Jan 7

Budgeting Demystified

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Your institution transforms lives. Let us amplify your impact.

We have been helping universities and non-profit organizations communicate and realize their missions since 2012.

Our Services

You can’t improve what you can’t see

Recruitment Pipeline Audit and Optimization

It is critical to analyze where prospects and applicants are getting stuck in the funnel, so you are able to convert more students based on actionable data.

Featured Project:

At Northeastern, Suzan leveraged Marketo and Salesforce data to optimize the recruitment pipelines for more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs.

The Result:

Regular pipeline analyses helped equip marketing, admissions, and faculty with the right messaging for interactions with prospects and applicants.

Vicky Hall

“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.”

Competitor Research and Audience Analysis

We define key differentiators so you reach the right audiences with the right messages. We bring expertise on higher education audiences, such as 1st gen students, military, B2B, international, LatinX, and adult learners.

Featured Project:

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 Result:

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.

CraigWeiderman

“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.

Website User Experience Audits and User Testing

Many times the designers of a system fail to channel the actual users’ experience, so tests are needed with users who better fit the demographic of website visitors.

Featured Project:

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 Result:

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.

If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there.

Curriculum Strategy

It’s becoming increasingly more important to differentiate your programs and curriculum from your competition. Price point, program duration, faculty, and specialization areas can all be the reason students do or do not convert.

Featured Project:

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.

The Result:

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.

Jennifer Krempa

“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.”

Creative Direction and Messaging

We help you find your voice. First, we work as brand anthropologists to understand your “why” and then discover how to bring it to life for your customer. As veteran logo and graphic designers, and copywriters, we execute to perfection.

Featured Project:

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 Result:

The year of the rebranding doubled the previous year’s attendees for Global Entrepreneurship Events.

NormanB

“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.”

Marketing Plans

Marketing plans are key to helping your teams seamlessly transition from strategy to execution. Effective plans combine an insightful analysis of your status quo and your key opportunities with a clear roadmap for success.

Featured Project:

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.

The Result:

Consistent and actionable marketing plans increased clarity for internal and external stakeholders, grew ROI, and created efficient workflows.

Ashley Palmer

“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.”

It’s not about being the loudest voice, but the one that resonates.

Full Service Website design

Since 2012 Viv Web Solution has been building complex custom websites with organizations throughout the nonprofit sector and beyond. We can help you navigate through discovery, design, build, maintenance, and optimization of your new website.

Featured Project:

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.

The Result:

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

Andrew Seligsohn

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.

Paid and organic SEO

Search campaigns target prospects in the mid to lower part of the sales funnel, meaning they reach audiences who are already actively searching for a product or service. In Higher Ed, search is a critical tactic that tends to convert better than top-of-the-funnel marketing.

Featured Project:

Suzan has led domestic and international search campaigns. She has direct experience with Google, Bing, Naver, and Daum.

The Result:

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.

Janine G

“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”

Email nurture campaigns and marketing automation

Marketing automation helps keep your prospects engaged, and a well-executed email nurture campaign can be the deciding factor in getting your leads to apply and eventually enroll.

Featured Project:

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.

The Result:

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.

KateT

“Suzan knows her audiences and develops content that will resonate with them. She is able to integrate CRM strategy and technology to deliver results.”

Landing Page Design and Optimization

High stakes ad landing pages, open house and event landing pages deserve custom designs and careful selection of imagery, because every part of a page can impact conversion rates.

Featured Project:

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 Result:

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.

Michael Green

“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.”

E-Books and content marketing

In light of the increasing cost of paid search and paid media efforts, earned tactics, like blog posts and e-books, are becoming a proven way to get the attention of prospective students and reach them at key stages in their search for their dream programs.

Featured Project:

At Northeastern, Suzan’s team developed downloadable e-books and blog posts for a large portfolio of undergraduate and graduate programs.

The Result:

“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.

Erin T Berry

“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.”

Social media campaigns

Well-executed social media campaigns can build your brand and grab the attention of your future students at the right time. We can help you identify your highest potential social media channels to increase leads and engage prospects with compelling messaging.

Featured Project:

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.

The Result:

LinkedIn sponsored ads and inMail campaigns were uniquely effective in driving quality leads into undergraduate and graduate programs.

Emily Moran

“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.”

Annual reports

We understand the importance of illustrating your mission and impact to your core stakeholders. Our annual reports combine simple and attractive design with compelling copy to help you maximize your outreach and fundraising efforts.

Featured Project:

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 Result:

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.

Pam Drimfter

“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.”

Interactive Campus Maps

Recruitment of new students has become competitive, and campus tours have been shown to be a critical factor in students’ decisions. A digital campus map can help schools control the conversation and help understand and navigate a campus that isn’t 100% well served by Google or other common map apps.

