Digital Strategies for Any Higher Education Institution During a Pandemic

The Blog

Melissa Ross
Digital Content Producer

Digital Strategies for Any Higher Education Institution During a Pandemic

While there are countless industries that have struggled since the beginning of the pandemic, one industry that’s facing major challenges and seismic changes is higher education. These institutions have been forced to completely rethink how they’re marketing to potential and current students. Whether it’s navigating new COVID restrictions, rolling out virtual learning, dealing with students opting out of college all together and decreased marketing budgets, they are struggling to connect with their end users. 

Here at G/L, we work with higher education clients who are faced with all of these challenges.  Based on our experience, we’ve gathered some strategies that we believe should be incorporated into any higher education marketing strategy. And guess what? They’re all techniques within the digital space…and they don’t cost a fortune.

First and foremost, any marketing strategy, especially that within a higher education space, needs to be reaching the right audiences (Gen Z and millennials mostly) where they’re already at — on their phones and online. And the best part is that digital marketing, especially social media marketing, is one of the most budget-friendly options out there. But before you start worrying about your advertising budget, this first recommendation will only cost your higher education institution time and effort. 

Audit your digital experience 

Take time out to evaluate every aspect of your digital presence. Start with auditing your online programs, your class registration process and your payment tools. Make sure that these processes and experiences are simple and easy to use for all involved. Next, make sure that your website is easy to navigate via mobile devices. According to Statcounter Global Stats,  54.25 percent of people worldwide are using their mobile devices to access the internet. Without a mobile optimization, your website is only accessible to less than half of the population. 

Lastly, incorporate customized experiences into your strategy. Not only is this a trend in the digital space, but it’s expected from higher education institutions by prospective students. Whether that’s creating custom landing pages for your different student personas (ie. international, first-years, etc.), utilizing a personalized student portal or employing personalized digital ad and/or email campaigns, these digital tools will build trust between your brand and your audience.

Don’t skimp on your social media

Since the onset of COVID-19, social media usage worldwide is up by 44 percent, and 40 percent of consumers are spending longer on social media sites due to a lack of in-person connection. Not only are your prospective students on social media, but it’s also one of the most budget-friendly marketing tools to use. However, with varying platforms and strategies, it’s hard to know what tactics a higher education institution should take. Here’s what we would suggest:

Utilize chat bots

This is another great way to bring that personalized touch to your brand without a lot of labor. The pandemic has restricted in-person appointments, however you can still have those personalized conversations answer questions and concerns by using chatbots. Using this streamlined method can also help your prospective students through the enrollment and application process. Try chatbots with LinkedIn Conversation ads and FB Messaging ads. Check out how we did this for our client, Lindenwood University here.

Utilize TikTok + Instagram Reels

Since its launch in 2016, TikTok has rapidly grown to be the seventh-largest social media platform. As of 2020, 62 percent of users are between the ages of 10-29 and nine out of ten of these users open the app multiple times a day. On Instagram, there’s a reported 1 billion monthly active users as of 2020, 70 percent of whom are under the age of 35. Overall, 29 percent of teens say TikTok is their preferred social platform, and for Instagram it’s 25 percent. All of these statistics say that it’s a no brainer for a higher education institution to have some sort of organic strategy for short-term video across both platforms. At the very least, it would help increase brand awareness, brand recall and new student acquisition. 

Utilize Influencers

Morning Consult reports that “72 percent of Gen Z and Millennials follow influencers, and teenagers are more likely to follow many.” Taking advantage of the reach that well-known alumni, professors, and distinguished students is a great way to reach your audience the way they want to be reached – via those who they seek out daily for information and opinions. 

