October 27, 2021

Leadscon Vegas another great show!

Jay has done it again.  This years Leadscon 2010 was packed.  Lots of great panels, networking, experts and meeting opportunities.  Many people had mentioned that the format in their opinion should be extended to at least 2 full days if not 3.  So much to see, so many to talk to, hard to get it all in.  I will say it was great to see so many leaders from various sectors within lead generation together.  It was even better to see that they were all honest, open and sharing advice and opinions with those just starting out.  The conference proved to be a must be at event for customers, industry leaders, publishers/affiliates & technology providers. 

Real issues were discussed, not promotional jargon, thus the value of attending was clear.  We look forward to the Leadscon east show this summer and hope it will continue to out perform previous events.

Where do opportunities for innovation exist in education in the new decade?

Repost from our linkedin group…much more there join the group by clicking the linkedin button top right of website.

The tradition classroom is changing. People have ever increasing demands on their time. Finding new ways to deliver a traditional education is a growth area for innovation in education.

Textbooks are continuing (and need to continue) to move into electronic formats and to digital device usage by faculty and students–such as Kindle and Sony Reader or Kindle for PC, etc.

It appears as if both of you are in agreement that the mode of delivery is the key place for innovation. I definitely agree that the mode of deliver will be extremely important. However, I believe strongly that access is only the first phase of the education revolution and that a second phase will include a combination of access and quality in terms of the level and types of educational opportunities that are afforded using these new methods.I believe that the area of remediation for the large number of students who are currently not able to obtain a high school diploma holds promise. In addition, there will also be opportunities in regard to those who are seeking a post-secondary education but who do not have the necessary skills to do so. A third area that ties in to both your idea of service delivery and the idea of access to content is the need for providing new methods and also increased access to quality curriculum (at an affordable price) for those who are choosing to home school their children. Delivery methods in the form of on-line programming has already made more diverse resources available to parents. However, there is is need for these parents to receive more and better options for receiving a standardized curriculum that can ensure that they are meeting quality indicators as highlighted by colleges and universities.

All of this being said, I think that access to digital is one way to deliver content while improving quality. Delivery of textbooks using this medium will definitely save schools money, time and resources. However, if we can also deliver varied types of content in more updated and non-traditional ways using digital media then that takes it one step further. With this in mind, I believe that the digitizing of actual teaching in such a way as to tie in immediate feedback in the form of assessments is the next big wave. While I do believe that there is no replacement for a real life human being, the fact of the matter is that schools currently teach to the middle leaving many students fall behind. This lends itself to remediation as being the area where opportunity exists. After that we can begin to look at challenging those that are on the high end although I am noticing that these students are gaining greater access to distance learning courses offered by colleges and universities (and only time will tell if that fills this area of need). Regardless, we will need to think outside the box to provide digital teaching opportunities.

Any thoughts?


To add to my previous post, role playing programs, situational lessons, traditional curriculum and assessment that all respond to the needs of the learner all have possibilities under this umbrella. If there is an interactional component then it will work (think Wii). I also believe that distance education that enables students to solicit responses from a teacher and/or other students that are in another part of the globe (think Cisco commercials that ran repeatedly during the Championship Bowl game) all fit the bill of increasing opportunities for those who have traditionally fallen through the cracks or who are being home schooled. The combination of new and varied delivery methods (as you indicated) along with the ability to deliver increased levels of complex educational content is the key in my humble opinion.

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CUnet/Nelnet acquires Sparkroom.

PARAMUS, N.J., and TORONTO, Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ — CUnet, a subsidiary of Nelnet Inc. (NYSE: NNI), announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Sparkroom, a leading provider of enrollment marketing automation and lead performance management solutions. The parties anticipate closing the transaction on February 1, 2010.

Sparkroom provides business intelligence and lead delivery software that helps organizations immediately improve marketing efficiency and increase profitability by managing, measuring, and optimizing lead performance across all direct response marketing channels. Sparkroom's Lead Performance Management product suite, which includes LeadDeliver, LeadIQ, and Lead Market Analytics, enables direct marketers in higher education to:

   -- Understand the performance of every lead, regardless of the channel 

   -- Proactively manage lead vendors 

   -- Align marketing with sales or enrollment targets 

   -- Immediately improve the performance of marketing spend

“We are excited by the opportunities created by bringing CUnet and Sparkroom together,” said Matt McLaughlin, President of CUnet. “Sparkroom's technology products will complement CUnet's interactive media and marketing services to provide a powerful solution for colleges to drive the most value from their marketing spend. It's a great fit that will benefit marketers in the higher education sector.”

CUnet provides clients with a wide range of performance marketing services including vendor lead management, call center management, search marketing, display advertising, social media management, mobile marketing, and school operations consulting. Sparkroom's Lead Performance Management product suite provides comprehensive technology tools to education marketers, allowing them to make faster, data-driven decisions that drive marketing efficiency and business profitability. The companies will offer an industry-leading mix of marketing services and technology solutions for educational institutions from a single provider.

“Sparkroom's mission is to enable our customers to optimize their investments in interactive direct response marketing,” said Jamie McDonald, CEO of Sparkroom. “By teaming up with CUnet, we will accelerate our ability to deliver on that mission and bring new ground-breaking products to the market, which will continue to improve marketing efficiency for higher education marketers.”

Sparkroom co-founders McDonald and Jamie Shulman, Vice President of Operations, will continue to lead Sparkroom and its associates from Toronto.

