Friday, August 30, 2013

Business Outreach Tip: STOP Doing the Same Old Things

I saw a blog the other day and after taking a course at a Community College  years ago, I found my copy of Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson.  

It’s a story about two mice and two “little people” who are the size of mice, but who are human and have human brains and emotions. The mice, on the other hand, act like mice – they act on instinct and are always in hot pursuit of cheese.

They're all camped out on Cheese Station C, enjoying their vast supply of cheese.  Until it runs out one day.

The mice, being mice and unemotional, simply put their running shoes on and scurry back into the world, in search of new cheese.

The little people, being unemotional humans, whine and complain.  They yell and huff and puff, "This isn't right" and "We want our cheese back!"

It takes them a long time, but finally one of the of little people gets out into the world, searching for new cheese.  It's not easy, it's discouraging at times, and takes time.  But eventually he finds his new cheese, and it's bigger and a more delicious pile of cheese than he'd ever seen before.

The moral of the story?  Do something different, be persistent and Don't Give Up!

Are YOU Doing Something Different? Or are YOU Doing the Same Old Things?

One of the biggest areas where change is happening is in Higher Education.  Twenty years ago, no one predicted that the Internet would be play a prominent role in enrollments and online learning.  And as little as five years ago, few people anticipated that you could do business using online integrated marketing (SEO, blogs, social media, etc.) generating interests and enrollments in your institutions.

Yet, despite all that, many colleges are still resistent and are doing what their predecessors did years ago, traditional marketing (TV, Print, Radio) with an informational website.

By doing the same old things, will your supply of proverbial "cheese" run out as more students and adult learners build college relationships, via social media and other Information Age avenues?

So do this right now.  Try something new.  It's time for change by adapting to a new generation of learners before your "cheese" runs out!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Notice: Liberal Arts Majors

20 cities looking for Liberal Arts Majors.  Think about adding a skill and your chances for higher visibility increases 4-fold...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Healthy Tips!

Did you know that just a few serious sunburns can increase your child's risk of skin cancer later in life? Kids don't have to be at the pool, beach or on vacation to get too much sun. Their skin needs protection from the sun's harmful UV rays whenever they're outdoors.

Most of us know how important it is to rub on sunscreen with UVA/UVB protection. But, there are additional ways to protect your child's skin: keep them in the shade when the UV rays are strongest (10 a.m.
to 4 p.m.), cover them up with protective clothing and have them wear a hat.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

Friday, August 9, 2013

Competing with For-Profits in Attracting Businesses

Has anyone seen the latest University of Phoenix (UoP) commercials?  What is the message?  Get an education at UoP - our graduates are executives in business and we have business partners to help you get to where you want to be…  And colleges like Strayer University, Grand Canyon University are now listed in INC as one of the top 50 companies.
A major trend in Higher Education enrollments for the past decade has been the number of adults greater than age 25 and older seeking an education.  It could be finishing their degree through employer tuition aid, upgrading their professional skills to be more attractable to their company, changing careers, or reestablishing a post-military career.  As people are positioning themselves for success – and corporate executives agree – education is the key that opens the door to work that’s meaningful, financially rewarding and in demand.  There is every indication that this trend will continue, but with who?

Most segments of higher education are competing for these students and one way is to strategically establish business relationships.  For profits such as the above are increasingly developing these relationships and are dominating the market as a result of innovative approaches to learning and their significantly larger promotional budgets.  Here a few strategies not-for-profit and public institutions can adopt to help level the playing field.

1.     Know Your Strengths and Recognize Your WeaknessesStrengths:  All colleges and universities pride themselves on developing traditional academic programs, curriculum and teaching for the 18-21 year old.  Public Institutions and community colleges need to apply this strength into workforce training; working with businesses that need these best practices to customize their needs into educational solutions for their employees.  Additionally, professional certificates in business, healthcare and IT technology areas already have been developed and in many cases have become the mainstays of these institutions.  Weaknesses:  First, all colleges and universities need to work hard in counseling students and assisting students who are having difficulty in completing their programs. Second, public institutions and community colleges need to market and attract businesses through a data driven-results approach - following up with businesses on new trends in education and promoting successful programs that have led to employment are essential in establishing and maintaining integrity and credibility in the businessworld.  You can accomplish this by developing an interactive student support service, a marketing promotional strategy and a business outreach plan.  Marketing strategies can be following up with successful alumni, telling success stories and advertising the success of a particular individual or business partner on your brochures, website, podcast, blog and social media campaigns. You might even consider outsourcing these functions to a professional, trusted and valued partner on a contractual basis,  

2.     Changing Demographics - The new generational mix, active adult lifestyles and corporate globalization will be a critical factor when choosing a college or university academic degree or professional certificate programs.  For-profits have done remarkably well in the past decade to accommodate these demographics, especially though online learning.  Public institutions and community colleges will need to invest in, develop and build their technology infrastructure, student support services and inbound marketing in order to compete with for-profits for students and corporate executives interested in their degree and certificate programs, philantrophy, career fairs, employer sponsorships, etc.. 

