Gerry McGovern & Audience Based Navigation

Gerry McGovern nails it again. In his latest post, he laments audience based navigation. Not always, mind you, but often. One of McGovern’s main examples is from the educational world where audience based navigation is rampant and, in my humble opinion, replete with the problems he cites. The main thing to ensure is mutual exclusivity among audience segments. Otherwise, people don’t know where to go if they find that they fall into multiple categories. I’ve covered this topic in the past and I’m glad McGovern has given it airtime. It’s long overdue for higher ed to, at minimum, treat audience based navigation…

Book Review: The Innovative University

Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring apply Christensen’s disruptive innovation theories to traditional, 4 year, public and private higher ed institutions. It’s a great primer for anyone who wishes to understand the issues currently facing the higher ed world. I’ve written quite a bit at this blog about the issues this book puts into historical context. I’m now much more well grounded as to the origins of the problems I see and how they can be dealt with in the future. Here are a few highlights: Three of Harvard’s successive presidents- Charles Eliot, Lawrence Lowell and James Conant- each contributed to…

Social Media Starts With Your Own Place

I couldn’t have said it any better. John Battelle talks about social media in a McKinsey interview: “A lot of companies are saying, ‘If we’re going to do social, then we’re going to build in Facebook.’ They think they can just check the box and cover the majority of their social program by investing in a really good Facebook page. I agree that all brands probably should be on Facebook, but what you really need is an integrated strategy that has – at its root – the brand’s own domain, independent from any platform other than the Internet itself. The…

Thoughts on Higher Ed in the Mobile Space

Mobile is on everyone’s mind these days. Many schools have already launched some kind of iteration to meet and compete in the mobile space. But I’m finding the early versions lacking. That’s not meant as a criticism though. All early attempts will be rough around the edges as novelty wears off and best practices begin to form. With that in mind, here are a few thoughts on where things stand. Don’t conflate audience segments with use cases I see this all the time in higher ed. A mobile site offers links to content aimed at prospects and also throws in…

Thoughts on Audience Segmentation Via Clayton Christensen’s Theories

In the past, I’ve written about the line that exists between audience segmentation versus fragmentation. In it, I pondered whether our institution’s landscape of nearly 300 social media accounts constituted good segmentation or out-of-control fragmentation. Since that June 2011 post, I’ve been doing a deep dive into Clayton Christensen’s work. He discusses how well intentioned, smart people can wind up with erroneous conclusions and poor results through the use of traditional audience segmentation practices (i.e. demographics) when it comes to innovation. Why? Because it typically only leads to incremental advances, squeezing out a bit more success where small pockets of opportunity…

Google Maps Frustration

If you search for our university on Google maps you’ll find a listing for a liquor store right in the middle of campus (which isn’t correct, of course). So, what’s a person to do? Report the problem to Google, right? Right. Well, good luck. I didn’t see an obvious way to submit an issue, so I went to the help link and did a search. I ended up a Google help article describing how to report a problem. Let’s count the problems with this process, shall we? Most obvious, is that there is no obvious way to report a problem…

Risk Taking in Education

The Washington Post’s Michelle Williams interviews Eric Ries, entrepreneur and author of “The Lean Startup.” In this clip, Ries discusses how the U.S. education system is failing students by not rewarding risk-taking.

The Perfect Higher Ed Layout?

I decided to head over to eduStyle to check out all the site redesign submissions I’ve missed over the last few months. It turns out that “differentiation” doesn’t seem to be a marketing objective anymore. Check out all these variation on a theme (and there are plenty more I could have chosen). What gives? Have we as an industry actually hit upon higher ed’s perfect website layout- big image/interactive area across top with multiple columns of text and images below?

Please Abandon Regularly Scheduled Email Newsletters

Most emails I get arrive on a regular schedule. Some monthly, some weekly, some daily. But I can only think of a handful that are mailed on an as needed basis. They send me mail when and if they have something of value to tell me. Otherwise, they get out of my way and help keep my inbox free of clutter. Brilliant! This came up recently for me because of two things: First, I received a regularly scheduled newsletter that apparently decided to hit send even though they didn’t have content to fill out their mailing. The screenshot of the…

When Audience Segmentation Turns Bad

I came across this series of blog posts from NYTimes columnists David Brooks. In his own words: “…I asked readers over 70 to write autobiographical essays evaluating their own lives.” I love that idea. Higher ed could do take Brooks’ basic idea and fill some of the gaps that exist with prospects’ and students’ relative lack of life experience compared to alumni. Imagine if we offered the accumulated life experiences, lessons learned, career exposure and general worldliness of alums to the rest of our university’s community. It would create bonds of affinity (not to mention a deep well of outcome…

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