While the purchase price is not material to Nelnet, the acquisition adds strategic value to the company by broadening its lead generation products and services business and further strengthens its lead generation technology.

About CUnet

CUnet is the premier provider of online performance media and interactive marketing services driving qualified student inquiries and enrollments for the higher education industry. Founded in 2003, the company has grown rapidly to oversee the promotional campaigns of over 1 000 colleges, universities, and career schools throughout the United States and Canada. CUnet is dedicated to creating cost-effective marketing programs using a mix of online media strategies and formats to find prospective students, generate qualified responses, and maximize enrollments and starts. CUnet is a subsidiary of Nelnet, a leader in education planning and financing for more than 30 years. CUnet is based in Paramus, NJ. For more information, visit www.cunet.com.

About Sparkroom

Sparkroom delivers innovative solutions to direct marketers, including its comprehensive Lead Performance Management software and services. Sparkroom Lead Deliver, Lead IQ, and Lead Market Analytics deliver a hosted business intelligence platform to give direct response marketers the tools and expertise needed to measure, manage, and optimize their lead acquisition spending across every direct response channel. Sparkroom's software, which it hosts and delivers to its customers on demand, enables customers to capture, store, and analyze information generated by their lead buying activities and to gain critical business insights into the performance and efficiency of marketing and sales initiatives and other business processes. Founded in 2007, Sparkroom is privately held. For more information, visit www.sparkroom.com.

Information contained in this press release, other than historical information, may be considered forward-looking in nature and is subject to various risks, uncertainties, and assumptions. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, estimated, or expected. Among the key factors that may have a direct bearing on Nelnet's operating results, performance, or financial condition expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements are the uncertain nature of the expected benefits from the acquisition and the ability to successfully integrate operations, changes in terms of student loans and the educational credit marketplace changes in the demand for educational financing or in financing preferences of educational institutions, students and their families, or changes in the general interest rate environment and in the securitization markets for education loans.

(code #: nnig)

SOURCE Nelnet Inc.

/CONTACT: Media, Ben Kiser, +1-402-458-3024; Investors, Phil Morgan, +1-402-458-3038; both of Nelnet Inc.

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For-Profit Ed: NegReg Draft Rules Tough on Several Key Issues

Yesterday after the close, the Department of Education (DOE) delivered a draft of the Negotiated Rulemaking (NegReg) regulations that align with a negative scenario:

1) Tying Title IV eligibility to a “gainful employment” metrics including cost of program , loan debt, and income after graduation. (apparantly to be applied to vocational programs only)

2) Getting rid of all 12 incentive compensation safe harbors . 

ED’s proposals for gainful employment standard will determine the appropriate levels of debt allowable for each vocational program/degree offering and thus may effectively result in tuition caps 

Eliminating all 12 safe harbors could restrict a school’s ability to utilize 3rd party call centers for qualification & hot transfer and potentially diminish internet generated starts, thus stalling enrollment growth. 

Still much speculation and uncertainty…

Is the growth in EDU demand starting to slow?

Some very interesting data coming in which may lead to the conclusion that the growth rates may be slowing.  While the industry is still growing and at rates which would make most extremely happy, the percentage growth may be showing some signs that it’s leveling out a bit.

Search volume continues to buck seasonality trend

April 2009 search volume suggested a unique break from the tradition of seasonality of consumer demand in the education sector.  April traditionally starts the downtrend of demand that would generally continue downward and not pick up until August.  But this year 2009 April bucked that trend!  After discussion with numerous people who follow the EDUmarket the common thought was that the current economic cycle has resulted in a continued increase in consumer demand for a degree or continued degree enhancement.  Was this a new trend for demand?  Or, was April just an abberation?

Well if the May results have any indication, it looks like a new trend and continued demand increase.  May proved to be yet another exceptional month for EDU search Volume.  In fact, and in many of the key for profit EDU terms May has beat out all other months over the last year… 

The only exception to this trend is the school name keywords, here April still led the way with the greatest volume for most and January for some of the big names.

April search volume holding strong

Check out the April search volume: http://www.forprofitedu.com/marketing-firms/search-volume/april-2009-search-volume/

In Sourcing vs. Outsourcing

A lot of talk has surfaced in the last few months over the topic of In-sourcing vs. Outsourcing.  I guess this could be an expected outcome of Apol buying Aptimus.  Clearly there are advantages of both, here are some of them:


  • Leveraging a firm who is experienced, and leveraging their power with the vendors for pricing & placement.
  • Leveraging the firms experience and knowledge of the broader vendor universe with regards to conversion rates, volume, sourcing & price.
  • Leveraging the firms knowledgebase of conversion rates from other schools with similar vendors to determine how competitive you are with your leads. Leveraging multiple schools analytics vs. your own.
  • Limit internal headcount based on outsourced components.
  • Better chance of identifying lead fraud.
  • Utilizing the firm as a means of stability, reduces risk due to internal turnover issues.


  • Capitalizing on owning the market intelligence of sourcing, conversions & pricing
  • No paying a mark-up on lead spend/agency fees
  • Stronger direct relationships with lead sources
  • Complete control of marketing…good & bad
  • Owning of own marketing analytics

There are more for both, and if you have some feel free to share and we will add them.  I think it also comes down to size of school/system as well as growth objectives.  Often smaller schools tend to be to small to outsource while many of the largest reach a point where it becomes too costly.  The good news is that technology has been advancing and there are more options today than in years past.

Feel free to contact us for more detailed information or for us to help you determine which choice is better for you based on your near & long term goals.