The best that I could do, 2016 edition

Another year of lackluster, off-and-on, occasionally inspired but often phoned-in blogging about higher ed, marketing and higher ed marketing is almost in the books. So it’s time once again to submit for your consideration this blog’s most popular posts of 2016, based on eyeballs. It seems the posts that got the most views — including every post listed below — are also the ones in which I offer little to no original content or thought, but merely comment on other articles circulating in the mediasphere. So it goes. And so here you go:

  1. The #highered #branding problem: lack of differentiation (May 2, 2016). This was me riffing on an InsideHigherEd article about tagline proliferation. “When so many colleges and universities offer the same degree programs, conduct the same cutting-edge research, and boast the same small class sizes and caring faculty, what makes the difference? … Those of us responsible for marketing our colleges and universities find ourselves grasping for something – anything – that will make us stand out from the crowd.”
  2. Marketing’s pain points for 2016 (Jan. 4, 2016). Here, I regurgitate a lot of material from an American Marketing Association article about this topic. But I at least summarize it in two statements that are somewhat of my own design: “Marketers are overwhelmed by the marketing agenda” and “Marketers don’t feel equipped and/or empowered to drive business growth.”
  3. Can #highered move from hierarchical to networked? (Feb. 7, 2016). Stealing again from another publication, this time the Harvard Business Review. The HBR article is about trends that are re-shaping the structure of organizations, and I opine a bit about what might or might not work in the higher education sector. Here’s a bit, in response to the idea of work networks that form organically. “In higher education, that problem [of silos] exists. But there’s also an opposite, more sinister situation: the ‘forced networks’ imposed on projects and programs. In higher education, we call these forced networks ‘committees’ or ‘task forces’ or ‘work groups.’ … Whether it’s the unwilling or the over-committed who are on the committee, you can bet that the work will get bogged down. At times, it’s better to have willing individuals working on projects in functioning silos rather than having a committee or the misnamed work group.”
  4. Friday Five: What digital-savvy students want (and don’t want) (May 20, 2016). Huzzah! A Friday Five made the cut. And guess what? It’s another riff on yet another article, report or study by yet another organization. This time, I’m deconstructing a report called “The Digital Search for Education,” and I sagely conclude almost exactly what I say in the headline of this post: That the report “holds a wealth of data about what today’s digitally connected prospective students want — and what they don’t want.”
  5. In marketing, put strategy first (Aug. 21, 2016). Yes, it’s another rip-off of another blogger’s idea, modified slightly for the higher ed crowd. The victim this time was this spot-on post by Chris Brown. But I also stole from myself a bit, because I’ve written about this topic before, too (here and there).

Happy almost new year. Let’s hope that, unlike this blog post, the new year isn’t a rehash of this one.

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Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

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