Regular pipeline analyses helped equip marketing, admissions, and faculty with the right messaging for interactions with prospects and applicants.
“Suzan and her staff members were strategic, collaborative, and proactive in ensuring that we used our prospect and applicant data to drive conversions. Suzan’s attention to detail and innovative approaches increased ROI and relationships with our faculty stakeholders.”
At Penn State, Suzan led a multi-year initiative to build out an international recruitment strategy, consisting of quantitative and qualitative research, in-country focus groups, message testing, and pilots for global media buys.
The research helped select South Korea as the optimal target market. Using custom imagery, messaging, and a digital media mix, we reduced acquisition cost by 50% compared to domestic students, and recruited 200+ students in the first three years.
“A few years ago, the highly ranked Penn State University World Campus was exploring developing a focused international marketing campaign to reach students in targeted countries around the world. Suzan Brinker led this global market research strategy. Her innovative, thorough, focused, objective and high quality work inspired huge confidence in the results. As a result, her deep quantitative and qualitative assessments informed the World Campus’ global marketing strategy, resulting in a cost effective and successful strategic marketing campaign.”
The Mass Legal Assistance Corporation launched a legal resource finder, which over 20k people per month use to get connected with legal aid organizations. While many users were accessing the site, it was hard to tell how many of the users were finding what they were looking for. We designed and implemented tests with the actual demographic that is most likely to use the system.
The tests revealed major obstacles that users experienced to find the assistance they needed. We were able to improve the portal with content changes that were economical to implement and could help users right away. Beyond successfully implementing the tests, we trained five staff members in future test design and implementation,so the cycle of improvement could continue.
At Penn State and Northeastern, Suzan and her team conducted dozens of SWOT Analyses in addition to competitor research projects and value proposition exercises to identify short-term and long-term opportunities for curriculum improvement.
Strategic presentations to and discussion with faculty and administrators about opportunities for curriculum improvement better aligned market demand with institutional supply, ensuring the sustainability and fiscal health of programs offered.
“Suzan has a mind for strategy. She is terrific at facilitating groups to develop a shared vision and helping translate that vision into action. She follows through to keep things moving while simultaneously taking the time to build the buy-in she knows is needed.”
The Global Entrepreneurship Week Brand at Penn State was stale with lackluster images and uninspired copy. Suzan and her team reimagined the logo and tied the tagline “Start Something Here” into the larger Penn State concept of “Inspired Doers.”
The year of the rebranding doubled the previous year’s attendees for Global Entrepreneurship Events.
“Suzan supervised a group of marketing strategists with whom I worked very closely for nearly four years. Her input and direction on our shared projects was always on point and delivered clearly. It has been a pleasure watching her team members flourish under her leadership.”
Before the start of every fiscal year, Suzan and her teams at Penn State and Northeastern worked with faculty and administrators to develop a marketing plan for each partner unit and academic program they supported. In total, that translates to 80+ marketing plans created under Suzan’s leadership.
Consistent and actionable marketing plans increased clarity for internal and external stakeholders, grew ROI, and created efficient workflows.
“I had the pleasure of working closely with Suzan at Penn State Outreach. She was a phenomenal leader who constantly inspired and encouraged our team. Suzan had great relationships with unit leaders across the University and provided strategic leadership that guided our teams most impactful marketing work.”
Over 1,000 colleges and universities have joined Campus Compact to increase civic engagement.
We redesigned and rebuilt their website. In close collaboration with the client team, we brought together 5,000 web pages of scrambled documents into a resource library.
We went beyond the original scope of the project to update their logo and refresh the face of the organization and have continued to work closely with the organization to help launch new initiatives, improve the resource library, and launch 18 additional websites for the regional and state sub organizations
“We have been very pleased by the graphic design work performed by Viv. Both their overall website design and their logo re-design work have achieved exactly what we hoped: We now have a public presentation telling the world that we are up-to-date without being trendy, that we are focused, that we are active, that we are making change…We have been working hard to communicate to our audiences that we are a rejuvenated organization, rapidly moving forward in pursuit of our mission. From the feedback we have received from constituents, we know that Viv’s web design has been a crucial element in our success in achieving that communications goal.”
Suzan has led domestic and international search campaigns. She has direct experience with Google, Bing, Naver, and Daum.
Penn State’s paid search campaign in South Korea leveraged Google and Naver to drive prospect traffic to a designated landing page with custom messaging and photography for international audiences. Informed by rigorous market research, the SEO strategy for this landing page highlighted key value propositions for Korean prospects. The campaign’s student acquisition cost was 50% lower than for domestic search campaigns.
