. Who is this CRM for, and what will it be used for?

  • This is an important question that rarely has a complete answer before the purchasing process begins, and it can be a critical error. What offices will be using the CRM? For what purposes? Is this simply a communications tool for potential students? Does it need to drive an application? Multiple program applications? Make sure you are absolutely sure about the Who and What of this purchase, before the process goes off the rails immediately.

2. Who will be on the Implementation Committee once this is purchased?

  • There needs to be enough representation to get the correct goals and needs across, but this group cannot be too big. The entire group may be ten people, but the day to day decision makers need to be smaller than that, possibly no more than four. Do not let your group get bogged down with too many cooks.

3. Who will own the Administrative backend of the CRM once you have purchased it?

  • This is generally shunted to IT. While this is good practice, I would highly encourage any team to include someone from Admissions, and someone from Marketing in the Admin process as well. Broadly speaking, IT does not move at the pace of Admissions and Marketing, and does not understand or anticipate the needs of those offices. You need someone at the table that can speak to those needs.

Do you have a support structure in place to encourage/demand buy-in of the system?

  • Your school is potentially using a boatload of money to buy this CRM. Do you have a plan in place to get people on board with using it day to day? Have you defined use cases and roles that will require training?

 

Once you know that you’re internally prepared to make the change, that you have the buy-in, and that you have a plan in place, you’ll need to make sure you’re ready to evaluate the different companies who answer the call for proposals. The different systems will start to blend together, and most of them will have similar functionalities. While the RFP document can be a cumbersome beast, let it do some of the work for you. Do not ask vague questions. Demand specific descriptions of functionality to help you pare down the list of possibilities. Here are some examples of a good CRM Shopping List:

1. How does data importing work, can it be automated?
 
2. Can data be easily silo’d between offices?

  • This is an incredibly important question if the CRM will be an Enterprise, cross-campus solution. Make Sure that the company knows this is priority if that is the case.

 
3. Is there a robust set of permissions for multiple levels of users?
 
4. Is there a locked in set of values for data entering the system to check origination?

  • One of the primary uses of a CRM is to get a better reporting picture of the Admissions Funnel. If you cannot be certain how a contact got into the system, you cannot track them through it.

 
5. Can it run applications? If so, can it run multiple variants of requirements, questions and fees based on dynamic logic?

  • This is critical for most institutions, but if the CRM is going to be used for Graduate Admissions, not having this is essentially a non-starter. An application that adjusts to multiple parameters using dynamic logic is absolutely necessary for an office trying to juggle dozens of programs with wildly different requirements.

 
6. Can it run events? If so, same question as 5. Also, can it create multiple/repeating events?
 
7. How easy is the software to integrate with other systems? Is that part of the onboarding process?
 
8. How much dynamic logic can Communication Flows handle? Can it trigger off of any set of values, are there exits rules to get someone out of a Prospect Communication Flow once they apply, etc.
 
9. What is the support structure from the company, and is there an associated cost? What is the timetable for response when there is a critical error? Will we have dedicated support personnel?
 
10. What does the implementation process look like, and how long is a typical implementation? Same for Data Migration? What do you consider best practices for migrating data from a legacy system?
 
11. How robust is the reporting of the CRM? Can I do analysis of year-over-year results as well as “snapshot” reports based on SQL logic? Are data fields easily created/modified? Is there a dashboard or other tool to see multiple reports?
 

There are millions of other questions you could ask. Price, accessibility, privacy, security, lead generation – you could write an entire book on how to navigate the purchasing of a CRM system. But these questions should help you develop your scope, your needs, and your path to success with your chosen CRM partner. Interrogate the company about reporting and functionality, and interrogate yourself on your long term plans and goals. Hopefully, at the end of the blood, sweat, and tears, you’ll have a powerful asset helping you grow, instead of a liability holding you back.
 

The post Synchronizing Marketing & Admissions Data: CRM Shopping List appeared first on Converge Consulting.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

With technological advancements causing industries to move at the speed of light and the rise of easy access to educational platforms, how do traditional higher ed institutions keep up? We are a culture of convenience and when it comes to earning an advanced degree, taking the fastest and most affordable path isn’t an exception. With digital also removing geographical barriers and pushing the competitive landscape, institutions are faced with the choice to creatively stand out among the competition or the possibility of quickly getting phased out.
 

The Future of Education

Today, the younger workforce is decreasing the average career length and pivoting their career more often, requiring more education. This workforce also has more access to educational platforms, most with largely undifferentiated content. Online programs are becoming the norm in almost every industry giving students the ability to access both the country’s top ranked programs and the cheapest offerings available all from the comfort of their own living room. The rise of continuous learning with smaller program sizes has given way to a more transactional environment no longer focused on the educational journey, but advancing to the next step.
 