Featured Project:

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.

Expertise is not just about high performance, it’s about empowering others.

We offer marketing trainings specific to Higher Education to help your teams become more savvy about recruiting and engaging students and other key audiences. From webinars to web symposiums to custom trainings on-site or online, we give you the tools you need to build effective marketing campaigns.

See Trainings

Our Team

Suzan Brinker

Suzan Brinker

Lead Strategist

Suzan Brinker, Ph.D., has dedicated her career to helping higher education initiatives build strong value propositions and communicating them to the right stakeholders.

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Having served as Director of Marketing at both Penn State and Northeastern University, Suzan has led marketing strategy and web initiatives for over a dozen higher education units, targeting both degree and non-degree seeking learners. She has specialized in lifelong learning initiatives, internationalization, and online education.

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.

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Kalman

Kalman Gacs

Creative Director and Project Manager

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.

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In 2000, Kalman took a gap year before starting college and built a guide to climate activism. The experience designing with conviction has helped Kalman in his 12 years working directly with clients in graphic and web design. He understands that designs must always serve the true goals of a project.

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.

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Adam Friedman

Adam Friedman

Chief Technology Advisor

Adam’s technology skill-set spans every layer of online production, from UI design and development, to software architecture, to enterprise server management.

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Hailing from a background in the humanities and education, he switched to online technology in 2006. Three years later he worked as a web developer for The Boston Herald, where he managed the codebase, designed new features, and co-managed a high-traffic server cluster. Today, Adam specializes in public sector transparency and workflow efficiency. In 2012, he designed and developed a modular platform for state governments to publish election statistics, starting with Massachusetts.

Adam received his B.A. in History and English at Boston University. In his free time, he can be found advocating for election reform.

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Matt Lipman

Matt Lipman

Senior UI Designer and Developer

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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In his role at the Chamber, he also managed Mystic.org, a leading tourism website in Connecticut that was later incorporated into the official state’s website CTVisit.com. In 2018, Lipman created SVGBackgrounds.com, a web-based tool where users craft, customize, and quickly deploy background graphics to websites using SVG technology. Matt specializes in front-end development with an emphasis on designing graphics that perform perfectly with today’s wide spectrum of modern devices and screens sizes.

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Upcoming Trainings

Social Media Student Recruiting
January 30, 2020 | 2-4 PM EST
Effective Marketing Planning
February 12, 2020 | 2-4 PM EST

Need Custom Trainings?

We can tailor sessions to your team’s specific needs,
either online or in person at campuses across New England.
Please inquire here.

Who we’ve worked with

Our ears are burning

"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."
"Everyone has been saying the new web site is a “home run!“"
"Everyone's very happy with the site - thanks for all the fantastic work you’ve done on it! Everyone on our team is really happy with it!"
"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."
"“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 Viv team listened to what we wanted and executed. Meetings were minimal (which I like) and the ones we had were very productive. Even when we didn’t know what we wanted or what we wanted didn’t make sense, the Viv team helped us figure it out. We’ve seen tremendous growth in pageviews since the new site was launched.  In the year since launch, we received prompt attention to our needs, and the execution and follow up was ideal."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"Suzan knows her audiences and develops content that will resonate with them. She is able to integrate CRM strategy and technology to deliver results."
"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"
"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."
"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."
"They created a beautiful site with a lot of functionality and a great user experience. They are committed to quality work and a pleasure to work with. We highly recommend their services."
"Viv Web Solutions was responsive to our needs and provided a customized solution. They understand our audience and they provided us with a platform that is helping us with our bottom line. They have strong business ethics and it was a pleasure working with them. "
Boodie Ifeanyi
Boodie Ifeanyi
Founder at NewsParticipation
"I hired Viv Web Solutions to build my website and they did a fantastic job. Kalman was very easy to work with and extremely patient. He added value to my ideas with his own creative suggestions about the look and design of the site. They gave us a great website at a very reasonable price. I would highly recommend Kalman to anyone for any web design and creation projects."
"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."
"Working with Viv Web Solutions is a pleasure. Working together as a team, we were able to come up with some great ideas and unique ways to effectively communicate our brand message through our website. They were able to rebrand our logo into a fresh new design that was well received by all of our organization. Kalman has great project management skills and kept track of every task we were doing and when it was expected to be done, so there were no surprises!"
"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."
"Kalman listened to our needs and wants and was able to produce the site we wanted. He was very responsive during the process and we even ended ahead of our original timeline! This helped us get out info to our investors during fundraising, which made a big difference.   Kalman asked great questions to help drive our content. He understood well who our customers were, what we wanted to convey, and our ultimate goal for the site it absolutely conveys our mission/objective. Thanks for the work"