“Suzan is a pro at SEO and SEM strategy. She considers keywords and search engine algorithms early on when planning campaigns and pushes her collaborators to do the same. This results in stronger copy, better websites, and increased ROI”
At both Northeastern and Penn State, Suzan led content development for dozens of email nurture campaigns. Always rooted in audience insights and quantitative data, those email campaigns highlighted custom value propositions and equipped prospects with information they needed throughout their journey to becoming enrolled students.
Email nurture campaigns facilitated 1:1 contact between admissions staff and prospective students. Clients saw increased conversions to applicants and enrollments when compared to traditional email blast campaigns.
“Suzan knows her audiences and develops content that will resonate with them. She is able to integrate CRM strategy and technology to deliver results.”
Our client Climate X Change (CXC) is a highly impactful carbon pricing research, advocacy and communication organization that needed an effective and inspiring landing page that could truly convert and inspire people to shell out $250 for a raffle ticket towards winning a Tesla and supporting the organization.
The website in 2018 sold over 3,434 tickets across the country, grossing $858,000 and netting $588,000 for the org. The tickets sold through a landing page that needed to inspire two audiences: those who covet a new car and those who want to help the planet, and so it did. We also redesigned the main website of the organization, which has helped the organization expand its efforts from Massachusetts to around the country.
“Since Viv redesigned our website we have more than tripled our membership, we have also seen an increase in engagement from our active members, both of which have helped grow the impact of our organization.”
At Northeastern, Suzan’s team developed downloadable e-books and blog posts for a large portfolio of undergraduate and graduate programs.
“Earned” leads converted at a higher rate than paid leads across the board, which served as “proof of concept” for content marketing and allowed to team to ramp up efforts and budgets in this area.
“Suzan’s vast knowledge of the Higher Ed industry allows her to immerse herself in the institution’s brand and produce content that is informative and relevant. Her ability to stay on top of industry trends while maintaining the core value propositions within all communications is a unique and valuable skill.”
Suzan and her teams at Penn State and Northeastern have worked with many social media platforms. Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn have performed best when it comes to increasing quality leads, meaning prospects who engage with program marketing materials in meaningful ways and convert to applicants at high rates.
LinkedIn sponsored ads and inMail campaigns were uniquely effective in driving quality leads into undergraduate and graduate programs.
“Suzan has a talent for creating engaging content in a concise, informative way that motivates the target audience to take the next desired action. She knows what value propositions are important to prospective students at each point of the student enrollment journey and how to elevate these in communications. Suzan is also an expert in developing marketing campaigns for both the international and domestic audiences, and has a strong handle on how communication strategies for these core groups differ.”
Penn State Outreach needed to demonstrate its complexity and impact in a way that captured the attention of peer institutions, donors, administrators, and the media. After delivering the print version of the inaugural annual report, Suzan leveraged the content for the organization’s website redesign.
The Annual Report and subsequent website increased internal and external understanding of Penn State Outreach’s mission and impact to improve fundraising efforts and media placement.
“Suzan worked on an annual report for my unit in 2018. The final document showcased our mission and impact in a compelling and effective manner, and we were able to use it in conversations with donors and other stakeholders.”
We have collaborated with a premier app building company with 9 years of wayfinding app building experience on their Frmwrk.io platform.
Frmwrk.io is the most beautiful and functional custom map and tour app engine on the market. The app also has event functionality that makes it a great solution for alumni weekends and for a fully immersive touring schedule of prospective students, or for summer and pre-college programs on campus.
Suzan Brinker, Ph.D., has dedicated her career to helping higher education initiatives build strong value propositions and communicating them to the right stakeholders.
Suzan holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Penn State, a M.A. in Communication from Marquette University, and a B.A. in English from St. Norbert College. Having grown up in Germany with a Turkish father and German mother, she holds a deep commitment to global citizenship, diversity, and inclusion.
With an eye for detail honed from rigorous training in fine arts at Boston University, Kalman has had the opportunity to work with fortune 500 companies and some of the country’s most impactful nonprofits.
While he isn’t proud of how much time he spends online, it has turned out to be an asset. If you want someone who understands how the web works from a social and experiential point of view — Kalman is the right type of nerd.
Adam’s technology skill-set spans every layer of online production, from UI design and development, to software architecture, to enterprise server management.
Adam received his B.A. in History and English at Boston University. In his free time, he can be found advocating for election reform.
Matt was hooked to web design after building his first website in 2003 and his been working on his WordPress chops since 2009.. As a creative problem solver, In 2008 he co-founded an online puzzle website that developed and published logic games, some were sponsored and featured on Viacom’s AddictingGames.com. Matt later became the web and graphic designer for Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT where he developed and managed several website properties for the Chamber.
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