3.     Engagement - Lastly, the most important program strategy for any college and university is to get students and business involved.  Colleges and universities, similar to UoP, need to demonstrate that their academic and certificate programs meet the needs of businesses which will in turn positively impact the industries they serve.  This helps to connect the student to the college to the business.  
Given the number of options that adult students and businesses have when selecting a college or university, public institutions and community colleges must go above and beyond to ensure students and businesses understand exactly the advantages the provide  (see The Learning Strategy’s 15 Reasons Why Community Colleges Should be Your Business Training Resource). 

Health Tips!


Many times people overestimate the calories they burn with exercise, and they may reward themselves by eating more. If you run for an hour and then go out for a large high-calorie coffee drink with a large muffin, you probably consumed more calories than you burned. This may not be a problem if you are trying to maintain your current weight, but if your goal is to shed a few pounds, be cautious of feeling "entitled" to eat more because of your exercise. You could sabotage your efforts.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Top Five Ways to Market Higher Education to Businesses

With the increasing pressure for Higher Education to meet business educational needs, the label of “off-the-shelf” traditional classes has flipped.  Rather than meeting the needs of its faculty, it’s meeting the needs of a dynamic, rapidly changing business environment.  Is this even possible, given the college’s resources and experience?

There are plenty of college institutions out there that have workforce, corporate training, contract training and continuing education departments who are more than eager to offer the ideal customized solution to a business.  For-profit and non-profit institutions alike are becoming increasingly savvy at delivering need analysis and assessments, cobranding curriculum design/development and delivering non-traditional learning platforms (i.e. blended, hybrid, virtual, webinars, online, etc.).  Just send out a flyer, email blast, and make some phone calls or lately, an invitation to chat with a live representative.  Will those messages aim to educate or persuade a business?  Just as education providers are becoming better in marketing, so are the prospective businesses.  So the question becomes-do you have their attention-will you sell them or will you serve them?  The following are the top 5 ways to market Higher Education to Businesses:

1.       Provide a business-friendly website experience.
Many colleges ignore business program information as an afterthought to their traditional student-centric marketing.  Off-the-shelf and traditional programs are less complex and are simply what college instructors know best, so they tend to dominate traditional catalogs that migrate to their website for students.  Don’t make it difficult for a business find out what is available to them with an experience that speaks to their needs.  Create value added content messaging and linking throughout the experience.

2.       Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – seek B2B professional help.
Adding a few meta-tags is simply not going to cut it if you want to be a thought leader in education and be on top of the search results of businesses.  Your key pages, keywords, blogs, podcasts, social media, must be targeted and handled by professionals who know business.  Do-it-yourself SEO is a dangerous way handle a critical element of your digital marketing strategy.  This is especially true due to the fact that many institutions of higher education have minimal marketing budgets that try to cover students, community and business organizations.  Identify areas where you offer a business solution and optimize your content to get businesses there quickly.  You’ll serve the business and your institution.

3.       Use a B2B Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System – A traditional Student Information CRM won’t suffice.
If you plan to provide an efficient and effective experience for businesses interested in learning about your programs, it will most likely be a combination of automation and personalization.  A CRM helps you to collect information from businesses, industries, employee-students, grant programs in an organized way.  This enables you to respond to their needs immediately, track your interactions and offer them valuable feedback on what’s working and what’s not working.  This is a different dynamic compared to student information data gathering.  Determine what communication is valuable to the business so you can automate and make the time required for relationship building.

4.       Integrate traditional customer service and content-rich self-service resources.
Businesses, more than any other segment, are constantly being sold to before they even inquire.  By incorporating interactive tools and self-service elements to your website and landing pages, you give them the opportunity to feel in control to educate themselves on your educational options.  Video testimonials, program previews, CEU-credit transfers, grant programs, live chat, and unfiltered social media conversations provide a way for the prospective business to get to know you on their terms.  We found an increasing number of businesses that know about their local colleges but don’t know how they, as a business, can benefit from their programs and services. 

5.       Most importantly, proactively reach out to businesses – The Personal Touch.
While website, email blasts, and social media of the business shopping experience are important to learn about your programs, there is no replacement for proactive, personal business outreach.  Businesses know about your college and want explore more about information regarding new trends in education, customized training, partnerships, grant opportunities, campus career fairs, community and foundation events, sponsorships, etc.  

It’s a win-win relationship and both parties will learn more by meeting each other….

Our Appointment Lab and Inbound Marketing services help colleges and universities guide these strategies and tactics in an informed way that will lead to a more relevant, useful experience for businesses.  When businesses can make a balanced and informed decision about the best ways in serving their needs, this is a critical first step in trusting and valuing an educational partner in accomplishing their educational goals and objectives.

Contact Jeff at