mobile communication challenges in higher education: issues, peril, potential

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Why should marketing resources in higher education be invested in mobile communications? This pre-conference tutorial explores the major issues from mobile apps vs. mobile websites to the simplicity of web design to top tasks for mobile and more. Research findings and examples from higher education websites are used throughout.


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Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC1Mobile Communication Challenges in Higher Education: Issues, Perils, Potential Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D. 2011 J.Boye Philadelphia 2011 - #jboye11May 3-5, 2011Philadelphia, PA

2Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC2Who is Bob Johnson, Ph.D.?www.bobjohnsonconsulting.comWebsite research partner w/Gerry McGovern at Customer Carewords, LtdYour Higher Education Marketing Newsletter 4,100 subscribers@highedmarketing 3,600 Twitter followersHigher Education Marketing blogSymposium for the Marketing of Higher Education chair, 1994 to 2003Ph.D. UMass Amherst political sciencePart I: An OverviewBob Johnson Consulting, LLC3Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC4Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC6 perils with anything onlinePeople are impatientPeople are impatientPeople are impatientPeople are impatientPeople are impatientPeople are impatient

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC5Key Strategy Issue:Why should I put scarce resources into mobile marketing?Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC6Peril & potential in the answerWebsite experience shapes brand perceptionBob Johnson Consulting, LLC7Major reason people go to any websiteComplete a taskBob Johnson Consulting, LLC8Top task challenges for recruitment?Find academic program listGet net cost informationRegister for a campus visitInquire about enrollmentApply onlineCheck application statusGet to campusBob Johnson Consulting, LLC9Mobile App vs. Mobile WebsiteMobile AppDifferent apps for different devicesHow will people find your app?Not easy to updateHigher performance possible/Easier useMobile WebsiteAccess from any mobile deviceCan find using searchEasy to updateWill perform as well as you build it/Not great right nowBob Johnson Consulting, LLC10The Golden Rule5 seconds to connectBob Johnson Consulting, LLC11Growing expectationA mobile friendly website

Not mobile friendlyBob Johnson Consulting, LLC12

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC13Make things easy on mobile is a special challengeThe Internet should work like it does on PC screens.Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC14Can we meet this challenge?As you go to site XYZ it will automatically create a single-column, mobile-friendly view that has navigation scaled to produce videos or slideshows so users wont have to pinch or scan or scroll or download an app for everything. Robert Z. Samuels, director of mobile product development, New York TimesBob Johnson Consulting, LLC15The NY Times on mobile

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC16Part II:Tales from the Research(1) Pew Internet & American Life Project, (2) E-Expectations, (3) Jakob Nielsen, (4) CCI web visitor surveysBob Johnson Consulting, LLC171. Pew Internet & American Life ProjectMobil Access 2010 May 2010 Research Report

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC18New 2010 questions, 18+ yearsDo you use your phone toSend a photo or video?54%Access a social networking site?23%Watch a video?20%Purchase a product?11%Give to a charity?11%Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC19Young adults 18 to 29Heavy use of mobile in many areasSend/receive text messages95%Take a photo..93%Access Internet65%Send/receive email52%Use social networking site48%Still low in some areasPurchased a product20%

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC202. E-Expectations Survey 2010College bound high school seniorsNoel-Levitz & friends Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC21Mobile-related findings24% would drop a college after a poor web experienceMost desired content:Information on academics54%List of academic programs 28%Cost related information30%Surprise? 23% have searched college websites from smartphones

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC22Most desired interactive tasksThe top 4 favored online tasks:Online application91%Campus visit request form 77%Cost calculator68%Online course catalog67%Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC23Text vs. email messages70% will give an email address to a college43% as an inquiry36% as an applicant78% use text messaging67% said no contact from colleges15% said text OK from an admissions rep they were working withBob Johnson Consulting, LLC243. Jakob Nielsen Mobile User Experience Is Miserable July 2009 Alertbox Johnson Consulting, LLC25Main mobile challenges4 major problemsSmall screensAwkward inputSlow downloadsPoor design for mobileImpact on task completion80% success on regular websites from a PC59% success from a mobile phoneBob Johnson Consulting, LLC26Reason for optimismTask success was higher at sites designed for mobile access64% task completion at sites for mobile53 % task completion at regular websitesLarger screen = more successRegular cell phones 38% successRegular smartphones 55% successTouch screen phones 75% success4. Customer Centric Index (CCI) web visitor surveys in 2011If we had mobile application, what kinds of information would you like to access or tasks would you like to complete?Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC27Private university 259 responses