Increase your video content output

Video is a crucial part in any higher education marketing strategy for the simple fact that your students and prospects can’t visit and experience your campus for themselves. So it’s up to the school to create an immersive experience representing the atmosphere of their campus and curriculum to those students at home in front of their computers/mobile devices. It’s imperative for marketers to make those experiences come to life through video in order to drive prospective students to enroll. Some video content ideas could be:

  1. Campus tour videos (check out our work for Ursuline Academy)
  2. Speakers
  3. Day-in-the-life videos
  4. Meet the professors
  5. Department spotlights

Obviously, every school needs their own strategic, brand-driven marketing solutions that are tailored to their specific goals and brand, which is something we can help with. Let’s chat and see how Geile/Leon Marketing Communications can help your higher education institution build a marketing plan that will get you the most return on investment. 

Federal Railroad Administration Conference

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Federal Railroad Administration Conference

Last week, Geile/Leon President Tim Leon attended the Federal Railroad Administration’s Grade Crossing Research Needs Workshop held in downtown St. Louis. The workshop focused on issues regarding rail safety, including engineering and technology, enforcement, community outreach and education, hazard management, and human factors. The workshop brought together state, federal, and international experts to prioritize specific research needs related to grade crossing safety.Crossing incidents are the second leading cause of rail-related deaths in the United States, which is why rail safety awareness and education are so important to the safety of our communities. Tim helped brainstorm the expanding role digital media can play in community outreach and education surrounding railroad safety. It was a very productive session attended by thought leaders from all facets of the industry.

Tom Lange, our Union Pacific client, was a guest speaker at the workshop. Tom discussed the innovative methods Union Pacific Railroad has implemented to successfully reach targeted audiences with its rail safety message. One of these initiatives included “Your Life is Worth the Wait”, a fully-integrated digital marketing campaign featuring impactful creative that G/L was thrilled to help Union Pacific create. See some of the work below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1oxp1FsdYM

 

Trending At G/L: Size Matters Not – Creating Gaming’s Largest Universe with a Tiny Team

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending At G/L: Size Matters Not – Creating Gaming’s Largest Universe with a Tiny Team

Imagine a gaming universe with 18,466,744,073,709,551,616 planets (for those of you who don’t want to count commas, that’s over 18 quintillion, or 18 billion billions). Fathoming such a number is insane. Now picture what must’ve created it. A Big Bang? God? A long-extinct alien civilization?

What if I told you it was a team of just 13 developers?

Mind blown, right? It seems impossible, but it’s the reality behind Hello Games’ new hit video game, No Man’s Sky.

The key ingredient to No Man’s Sky’s expansive universe of quintillions of unique, full-sized planets is a developing trick known as procedural generation. Without parsing the coding mechanics of it, procedural generation in a game like No Man’s Sky generates playspace on the fly, following a pre-programmed gaming algorithm, rather than relying on handcrafted worlds carefully sculpted by artists.

No two planets are alike, and many come with their own native species, which are also procedurally generated. So far, gamers have discovered well over 10 million species.

In the first 24 hours since No Man’s Sky became available, creator Sean Murray has been reporting amazing data that indicate his passion project has been very popular.

After reaching 1 million discoveries in the first hour, the game’s servers continued to hold strong despite being pushed to their limits, resulting in over 10 million discovered species a few hours later.

It’s an impressive universe, created on a shoestring budget (with a relatively small 6GB install size to boot) by a relative handful of incredibly dedicated and resourceful developers. And yet, even if gamers were to discover one new planet per second, it will take 500 billion years to discover each one.

*sigh*

Well… better get started.

If you’re looking to dig deeper into the concept behind No Man’s Sky, take a look at TIME’s recent interview with creator Sean Murray.

Have any initial thoughts? Shoot us a note anytime and we’ll be happy to nerd out:

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Behind the Scenes: Product Videos for Major Retailers (with Lincoln Electric)

The Blog

Dan Diveley
VP of Business Development

Behind the Scenes: Product Videos for Major Retailers (with Lincoln Electric)

Product videos on retailer sites lead to greater sales. I’m guessing that’s why retailers like Home Depot®, Lowe’s®, Northern® Tool and others are encouraging their suppliers to provide video and other assets. We recently had the opportunity to jump in the retail video phenomenon for our client, Lincoln Electric, a major manufacturer of welding products and related accessories.