Relationships vs Products

To keep up with higher educations ever changing environment, Chrysanthos Dellarocas at Boston University proposes that institutions must adapt by shifting the focus on relationships to continue providing value to their students. The competitive advantage of higher education institutions is the community of current and past learners and the training, mentoring and networking that can be fostered in these communities. Each of us value our time and will likely pursue opportunities that are more convenient unless there is more value and meaning in an alternative. As we are more often pulled a thousand different ways, having people in place to trust, provide direction and consult on skills can give institutions the purpose necessary to be the clear winner against a competitor. The brand of each institution must shift from focusing on the time spent in a program or degree to a lifelong network that nurtures a person and their career long after their time there ends.

Lifelong Loyal

The traditional marketing funnel ends when a student is enrolled in a program or degree.




 

Dellarocas challenges those in the higher ed space to shift this thinking to lifelong loyal, moving away from a transactional relationship to one where students are kept engaged, consuming content and reinvesting back into the institution. Getting a college freshman to first step on campus cannot be the end goal anymore, it’s the first step in a lifelong relationship.
 

“Education is not preparation for life. Education is life itself.” – John Dewey
 
 
 

We must move beyond marketing institutions as publishers of programs, because the reality is that the future will belong to online programs (Lynda.com, LinkedIn, etc.). Institutions can then focus on building a central hub where evolving life learners return even as their life and career needs change. Moving above the transactional nature of program enrollment will be a significant challenge requiring time, resources and convincing, but heading in this direction will keep institutions competitive. This will provide real value in a time where prospective students could easily be overwhelmed with the amount of options available to them.

Interested in switching up your marketing efforts? Reach out to Converge to get the conversation started.
 

The post C19 Recap: How Higher Ed Institutions Compete in a Future Where Students Can Find Anything Online appeared first on Converge Consulting.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 


 

“Higher ed is an industry where risk aversion can take over. The best digital marketers will look to ideas from mainstream marketing that are proven, but still novel to higher ed.” – Allen Gannett

 

We’ve all heard the wrap about higher education being behind other industries in terms of marketing innovation, but how can we capitalize on that notion? It also begs the question, that when it comes to catching lightning in a bottle and exceed your student recruitment goals, where should you channel your best ideas from? Like me, you’re probably thinking that this should be the cornerstone of any higher education marketing strategy discussion.

At Converge 2019, Allen Gannett showed off his impressive effort to apply research, data, and some super catchy pop culture references into his book entitled The Creative Curve. And voila… here’s the curve!
 

The takeaway is good news for all of us, according to Gannet’s research, “the things we view as unexplainable genius often have a genesis of some sort.” He has made a compelling argument that genius is more formulaic then we may have thought. And thanks his efforts, there’s now some light at the end of the tunnel for all of us who strive to channel our inner Einstein.

Gannett offers lots of ideas, but how can we as mere mortals position ourselves ahead of this curve for everyday creative output?

I’d suggest reading the entire book, available here on Amazon.com, however here are a few boiled down principals that Gannett has outlined, and I’ve rolled into Higher Ed speak, that you
can get started with:

Consumption

Great creators consume content 20% of their day. The takeaway here is that if you’re in marketing, consume as much content within the sweet spot of the curve as possible. That doesn’t mean just looking at higher education, but keep up on all verticals in terms of trending social, display, radio, and TV spots. Make it fun and re-introduce the content to your colleagues and peers.

The example here is Ted Sarandos who is Chief Content Officer at Netflix. He worked at a video rental store at an early age and watched every single video in the store. Using his movie knowledge, Sarandos became the go to guy for matching the right video with the right person. This positioned him as a value exemplar. A good example in student recruitment might be the admissions rep who has years of experience matching the right student with the right program. I’ve seen those individuals shine in many schools because they are living and breathing the student enrollment journey.

Imitation

Here you’re looking for ideas within the sweet spot for other verticals, but really the fringe for higher education. These are the new & next strategies you can apply to your plan to get there first and engage your audience for exponential growth. Think Reddit, Twitch, YouTube, Snapchat, Spotify, etc. as marketing channels that haven’t reached their full potential for student recruitment, but are highly productive for the same target audiences in the retail consumer space.

Creative Communities

Gannet points out that contrary to most interpretations, Mozart spent countless hours learning from teachers and he actively sought out numerous collaborators. You should do the same, surround yourself with these key collaborators:

  • Master Teacher
  • Conflicting Collaborator
  • Modern Muse
  • Prominent Promoter
Iterations

Once you’ve brought to market your program, creative, event, idea, continue to gain feedback and change messaging as your market and audience continue to change. To truly understand Gannet’s curve is to know that every idea will eventually creep into follow-on failure and out of date status. It’s important to constantly be reinventing your approach.

I’ve been enlightened by Allen’s truly inspirational take on finding my inner genius. I wish you luck in your journey, and look forward to consuming your content!

