N+S Blog

noodling on what works

Nice Icons!

We’re always on the look-out for resources that make it easier for our clients to produce effective marketing and communications work. And sometimes what you need is a nice set of icons to make your landing pages or email efforts stand out.Continue Reading →

Two Kinds of Data

Marketing is an art and a science and gathering and interpreting the data is about the science. One kind of data gathering supports you in developing a detailed profile of your prospective family so you can refine your communications or brand. Another kind offers a picture of the specific behavior of your prospects when interacting with your website and social media.Continue Reading →

Funnel of Ones

We’ve been watching with interest the changes taking place at Drexel University. About 10 years ago, Drexel made a bold move, embracing an intense direct marketing strategy and the elimination of many hurdles to applying. The results? More than a 300 percent increase in applications.

The problem was that this flood of applications also came with the need for an 80 percent acceptance and a yield that dropped from 32 to 8 percent. Drexel has decided this is situation is unsustainable (more on that here).

But it got us thinking: What’s the ideal flow from inquiries to applications to yield? What ratios are most efficient—and achievable?Continue Reading →

In Search Of The Quick Fix

We’ve been working this summer with a small but growing day school which, at the end of the admission season, still had about 10 spots open in different grades. Could we find families with children not currently enrolled in private schools and convince them to apply? Families who could afford the tuition? For this September?

Quite the challenge.Continue Reading →

Creating A Friction-Free Marketing Infrastructure

Recently the head of a small agency (and an old friend) described what marketers actually do for Forbes magazine. “Great marketing,” he wrote, is “an entire ecosystem of communications and engagement with the market.” What great marketing means,” he says, “is putting the pieces together to create an infrastructure that’s perfectly meshed with a brand and its business objectives. They don’t favor one strategy or media over another but see the value of the whole constellation of tools.”Continue Reading →

Invested. Or Not.

Here’s a story. A small organization we work with is engaged in a capital campaign. Their goals are ambitious, and they’re just starting to learn the ropes of asking for major gifts. One of the lead development officers recently met with two comparable donors who had consistently given generously (and at similar rates) to their annual appeal. The organization knew well the capacity of the two donors and was aware that both could make large gifts.

After meeting with the development officer and the organization’s head, one donor made a six-figure lead gift to the campaign with the promise of more. The other was welcoming but only added a few hundred dollars more to her annual gift. Why?Continue Reading →

The Alignment Problem

Why does it bother us so much when a politician says one thing and does another? Or when a commercial suggests something is tastier or easier to use than it actually is? Why do we feel cheated a product, service or experience doesn’t live up to our expectations—even if it offers us something of similar quality? The friction between the message and the reality creates mistrust.Continue Reading →