What “Moneyball” Can Teach You About Competing As A Small School

Accomplish a Lot with a LittleMany of you have either seen or heard about the 2011 movie Moneyball starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. The story line follows Pitt and Hill’s characters as they use a unique statistical methodology to turn around a failing and flailing 2002 Oakland A’s pro baseball team that has very little money compared to the NY Yankees-type behemoths of the league.

Sound familiar? If you are a small college, I’ll bet you feel like the 2002 Oakland A’s. How are you supposed to compete for the same high caliber students with such a meager (in proportion) budget?

Last Thursday, TWG Plus president Scott Novak presented a webinar titled “Accomplish a Lot with a Little.” This timely, insight-laden webinar, the first in a 5-part series, offers tips, tricks and low-cost best practices to help small schools compete more effectively at more reasonable costs.

We’re making this 30-minute webinar available at no cost for our small college friends and colleagues (just don’t tell the big schools). As you check out the webinar, ask yourself these questions…

  • Can I duplicate these success stories at my school?
  • Do I want to be our school’s home-run hitter in scoring more with less?
  • Does Scott Novak look anything like Brad Pitt?

We’d love to hear what you think!



“It’s unbelievable how much you don’t know about the game you’ve been playing your whole life.” -Mickey Mantle




2014 HEMR Awards. What else is there to say?

TWG Plus received notice that we won HEMR awards for our work with Averett University, Marymount California University,  Maryville University, Spelman College and Niagara University.

Sometimes, it’s hard to express the appreciation that you feel. In those cases, it’s best to paraphrase Sally Field. “You like us. You really like us.”  That’ll do, Sally. That’ll do.


Averett University, Gold, Best in Show Total Recruitment



Marymount California University, Merit, Total Recruitment



Maryville University, Gold, Direct Mail



Niagara University, Silver, Poster


(by raymond)

Spelman College, Merit, Brochure

spelman copy



Four Ways to Give Your Enrollment Campaign a Boost

Meet Amanda

A former Director of Financial Aid, Amanda leads the Strategic Enrollment Consultant team. When it comes to collaboration on enrollment campaigns, she has her Master’s in Ninja.

Amanda Randolph-bw


She. Cannot. Touch. Cotton. Balls.
She just did her first unassisted backbend in Yoga class.


John Deere!




Meet Jeremy

Where hasn’t Jeremy worked? He has higher education experience in Admissions, Financial Aid, and Registrar’s Office. He understands how everything fits together and strategizes integrated search campaigns accordingly.

Jeremy Sturdahl-bw


He coaches girls Fastpitch.
He has two rescue dogs. One fits neatly under the other.


Which one of my daughters is playing?






Don’t let Jessica’s quiet demeanor fool you. She is Gung Ho as they come. Looking outside your usual market? Call Jessica. She has extensive experience in opening lucrative new recruitment territories for admissions offices. Oh, that’s done with a smile.



She has a strong aversion to napkins touching teeth; her own or anyone else’s.

She has somehow survived living in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, for more than 10 years, which has been voted as the “most dangerous city in America” several times.


How to Silhouette Your Pet.



Quick! Describe Stacey in one word. Epic come to mind? It should. A stickler for publication timelines, Stacey has a master’s degree in higher education from Appalachian State University.

Stacey Kammerdiener-bw


Just purchased a Vespa and now feels like a full-blown Austinite.
Plays the trombone and piano and was drum major of her high school band (nerd alert).


The one on her head.  Safety first, y’all.

A Framework for Value Based Direct Marketing in Higher Education

We send a lot of direct mail. Millions of pieces go out every year for our colleges and universities.

With clients who are constantly forced to do more with less and rising postage rates, it’s our responsibility to make sure that our schools get the best return on their direct marketing dollar.

With that it mind, we’ve created a value based framework for factoring which students should receive print mail.

The Value-Based Direct Marketing Framework


How to Use the Direct Marketing Framework

The dimensions of the framework are expected retention rate (ETR) and response rate. Low to medium ETR students do not get a mailing, but may receive an email instead. Since the return on your enrollment marketing investment will be low, you should waste valuable dollars on them. High predicted ETRs and low Low expected response rates do not receive direct mail either.

The logic here is simple. If students are not going to reply, don’t reach out them.

On the other end of the spectrum, high expected response rates get priority for direct mail pieces. Lower predicted ETRs still receive mail, but it should be your most cost-effective piece.

By focusing on the students who are most likely to respond you can cut your marketing budget, or use the extra dollars to create mind-blowing work that creates a full experience for the student or parents.

In summary, look at the value of your students and determine which are likely to reply to your direct marketing. Students are unlikely to enroll, graduate or respond should receive no direct mail or should only receive emails.

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For more information about creating a data driven enrollment experience get these posts via email..

Incorporating Social Media With Your Campus Tour

In our last post, we talked about utilizing QR codes to create a self-guided campus tour. Not ready to make that leap into the QR realm? Here is a stopgap measure that might be a less expensive and more immediate way to turn any visitor carrying a smartphone into his/her own tour guide!

Many social media outlets now incorporate geo-tagging into their applications. Don’t let the term sound fancier than it is. Geo-tagging is the ability to use a smartphone’s GPS feature to help attach the user’s location to a post on a social networking site such as Facebook or Twitter.

This is a perfect new tool for your enrollment marketing toolbox.  There is one popular geo-tagging app that is encouraging businesses to utilize it for the purpose of promoting their locations or products: Foursquare. This is the app we will focus on for the purpose of creating a social media-driven campus tour.

The Set-up:

  1. Log onto Foursquare and claim your campus. Chances are there are multiple entries out there already. The one you claim will be the one you can edit and access analytics about.
  2. Take it beyond macro. Claim every building on campus. This may not be ideal for a vertical urban campus, but should be relatively easy for any campus with multiple buildings spread slightly apart.
  3. Create content for each location you’ve claimed. This is not your college website. Foursquare is a social media and geo-tag driven game. Remember to keep the content light. You can add links to drive students to your own website to add depth.
  4. Encourage your tour guides to use it immediately. Your tour guides or ambassadors are current students with credibility in the eyes of prospects. Encourage them to check-in often and to post honest, yet positive thoughts on their experiences in each building.
  5. Assign someone to monitor the comments on the locations. Foursquare can be a conversation generator. You want to know what’s being said about the different locations. This can be done by an Admission Counselor, a student intern, a tour guide, etc.

The Advantages:

  1. It’s free. At the moment, Foursquare is not charging businesses for the ability to claim their venue, edit the content there or access web analytics.
  2. It’s easy. Almost anyone can get the ball rolling, you don’t necessarily need someone from IT. As a matter of fact, this might be a great project for your new hires or your new tour guides. Have them do some research on each building and then put together your brief copy for each venue. They will get more familiar with campus as they put together their first big project for you!
  3. It’s fun. Foursquare is a game. Users are encouraged to check-in often, comment, etc.
  4. It’s social. Foursquare ties into social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. By checking in on your campus, not only are your visitors learning more about you, they are telling all of their friends about it simultaneously! This takes word-of-mouth to a whole new level.

Engaging someone in conversation doesn’t mean walking up to them and shaking their hand anymore. Conversations occur when you are not even there. If you are not ready to engage visitors to your campus at any moment, you risk losing potential students.

Mark Twain once said, “I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.” Self-guided tours of your campus powered by either QR technology, Foursquare or both can help ensure that you never miss the opportunity to engage a campus visitor again.

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