Looking for a master teacher? Converge is ahead of the curve when it comes to what’s new and next in digital marketing. Reach out and let’s share some ideas.

The post Channeling Your Inner Genius: Hit Your Student Recruitment Sweet Spot Using the Creative Curve appeared first on Converge Consulting.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

On behalf of the entire team at Converge, we would like to thank every speaker, sponsor and attendee for an incredible higher ed conference in Atlanta. So many great memories and relationships were created and we are so excited for the next conference! We wish you all the best of luck in 2019!

Below is a collection of photos shot by Joe-Photo!
 




 

The post Converge 2019: A Photo Collage Recap appeared first on Converge Consulting.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

As a faith-based, private liberal arts school in Idaho, Northwest Nazarene University had trouble reaching its target students and needed a way to express their quirky, fun-loving personality coupled with its academic rigor and spiritual quality.
 

Every year, Northwest Nazarene University hosts on-campus events for students to experience life as a college student. NNU believes that general campus visits can be lackluster of the entire college picture. They introduced NNU Fridays as a way for high school students to gain an in-depth visit that is packed with on-campus events and the added option for an overnight stay. High school students are able to escape from classes to attend this fun-filled event. Students are able to spend an entire day touring campus, meeting with faculty and admissions, along with attending class and chapel. A favorite event among students is their Mr. NNU pageant, which is a fun, yet awkward, runway event for current NNU students to participate in.




 

Northwest Nazarene also holds their annual NNU Overnight, which is a free two-day event that allows students to hang out with current NNU students to grasp a greater feel for the college life. Some other activities that are included with the Overnight are attending an athletic event, eating lunch with professors, and playing campus golf to name a few.
 

In terms of looking into how to best capture their target audience, we believed that single image ads wouldn’t cut the chase. This is where we utilized carousel ads to give individuals higher engagement with what they might experience at this events. We thought the Instagram and Facebook platforms would be our ideal channels for their target audience. Carousel ads allow us to showcase 2-10 images from these events, with customizable headlines that are associated with each image.
 




 

This type of ad is perfect for when we are trying to paint of picture of the true experience one might receive. In this case, we honed in on showing imagery from past events of the activities that you would experience if you were attend. Some other uses of carousel ads might be:
 

  • Highlight key competitive advantages and selling points
  • Promoting multiple program and course offerings
  • Showcasing a variety of student profiles and testimonials
  • Emphasizing different options for next step engagement (download content, attend an event, setup a meeting, apply now)

 

When looking for higher engagement in your ads, utilizing carousels will have a great impact on that aspect, when done correctly. This style of ad is perfect for showcasing events and important call-out points. Having attention grabbing headlines and imagery play a major role in maximizing the effectiveness of carousels. I would definitely recommend the usage of carousels to make your ads personable and engaging. With a creative mind and the right assets, the possibilities are endless.

 

The post Carousel Ads: Northwest Nazarene University appeared first on Converge Consulting.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Not only are we suckers for the newest documentaries, but when you hear that there is one on both Hulu and Netflix about the same event, our natural instinct is to binge watch BOTH. Many would not think that a documentary about a failed luxury music festival could relate to digital marketing for higher education, but I am here to tell you what we can learn after watching.

For those that don’t already know, Fyre Festival was a luxury music festival in 2017 which failed and led to the conviction of Billy McFarland, the creator, for fraud. Many would call it a scam, and others would call it the power of influencers and digital marketing.

I am here to break down some of the genius moves on social media that lead to both the rise and downfall of the festival.
 

Power of Influencers

The current generation plus the addition of social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat have created an outlet for influencers to have more power than ever anticipated in marketing. This documentary allows us to take a peek into the lives of the millennial generation, and how they connect with these influencers. Even when provided little to no information about the product, these influencers create a bridge making the power of the message that much more relatable.

This relates to higher education because we are able to create that same connection with our potential students. We can ask ourselves, what will drive their excitement so that they are willing to take action? It is important to make sure that your marketing aligns with what you are trying to sell and create a fluid image your audience wants to be apart of. Millenials have shown us they trust and connect with these images more than traditional marketing campaigns, making it a perfect platform to connect (if they are willing to go to a deserted island, i’m pretty sure they will go to a college visit).
 

Disrupting the Feed

So you may ask, what sparked the interest of thousands of people to buy these extreme packages? And the answer is simple…an orange square, and FOMO (fear of missing out). This picture of a bright box posted by influencers was all that the future attendees needed to stop them from scrolling through their feed and dive deeper into the festival. Not only did it cause them to stop, it created a desire to find out what was behind the picture.

What does this mean for higher education? It doesn’t necessarily matter what you are marketing, but the way that you are marketing your products. With 95 billion pictures posted each day, how do you get the attention of the millennial so that they want to engage? By breaking up the status quo and creating something remarkable and memorable, even if it’s just an orange square.




