1. The soul of the Internet is up for grabs. The wide open free internet has become a haven for spam artists. But blocking the spam may result in a closed, proprietary secure and trusted internet that stifles free expression and open content as much as it does spam and viruses. We need to find a happy medium -- and that's what's up for grabs. Source: Christian Science Monitor, 2 December 2004
usjournal.com is helping to mold the soul of eRecruitment. We continue to lead the industry with a strong interdisciplinary approach, tapping into the best practices of education, global affairs, technology, business, and other relevant sectors. We invite you to join us.
2. Creativity makes a comeback. Lack of creativity is modern marketing's greatest failure, notes Stephen Brown in Harvard Business Review's Torment Your Customers (They'll Love It). Now that the Internet has become part of the fabric of our lives, it's time to have fun with all this technology.
usjournal.com has our team of Virtual Interns working on a Global PodCasting Campaign, to tap into the ubiquity of the iPod, both in the U.S. and abroad. What's next?
3. eMail must re-make itself. Students -- both domestic and international -- are more tech-savvy and marketing-savvy than ever before. Some strongly resist completing forms online, as they strongly suspect that their info will be fed into some customer relationship management database, and a steady stream of e-messages will follow. In some cultures, that means those inquiries are even more qualified; it also means you'd better provide all the information the student wants, when he / she wants it, without having to complete a form.
usjournal.com has already launched alternative means of effective content distribution, such as RSS / XML feeds. We'll also continue to broadcast a limited number of very targeted e-mail campaigns, such as invitations to subsets of students in our ever-growing database, inviting them to specific events in their region, on behalf of our advertisers. Stay tuned.
4. Increase in all types of Ad Blocking. Ad Blocking software, like Pop-Up Blocking software, identifies tracking code within URL sources (such as our rotating banner ad for Hawai'i Pacific University in the right column of our Spanish sister site EstudiosUSA.com: http://openx.usjournal.com/www/delivery/ck.php ?bannerid=345&zoneid=0 &source=direct_es&dest= http%3A%2F%2Fweb1.hpu.edu %2Findex.cfm%3Fsection %3Dintl2424&ismap=), and effectively eliminates it from the user's view. We first heard rumblings of this trend from our colleagues in Tokyo about two years ago, and Internet Security / AntiSpam / AntiVirus functions worldwide have gotten more sophisticated since then.
usjournal.com deliberately resists the temptation to over-engineer our sites, in favor of more universal accessibility for prospective students around the world. For our banner advertisements, for example, we use additional static text URLs (such as http://web1.hpu.edu//index.cfm?section=intl2424 also in the right column of EstudiosUSA.com, beneath the rotating banner ads) that by-pass the Ad Blocking software. However, without the identifying code, we lose the ability to effectively track those clicks that exit our domains. The solution: Advertisers may create a special destination page on their domain (such as hpu.edu/usjournal) to more easily track the referring URL. In essence, the responsibility for tracking click-throughs shifts to the advertiser.
5. Increase in non-English-speaking populations online. Out of a total of about 801 million people currently online worldwide, only about 295 million speak English as their native language. There are about 72 million native Spanish speakers online, and about 110 million Chinese speakers. Native Chinese speakers are expected to outnumber native English speakers online by the end of the decade. Source: Global Reach.
usjournal.com launched its family of multi-lingual sister sites years ago, and we continue to promote them heavily. We encourage our advertisers to take advantage of these multi-lingual services, as our professional translations:
- Are guaranteed for accuracy.
- May be used (i.e., cut and pasted) in any communications medium such as print or online.
- Feature discounts for four or more translations.
- Entitle the advertiser to all of our enhanced services, at no additional charge throughout the year.
6. Word-of-Mouth (WOM) advertising will lose some luster. Yes, WOM is the most effective and least expensive form of promotion. But it is based on two critical assumptions: a) The vast majority of your students were / are euphoric about their experience at your campus, and b) You expect to perpetuate the diversity (or lack thereof) of your international student population.
usjournal.com continues to encourage students to refer their friends and relatives to our site and to the sites of our advertisers. But we'll also engage in new and innovative forms of promotion to continually capture a fresh audience seeking to study in the USA.
7. The U.S. Commerce Department will become much more effective in promoting U.S. education. It must, as the department struggles to shift its focus from the manufacturing sector to the service sector.
usjournal.com continues to brainstorm with Commerce's education sector team, to creatively tap into synergies that serve prospective international students and the U.S. campuses that want to welcome them. Stay tuned.
8. More collaboration within individual campuses. As budgets shrink, campus-based colleagues are getting more creative in sharing resources toward the ultimate goal of promoting the institution as a whole.
usjournal.com encourages advertisers to promote as many academic programs as possible, from English Language Programs to distance learning to doctoral degrees, all for the same reasonable annual cost.
9. More collaboration among like-minded campuses. No one program can serve every need of every international student. Thankfully, more colleagues are focusing on their strengths to boost quality. And increasingly, they are referring students to colleagues on other campuses, who frankly have better programs in other areas.
usjournal.com is exploring a pilot program for consortia. Stay tuned.
And finally, a bit of philosophy as we close this calendar year...
10. More collaboration among the private sector that supports international student recruitment. In his quintessential Harvard Business Review piece Marketing Myopia (originally published in 1960), Theodore Levitt introduced the famous question, "What business are you in?" He claimed that, had railroad executives seen themselves as being in the transportation business rather than the railroad business, they would have continued to grow. Sustained growth depends on how broadly you define your business -- and how carefully you gauge your customers' needs.
usjournal.com's fundamental services revolve around the Internet. But even more importantly, we're customer-oriented, with a keen focus on international student recruitment in general. While we don't intend to organize our own fairs (for example), we seek opportunities to work with fair organizers to better serve prospective international students and the U.S. campuses that want to welcome them.