We work with Lincoln Electric’s WTCA division, the retail side of the business. We produced several product videos, 360° videos and more than 150 still photographs which will be posted on a variety of retailer sites, big box stores, farm/ranch dealers, etc.

While my agency has produced many videos and TV spots throughout our 27 years, this was our first where the director and videographer weren’t able to directly watch the shot without eye protection.

I got a chuckle out of seeing our team in welding helmets as they directed the shots.

Lincoln Electric

Our client sells through a variety of retail outlets but not all carry the same helmets, clothing and equipment. So while shooting the videos, we had to keep track of the clothes and other items used by the talent so each video contained only the products sold by each retailer.

Welding is one of those specializations where a true welder would be quick to catch any discrepancies regarding technique, skill level or applications that a novice welder like me would not notice. So we sourced a professional welder who now teaches high schoolers the skills of the trade. Our clients at Lincoln Electric were so impressed with him and his knowledge that they donated helmets and gloves to the school as a way to help his students. Thank you Lincoln Electric!

 

lincoln electric

Alongside the product videos, we produced 25 360° videos that allow customers a view of the entire product. It’s amazing what requirements retailers have for these. Some are actual videos and others are up to 27 still shots stitched together. To accomplish these, our videographer, Steve Parisi from Frame Four Studios, built a turntable strong enough to hold the equipment, some which weigh hundreds of pounds.

PortaTorch – Lincoln Electric

To view more examples in this series, visit Retail Product Videos.

This was an amazing project for a great client that appreciates quality work. If you are needing videos to support your retail or distribution sales, please give me a call – Dan Diveley, 314-727-5850 or email me at [email protected] or fill out the form below.

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Trending from G/L: Why Ili Means You Wasted Your Time on Rosetta Stone

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: Why Ili Means You Wasted Your Time on Rosetta Stone

Joining the travel agent, newspaper editor, and Blockbuster clerk, the professional translator may be the next to find themselves searching the classifieds, thanks to a new innovation in the field of multicultural communication. The Logbar ili is a new, soon to hit the market wearable translator, the next evolution in translation technology.

One of the first capable of voice recognition and verbal translation, it relies on its own self contained operating system, rather than having to be built around an existing platform like current and unreliable phone applications are. About the size and shape of the original iPod shuffle (and arriving almost a decade after), the first generation ili is currently capable of translating between Chinese, Japanese, and English, facilitating nearly instant multilingual conversation between any combinations of the three. Version two will add French, Thai, and Korean, and version three will add Spanish, Italian, and Arabic.

Without a current list price or the ability to pre-order one, it’s tough to say when this device (and others sure to follow soon) will begin to diffuse through any number of cultures and languages, but the process of instant and accurate translation from a wearable piece of technology is essentially priceless to those in both the business and personal world.

Though currently limited in dialect and surely far from peak efficiency, the ili exemplifies improvements to and enforcement of the current trends in personal technology, being both wearable, and accelerating the ever more important idea of a “glocal” mindset. Like the first run of any groundbreaking technology, I won’t rush out to buy one.

While the concept is exciting and the uses seem infinite, this seems to be a stepping stone in the field of global communication technologies, paving the way for a world with seamless and universal conversation, one, which I can’t be the only one looking forward to.

Have any thoughts? Shoot us a note here.

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Marketing Accountable Care Organizations – A New Approach

The Blog

Randy Micheletti
VP, Director of Brand Strategy

Marketing Accountable Care Organizations – A New Approach

As Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) continue toward mainstream adoption, they are positioned well to compete against fee-for-service organizations. Accountable Care Organizations are seeing historical growth across the country (see charts below), and with that an innovative marketing approach to a new healthcare model is definitely needed.