 

Building Hype

One of the significant factors that tied together this whole event was the promo video. In this video they were able to not only disrupt the feed, and use influencers, but created exclusivity and intrigue that millennials were searching for. So in terms of marketing they found out what the target market was searching for and created an emotional bond with them. As for higher education, similar to the festival, you can show how your experiences are unique, different, and worth noting.

Fyre Festival used the marketing motto of “an experience that exceeds all expectations.” By taking this quote we can learn how to create something that is seemingly known and turn it into something extraordinary. By applying this same hype and unique draw, you are able to create a platform where people want to participate and talk, spreading your message farther than you imagined.
 

Overall this documentary shows the importance of the content that higher education platforms need to be posting on social media. By constantly delivering content to your audience it makes them want real time experiences and for an advantage over their users to have that exclusivity.

Although social media is a great way to create transparency between you and your market, when used the wrong way, like in this event, it can lead to failure. The downfall to this event ultimately was that marketers didn’t follow through on what they were promising. So if you are able to create a cohesion between your idea and and the way you present it then you can create a successful marketing campaign that speaks to the younger generation.

The post Fyre Festival: Teaching us the Power of Social Media appeared first on Converge Consulting.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

As marketers we have all probably wished at some point that we had access to a crystal ball. Will I reach my yield numbers? Do I have enough qualified leads? Will that latest student takeover up engagement? Should I have invested in Google stock? Ok, maybe not the last one.

The 2019 Converge Conference launched with the next best thing to a mystical prognosticator. Taking a broad view of the marketing landscape, Jason Simon of SimpsonScarborough led a panel of CMOs from leading universities in some predictive analytics. The conversation touched on a number of key issues.
 

Professionalism

Dave Martel of University of Virginia started off by noting the increased professionalism within the field. Schools are seeing more people working in marketing and more corporately-trained marketers on college campuses. In conjunction with professionalism, we have (thankfully) moved beyond having to explain branding, and even faculty have (perhaps grudgingly) come to understand that a logo is not branding and marketing is not the enemy.
 

Continuing Rise of Online

Bill Burger of Middlebury College warned that we underestimate competition from online providers at our peril. To emphasize this point, he suggested a thought experiment to the audience: “Imagine if Harvard was across the street.” Online options—from Harvard and others—are more commonplace and gaining in credibility, with public institutions readily stealing students from for-profits.
 

The Haves and Have-Not’s and Politics

Going a bit further, Burger warned of the unintended consequences of professionalization, notably the stratification of the haves and have nots—not only as it relates to students but also as it relates to higher education institutions. Wealth disparities are likely to attract additional unwanted political scrutiny; the left will target for more money to offset the cost of education and the right raise the issue of the endowment tax.
 

Long-Term Planning and Short-Term Tenures

Regina Moldovan of SMU focused on the need for transparency and making sure the school is easily accessible to multiple audiences. Coming out of a corporate background, she stressed the need for long-term thinking and strategic planning, as well as the importance of the marketer to be the voice of the customer. As the landscape changes, the marketer’s role becomes more diverse and more integral, from possible mergers and acquisitions to finding new marketers and brand management.

Importantly, university presidents and chancellors now have tenure of less than 5 years. CMO turnover is even faster. The opportunity, then, for long-term planning becomes tenuous in an already dynamic environment.
 

Barn-Burner Issues

The panel raised several issues that need attention now if we want to change the future:

  • College costs: The combined issue of affordability and indebtedness is making it harder for people to believe that a college education is attainable. Given the cost of this $300,000 investment—pitched to 17 and 18-year-olds—it is not surprising that students and their parents are looking for a guarantee on the backend.
  • Being customer focused: Branded content has brought storytelling to the fore. Within those stories, colleges are no longer the hero of the story. The student needs to the hero of the story.
  • Liberal Arts education: The belief that education leads to a better life persists. However, the value of the liberal arts degree is in question. At the same time, these institutions are the ones that are most likely to be affected by the onslaught of alternative pedagogies.
  • The public good story: As a category we have let others drive the narrative of what higher education is—and by and large it is one of an education being an individual good. Now, colleges or universities promote their own institutions and associations have not taken up the slack. Who is going to tell this story?

 

Making a Better Future

The panelists raised important questions that we as an industry might ask ourselves:

  • What is the marketer’s responsibility in telling the value story of a college education—not the value of your college or university, but the institution overall?
  • What is the marketer’s responsibility in helping students and their parents manage the cost of higher education?
  • How can we be part of the solution to make higher education more accessible to those who want it?
  • These questions are not just for our students, but for us. As Burger starkly stated: we are not the social uplift that we might be. But, truly, isn’t that why we do this?
     

    The post Higher Education Marketing 2029: Predictions from Today’s Top CMOs appeared first on Converge Consulting.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview