True North

3 Ways to Know Your School’s Brand is Expired

When someone mentions expiration date, you might think of a carton of milk or eggs — not your school’s brand. But just like fridge staples, brands don’t last forever, and when you get a whiff of one that’s gone stale, well…it’s pretty obvious.

But how do you know?

We wish we could give you a concrete number that would communicate just how long your brand elements will last. For some schools, it’s five years. For others, a brand can last a decade or even longer before needing a revamp. It really all depends on your unique audience, your specific challenges, and any changes that take place within your school or community.

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Happy Two Year Workiversary, Jeff!

Two years ago today, Jeff Seevers joined the North Star Marketing team as a part of our growing roster of marketing managers. Since then, he has blown us away with his commitment to client relationships, irrepressible creative thinking about every project he touches, and his vision for our work and how we live out our mission. Jeff has been quietly working behind the scenes on high-impact initiatives for North Star this year, and we recently sat down to get the scoop on what he’s been up to, and what’s ahead.

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Pursue Growth: Chasing Sustained, Powerful, Recognizable Growth

Clark Morgan leads the Online Marketing Team efforts at North Star. Clark understands and chases sustained, powerful, recognizable growth internally and for our client partners like nobody else on our team. 

How Would You Define Growth?

Growth has been something that has fascinated me since I was a little guy. I think it started back in middle school with lifting weights and just being amazed at how our bodies can grow bigger and stronger with the right combination of stress, nutrition, rest, and time. Helping people and businesses grow has become a passion for me, but it has also been one of the most challenging areas of my life.

I’ve learned that growth can mean a lot of different things to people depending on who you ask. For some companies, it gets boiled down to more clients; increased profits; and making the company bigger. These are all important, but they’re really the indicators that show us growth has occurred. The real growth itself happens out of sight, under the skin. 

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Kaleen Goodeill Celebrates 3 Years at NSM!

Kaleen Goodeill is our veteran marketing manager in the K-12 school industry, one of several core markets North Star Marketing serves. Today she marks her three-year workiversary on our team, and we caught up with her for an interview to hear what’s new and developing in the K-12 space. We also asked her to reflect on what she has learned in the last year as she keeps growing her skills for serving this dynamic market.

First of all, thanks for all your work, Kaleen! You do an amazing job of leading our team and so many of our school clients. Maybe start us off by sharing something you enjoyed working on in the last year.

One of the most surprising and fun things I’ve been able to do this year is step in with Micah Fox to support our sales team. As he meets with prospective school partners to discuss marketing solutions and strategy, I’ve been able to join in those calls to support him directly and share my role with those schools. [Laughs] I don’t think of myself as a salesperson, and I didn’t even expect to enjoy the sales process, but I have enjoyed this because it has tied in really closely with the thing I love most about my job. Read More

Jordan Celebrates 3 Years at NSM!

Slow, sure growth is a sign of a healthy plant with the strength and roots to flourish for many years. Three years ago today, Jordan Buckhalt joined the NSM creative services department as a budding graphic designer. It’s been wonderful to see him grow.

Jordan, what’s the best thing you learned this year?

For the last six months, for 20 hours of my spare time outside of work every week, I’ve been in the midst of a deep dive course on user experience. I’m close to my certification now, and it’s been amazing to start applying what I’m learning at work. Today, I have a much better understanding of the data that helps us understand our clients’ end-users that we design for in our work. When we can tie what we learn about them to the goals of our clients, that alignment has strong potential! Read More

5 Key Questions for Choosing a School Mascot

If I were to say to you, “Lions and tigers and bears,” you’d likely respond with “oh my!” and have a yellow brick road in your mind’s eye. However, if I were to say “Detroit Lions, Clemson Tigers and Chicago Bears,” you’d likely either growl or grin, depending on your loyalties. And your mind’s eye would likely picture an energetic mascot surrounded by crazy sports fans. 

I daresay everyone has a favorite mascot, whether it’s from a local high school, a collegiate team or the insurance gecko. A mascot is a visual representation of a group’s culture, and today, we’re talking about school mascots.

Source: North Star Marketing

Mascots should generate excitement and inspire loyalty from parents, alumni, athletes, middle schoolers, and kindergarteners. Fans should be proud to proclaim, “I’m a Hillcrest Raven!” because the mascot gives them a sense of belonging to a greater group. Read More

Lead with Humility: Two Models for Leadership

Any honest pursuit of excellence is going to produce humility—or at least the opportunity for it. To keep pressing ahead and breaking new ground as we lead our teammates and clients means we have to look again at what drives real leadership. Ryan Cardwell, a senior developer and member of the North Star leadership team, gives us his quiet, compelling take on what it means to Lead with Humility.

Lead … with humility. I know that on the surface, these concepts may seem completely disconnected, but if we can look more deeply at their relationship we can see how they work in synergy to produce an ideal harmony.

Untempered leadership engenders an overbearing, tyrannical, arrogant, distant, cold environment. The people who suffer under that kind of unmitigated control usually respond with fear, resentment, and conflict. This is not an environment that makes a truly successful workplace.

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These 6 SEO Basics Will Help Improve Your School’s Search Rankings

We recently published an article that discussed the decline in click-through-rates on organic searches and proposed some solutions for regaining that visibility. While it’s true that Google routinely pushes down organic search results in favor of Google Ad placements and other search engine results page (SERP) features, having your school rank well in organic search is still an unignorable part of your digital marketing strategy.

“Organic search remains the fuel you need to establish sustained long-term growth.”

Of the nearly 20 K-12 private school clients whose digital marketing efforts we oversee, all of them see the overwhelming majority of their traffic come to their website through organic search. So, yes, while the Google Ads platform and SERP feature optimization are important cogs in your digital marketing machine, organic search remains the fuel you need to establish sustained long-term growth for your website traffic and, ultimately, your school’s enrollment.  Read More