Accountable Care OrganizationsACO Covered Lives

Source: Leavitt Partners Center for Accountable Care Intelligence

It’s been well established that the goal of Accountable Care Organizations is to make healthcare more affordable for patients by offering coordinated, effective and efficient patient-centered care. With that shift, developing a new marketing strategy that speaks to better overall health, emphasizing preventive medicine and incentivizing quality over quantity will help patients experience improved outcomes and greater long-term benefits is vital (For additional information on healthcare marketing strategies being considered by providers, check out our new Healthcare Whitepaper).

This transition will not be easy, as patients have been trained to react to healthcare issues when needed, instead of taking a proactive approach to overall wellness.

As you move forward with these thoughts in mind, here are a couple ideas that can help with the development of your plan:

  1. Promote Market Wellness – move away from promoting specialties and technology and showcase wellness and preventive measures to encourage better overall health.

  2. Communicate the benefits of Accountable Care Organizations – don’t assume consumers understand what an ACO is or how it benefits them. Communicating the benefits of coordinated care is key.

  3. Get Physicians Involved – Physicians and nurses are the best advocates for Accountable Care Organizations because they have direct contact with patients. Provide them with communications materials to share during and after visits that explain the benefits and answer questions about the ACO.

Good luck in developing your new Accountable Care Organizations marketing plan. We’d love to partner with you to answer any questions you might have or to even help you with your plan. Or if you’re looking for additional healthcare insights, check out our brand new white paper here or by filling out the form below:

Healthcare Trends

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References:

Franklin Street – “Tips on Successfully Marketing Accountable Care Organizations” by Stephen Moegling

Smith & Jones – “Transitioning Marketing Efforts to the ACO Model”

Health Affairs Blog – “Growth and Dispersion of Accountable Care Organizations in 2015” by David Muhlestein

Integrate Inbound Marketing into your next Website and Social Media campaign

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Integrate Inbound Marketing into your next Website and Social Media campaign

A brand making the decision to “go digital” is basically a cliché these days. Nearly all companies have some form of website or online home. A vast majority of brands have some social media presence. Digital is everywhere.

And yet, a unified digital approach is something that’s still lacking across the World Wide Web. Digital components don’t align with non-digital components, social media posts don’t have the same brand tone as certain sections of the website and there’s no real way to measure whether anything being done is working.

While a wide mix of marketing tactics can work to generate results, effective, consistent content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs more than 60% less. Certainly there is some cost to getting everyone involved on the same page, but it’s nowhere near the costs of giving up consistent results like that. Whether you’re on the B2B or B2C side of things, there’s value in inbound marketing.

A misconception is that inbound marketing is a tool for larger companies. While an inbound marketing program certainly requires some training, it’s nothing that isn’t manageable. Even here at G/L where a talented, albeit nimble team, we’ve haven’t had too many growing pains in getting on board. Regardless of size, industry or audience, there are plenty of inbound marketing opportunities to grow from.

As discussed in our 2016 Healthcare Marketing Trends white paper, many executives are presented with social media as the answer to reaching a younger audience. And while many millennials can be reached using newer tools, it isn’t always the answer in itself.

From our recently released report:

“Social media is a scalpel. Wielded correctly, with a strong strategic plan backing it, you can deliver a delicately crafted message precisely where you need it to go. But when handled without care, social media can do more harm than good.”

That doesn’t mean scrap social. Rather, it means you should strive to make it mean something as part of a larger, digital, inbound marketing strategy.

Want more insights from our team and some of the leading healthcare industry experts? Download the full report here, get ahead of the curve and see what you’re doing right and what you could be doing better. Or fill out the form below and get the report instantly:

Healthcare Trends

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Real Price Transparency in Healthcare – I’ve seen it!

The Blog

Tim Leon
President/Brand Strategist

Real Price Transparency in Healthcare – I’ve seen it!

A recent blog article from The Advisory Board summed up the conundrum healthcare organizations face when it comes to price transparency:

When patients search for the cost of an upcoming procedure, they typically find the average price for the service. Unfortunately, this information fails to reflect the actual patient obligation. This type of inaccurate estimate can decrease volumes and patient satisfaction.

