-
By: Danielle Sewell

Danielle Sewell Is Ready to Navigate the Next Wave of Disruption in Higher Ed

It’s impossible to know what the future holds, but Marketing and Branding Consultant Danielle Sewell knows she belongs at the forefront, helping institutions and students thrive in their new reality.

Lessons From the Field /
By: Danielle Sewell

4 minutes

Danielle Sewell is a lifelong storyteller who translated her academic background in creative writing into a career as a higher education marketer. She is passionate about data-driven communication strategy, fresh-ground coffee, and the Oxford comma — and she is an avid user of the em dash. Danielle spends much of her time with her husband, Scott, and the world’s laziest dog, a greyhound named Scout. She recently became enamored with the bullet journal method, which she considers one part organization, one part mindfulness, and one part outlet for her addiction to nice pens. 

I wanted to work in higher education because…

I wanted to use my skills to serve a worthwhile mission, instead of just selling socks or something. (But don’t get me wrong. I do love a good pair of socks.)

The marketing tool I can’t live without is…

Google Drive and all the apps that go along with it. I don’t know how we shared information before the G Suite. 

We can’t know exactly what the future holds, but I want to be one of the people at the forefront, helping institutions and students thrive in their new reality.

The best marketing I’ve ever seen is…

Chewy.com sends a handwritten birthday card to my dog every year. They’ve also sent a friend of mine a hand-painted portrait of her pup! The best marketing is about creating a memorable, positive customer experience. 

My favorite memory from undergrad is…

The day SUNY Plattsburgh got an on-campus Tim Horton’s, which is Canada’s largest fast-food chain. We all got real Canadian, real fast.

In the next five years, I’d like to…

Be a part of whatever the next wave of disruption in higher education brings. Things are changing, and I think the next 5-10 years will see some dramatic shifts. Marketing techniques will certainly get shaken up as technologies like AR, AI, and voice search mature — but more essentially, the nature of education itself is shifting as schools merge or close and online learning options expand. We’re seeing more and more “non-traditional” students pursuing higher education, while at the same time the public discourse around colleges and universities has become rife with tension. The issues surrounding education are complex. We can’t know exactly what the future holds, but I want to be one of the people at the forefront, helping institutions and students thrive in their new reality. 

My biggest professional mistake was… 

Assuming that being hired as a change-maker meant that buy-in for change had already happened around campus — that is hardly ever the case, and it’s always necessary to build your own relationships and get buy-in from colleagues on a peer-to-peer level. 

When I’m not working I’m…

Hanging out with my husband and our greyhound, reading a high-quality book, or watching low-quality TV. 

I start my day at… 

The coffeemaker. 

I admire the marketing at…

The University of Michigan. They just do so much, so well. And their campaign on social integrity is an incredible marriage of marketing, communication, and education. 

The biggest challenge facing higher education marketers is…

A lack of understanding among the general public about what modern-day marketing entails. Higher ed marketers cannot be ticket-takers who simply create fliers or make web edits on demand; we must be strategic partners in campus decision-making and campaign development. We are experts in communication, and we’re trained to consider the audience and anticipate how messaging will be received. If we’re put in the position of being reactive rather than proactive, our skills are largely wasted and institutional initiatives (and ultimately, students) suffer for it. 

My biggest professional achievement is…

Yet to come! But so far, I am especially proud of the work I’ve done with student interns, many of whom are now graduated and using their communication skills in successful careers of their own. 

The future of higher education will be…

Diverse — in terms of student/faculty/staff demographics, but also in terms of delivery methods and the types of knowledge and experience offered. I expect that the one-size-fits-all model will continue to shift toward a more personalized, customizable approach with a focus on transferable skills. 

When someone tells me they want to work in higher ed, I tell them…

When you work in higher ed, you impact lives. Don’t take that lightly. But hold onto your sense of whimsy at the same time. 

A key to my success has been…

Being in the business of knowing my business. Marketing is a field that changes quickly and regularly. It’s important to immerse yourself in the broader community, continuously develop your skills, and stay up-to-date, not only with current marketing trends but also trends in the education industry.

The biggest difference between higher ed now and when I started is…

The Facebook algorithm!

One thing I’ve learned about managing teams is…

You learn a million times more over coffee or lunch than you do in a formal meeting. 

The most random thing I’ve ever seen on campus is…

An upside-down cardboard box with a hastily scrawled post-it note reading “POISONOUS SNAKE” stuck on the side. Bye. 

I love my work because…

I help build connections that make a difference in real people’s lives. I get to tell stories and instill pride, and on my best days, my work can leave people feeling inspired. How amazing is that? 

Danielle Sewell

Danielle Sewell

Marketing & Branding Consultant

Danielle Sewell is a higher education marketer specializing in content strategy, brand development, and digital media. She believes in empowering individuals, institutions, and organizations to inspire change by sharing their authentic stories.

Danielle holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Wilkes University and a B.A. in English from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Her career has included roles as a higher education marketer at not-for-profit institutions, as well as work in academic publishing, private business, and consulting.
Connect with Danielle on LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @DSewellMFA.

1
Leave a Reply

avatar
1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
Andy Lynch Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Andy Lynch
Guest
Andy Lynch

I’ve had the privilege of working with Danielle, and it was remarkable seeing all that she was able to get done (and get done well) with a small team. Higher ed savvy, marketing brain, organization skills, writing chops, personality, perseverance… Higher ed marketing is in good hands with Danielle.

Mark Mashaw Shares Insights from Almost a Decade in the Higher Ed Marketing Sphere.

With over 8 years of higher ed experience in roles like EVP and Head of Marketing, Mark Mashaw has a thing or two to tell us about higher ed marketing. 

Lessons From the Field /
By: Mark Mashaw

Boundaries and Balance: Can Colleges and Central MarComm Offices Really Work Well Together?

Sarah Greenblatt gives tips for promoting one university across all those silos.

Education Administration /
By: Sarah Greenblatt

Vendors to Watch: Notes From the NACAC 2019 Exhibitor Floor

Kevin Renton, eCity Interactive’s Managing Director, believes that with great vendors come great knowledge — and they’re more than ready to share. Here’s his (totally biased) take on NACAC’s greatest hits.

Admissions /
By: Kevin Renton

Vendors to Watch: Notes From the NACAC 2019 Exhibitor Floor

Kevin Renton, eCity Interactive’s Managing Director, believes that with great vendors come great knowledge — and they’re more than ready to share. Here’s his (totally biased) take on NACAC’s greatest hits.

Admissions /
By: Kevin Renton
Banner that says "Student Experience"

Losing Guidelines…and Gaining Perspective: The Hidden Opportunity in Prospective NACAC Ethics Code Changes

The changes effected by NACAC might make it more difficult for institutions to retain students. Danielle Sewell wants to make sure higher ed marketers are up to the challenge.

Admissions /
By: Danielle Sewell
NACAC logo on pink and purple background

NACAC Proposes Changes to Ethics Code in Response to DOJ Probe

Vicki Kidd breaks down how the new rules could shake up the early admissions and transfer process.

Admissions /
By: Victoria Kidd