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC28

Community college 717 responses

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC29Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC30Part III: Mobile Marketing in Higher EducationBob Johnson Consulting, LLC311. Direct marketing focusInquiries from mobile at Kettering UniversityBob Johnson Consulting, LLC32The first image while it loads

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC33At the site who fits at Kettering

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC34Very simple enrollment inquiry

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC35Immediate email response

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC36Email links to admissions entry page

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC372. Task oriented home page designFocus on internal & external users is a special challengeBob Johnson Consulting, LLC38A task-oriented home page

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC39No finger flicking here

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC40Easy to scan academic majors

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC41Clean, simple program page

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC423. Text messaging to increase enrollment conversionText messaging each month as the recruitment cycle unfoldsMarketing potential of textingIdentify most promising early inquiriesIncrease conversion of a group with high conversion potentialBob Johnson Consulting, LLC43Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC44Key: Opt-in database

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC45High interest students said OK% of inquiries opting for text updates4%(1,416 of 35,606)% of applicants opting for text updates42%(1,140 of 3,720)% of deposits opting for text updates47%(269 of 578)

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC46Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC46Percent who appliedYield: Inquiry to ApplicantOverall inquiriesInquiries who opted-in for text updatesBob Johnson Consulting, LLC47Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC47Percent who depositedOverall inquiriesInquiries who opted-in for text updatesYield: Inquiry to DepositBob Johnson Consulting, LLC48Not yet applied for admissionBe early, catch the worm. Submit ur admission application by Jan 15 for priority consideration. Get info at

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC49Join our online communityCre8 a profile on the St Marys online community at by Feb 1 to be entered to get ur $200 enrollment deposit waived!

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC50FAFSA priority deadlineThis is last weekend 2 finish priority FAFSA. Go 2 to submit b4 Mon Feb 15 to make sure we get results in time. StMary code is 003623

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC51Merit scholarship awardBob, UR hard work has paid off! Congrats on getting a merit scholarship! Learn more about financial aid at

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC52Register for OrientationBob, R u ready 4 Orientation? Sign-up is now open. Go to We R lookin 4ward to seeing u on campus!

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC53Part IV: Future Mobile Marketing PerilsLegal & TechnicalBob Johnson Consulting, LLC54Continuing provider challengesMultiple providers build walled gardensAppleGoogle BlackberryMicrosoft Multiple standards for ads, apps, displaysMore cost to implement mobile programBob Johnson Consulting, LLC55Legal challengesMust have consent for SMS messagesEven if someone has already signed for emailVisible small print cost disclosuresVerizon agreed to 12 pt. font settlementLikely: easy to find, understand stop sending optionBob Johnson Consulting, LLC56Technical challengesUsabilityVisitor experience will determine successNY Times is right easy as access from a PC is the goalWe are not there yetBut we are moving in that directionNielsen smartphone research is encouraging

Management challengesContent Content is added to websites, seldom removedMost web content is irrelevant to most peopleSilly to make all traditional website content mobile friendly no resources for thatBut what content to leave behind?Will that decision hinder mobile-friendly websites?Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC57Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC58Video challengesMight be an important element, butData plane expense might limit use past early adoptersVideo done for regular websites may not play well on smartphonesVideo users will demand rapid playBob Johnson Consulting, LLC59Part IV:Sources of Information to FollowBob Johnson Consulting, LLC60Mobile Marketing Association

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC61Mobile Marketer

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC62Mongoose Research

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC63Jakob Nielsen Usability Report

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC64Bob Johnsons marketing blog

Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC65Mobile in Higher Ed blog