Like it or not, as marketers, we have to take the confusion out of healthcare pricing, especially non-emergency procedures. It’s stressful enough for consumers to navigate the healthcare waters. There’s a tremendous opportunity to make price transparency real for patients and offer valuable information that helps them make informed healthcare decisions – while providing them much-needed peace of mind.

Slowly, healthcare organizations are introducing more patient-centric price transparency with easy-to-understand pricing information, so patients see their true financial obligation. Like it or not, that is becoming more important as high-deductible insurance becomes the norm for many healthcare plans.

I’ve seen the power of real price transparency first hand with Geile/Leon’s diagnostic imaging client Metro Imaging, who recently introduced an online pricing tool that provides patients an estimated exam cost taking into account the patient’s insurance coverage. It took me less than a minute to get my price information in a secure, private online environment. And if the patient needs what their out of pocket obligation will be, all you do is call Metro Imaging and they will calculate that expense for you.

As you can imagine, it’s exciting to have something unique and valuable to market to consumers. The television spot we developed for Metro’s upfront pricing is not over the top and the theme is simple “Clarity in Healthcare”. The message speaks for itself, so we didn’t hide it with a bunch of jargon and eye candy. It’s not necessary when you have such an impactful message and point of difference!

As a healthcare marketer, it’s been so gratifying to see what I think is the beginning of real price transparency in healthcare. And for those organizations that can develop the technology and operational changes required to offer patient-centric priding, it will be a true competitive advantage and result in overall better patient satisfaction. If you have other examples of real price transparency in healthcare, I’d love to hear from you.

Also, don’t forget to check out our brand-new healthcare white paper HERE or by filling out the form below:

Healthcare Trends

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Mobile Apps in 2016 – The fad is over, but the market is still there

The Blog

Dan Diveley
VP of Business Development

Mobile Apps in 2016 – The fad is over, but the market is still there

The tipping point for mobile apps probably happened in October 2010 when Apple started the trademarking process for the phrase, “There’s an App for That.” Many thought apps were just a fad.

But now they have become part of the ordinary. According to technology author, Sam Castello, as of June 2015 there were 1.5 million apps available for iPhone, the iPad.

So where does that leave mobile apps?

Well, the age of weird mobile apps for the sake of being weird is probably over. Cuddlr, Cat Paint, and of course, Yo, were part of that phase. It was fun. It was weird. But people got tired of it.

Now we are living in the age of practical apps – those that can support a variety of business and marketing functions.

Something that has been growing in popularity over recent years is the idea of eCommerce – head to somewhere like Cell Phone Deal to learn more about these statistics yourself. You see, those who run physical businesses are now making the transition online, meaning that they need the relevant technology and software to be able to do this.

Are you looking for ways to reach more customers and boost the profitability of your business? If so, a mobile app may be the answer. Developing a mobile app for your business by engaging firms like https://www.expedition.co/services/design/mobile-app could prove to be a lifeline for those who want to integrate more features into the running of their businesses.

So how are companies using apps in a more practical way?

A few examples include:

Customer service

According to a survey by mobile marketing automation vendor FollowAnalytics, 38 percent of the respondents said their primarily purpose in creating an app was improving customer service. Another 12 percent said it was to foster customer loyalty, and slightly more than a quarter wanted to extend their customer experiences beyond the Web. “Customer service is the primary purpose of brands’ mobile presence,” said FollowAnalytics’ CEO Samir Addamine. Especially in eCommerce, empowering the business across multiple platforms including mobile, web, in-store, and social can work well. E-Commerce platform solutions like Demandware B2B (Salesforce Commerce Cloud) can give customers a unique and interactive shopping experience. In Salesforce, there are built-in AI and multi-lingual capabilities across all channels.

Employee engagement

As noted in a recent Forbes magazine article, “With more workers predicted to access business applications via their mobile devices in the future, HR leaders have an opportunity to use mobile technology to simplify administrative tasks, boost engagement and drive organizational effectiveness,” observed Glen Chambers in the Society for Human Resource Management’s HR Magazine.

Technical Data

Technicians in many fields could use better access to data. For example, our client, Parker Hannifin – Sporlan Division, developed a mobile app as part of their new line of Smart Tools. HVAC contractors can now read temperature and pressure levels of the air conditioning units they are servicing without bulky gauges and hoses. The app runs on a phone or tablet and displays these readings.

Is it time to make Mobile Apps your reality?

The possibilities for mobile apps to support business processes seems infinite. But before you jump into developing an app for your business, there are some important points to consider. Tom Swip, president of Swip Systems, an intelligent technology solutions company, has compiled a list of barriers to consider in his article ‘It’s Time to Make That Mobile App a Reality.’

Barrier #1 – People believe that creating a mobile app is more expensive than it really is.

Barrier #2 – People believe that their app won’t get approved in the associated app store.

Barrier #3 – People aren’t sure what platform to commit to.

Barrier #4 – People aren’t sure what type of mobile app they should build.

Swip Systems has developed several apps. If you need a help, you can contact Tom at 877.377.SWIP..

Are you ready to take the step?

As Tom states in his blog, ‘The bottom line is this. Your customers (or vendors, or employees) are waiting for you to create mobile apps that will make their lives easier. Holding back on these apps may make it appear as though you are not a forward thinking organization. We both know this isn’t true, so what are you waiting for?’

If you are considering a mobile app, here is an informative video “Making Mobile Apps a Reality

Need help promoting your app?

And if you are developing a consumer-facing app and need help promoting it, give us a call. We’d love to show you an example of a mobile advertising program we developed to help a consumer products company successfully promote their app. Just give us a call Dan Diveley a call – 314-727-5850 – or fill out the form below.

Make 2016 your tipping point for exploring how mobile apps can move your business forward!

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Trending from G/L: A Report On Millennials that stands out

The Blog

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trending from G/L: A Report On Millennials that stands out

Articles about millennials are truly a dime a dozen. If you do a Google search for “millennials” and just limit so you only get results from the past week, you’ll still see a lot of immediate bold proclamations:

“For Millennials, (Bernie) Sanders is a grandpa who gets them”

“Millennials Avoid Taking Care of Sick Relatives”

“Three Ways to Get Inside the Head of Millennials”

And that’s just page one. Lots of generalizations, lots of simplifications and a whole lot of blanket statements posed as facts. It’s head-spinning stuff.

So when our team gets “insights” about Millennials behavior, we tend to be a bit skeptical. A recent report by Goldman Sachs tells a much richer story backed by data, useful categorical info and enlightening takeaways.

Instead of one large thought-piece from one person’s perspective, the interactive guide shows key touchpoints on how millennials were raised and why they view the world the way they do.

Digital Natives

One of the narratives that gets thrown around frequently for millennials is that they’re more socially connected than Generation X and Baby Boomers. While that may be true, the gap is closing rapidly:

Social Millennials

Some platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter in particular, are seeing incredible usage jumps from Gen X and Boomers as Millennials move onto newer portals. So while millennials may be ahead of the curve on this trend, they’re not running away with it. It’s ideas and data like this that cut through the clutter and provide newer insights.

Love and Marriage

Another intriguing one:

Millennials Marriage

It’s an interesting nugget or information on its own. But the report dives deeper into the reasons behind it, including job mobility, home ownership and financial standing. Instead of simply saying something like. “millennials must hate commitment,” the information provides a story that highlights what’s important to people in this age range.

Brands and Retail

Another good section highlighting the ways different groups feel about the brands they use and the way they make purchases. Certainly, millennials seem to be leading some of the charge with regards to online retailing, but we also see growth from other segments in a short period of time. Also, learning why millennials buy what they do is a strong indicator of what kind of products will succeed.

Millennials Buying

All around, it’s a fascinating read that’s definitely worth your time to explore more in-depth. If you have any questions or would like to hear more of our insights from the info presented, contact us using the form below and we’ll get back to you.

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