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October 5

Marketing Insights From Guy Kawasaki


by | Oct 5, 2023 | Featured, Ideas, Strategies, Podcast

Guy Kawasaki has been a marketing icon since his early days with Apple where he spread the word of a product that’s now synonymous with personal computing, Macintosh. 

Today, the best-selling author and host of the Remarkable People podcast is the Chief Evangelist for Canva.

Guy Kawasaki joins us on The Higher Marketing podcast to give us some marketing insights for higher education. In this episode of The Higher Ed Marketer podcast, Guy talks with us about why his fandom made him a perfect fit for Canva and how their product puts the power of design right into marketers’ and students’ hands.

And believe me, you won’t want to miss Guy’s thoughts on campus tours!

What is Canva?

I’ve been in the Adobe Suite my entire professional life. It’s been an incredible tool for me to take my ideas and make them a reality. 

However, when I finally came across Canva, I was able to get my ideas down so quickly that it blew me away!

I used to know my way in and out of all the menus of Adobe PageMaker and FreeHand, but now those programs have grown into unwieldy, bloated applications.

The same goes for Illustrator; it’s overwhelming now. But with Canva I can easily jump in and get my ideas down quickly. Guy explains it this way:

Canva is to Adobe products, what Macintosh is to Unix. 

There are Unix hackers, and there are Photoshop hackers, but 99.9% of the world just wants to start designing [and skip the massive learning curve]. 

[Truth is] you can finish a design in Canva faster than you can boot Photoshop!

How are people using Canva?

There are many ways that people are using Canva to improve their creative workflows. 

[You can use Canva to create] anything graphic, whether it’s social media or website design. 

Now, we’ve incorporated aspects of artificial intelligence so it can help you create graphics [based on what] you describe with text.

[Also,] it can help you create text [based on your description] by just giving a short idea for what you want. 

My main use of Canva is to replace PowerPoint. I make all my presentations with the Canva template. In the cases where I know that the host organization wants PowerPoint, at the very end, I just export from Canva to the PowerPoint format. 

This is also how I first started using Canva. Like Guy, I wanted an application that helped me to implement my ideas faster than PowerPoint could. 

With all of the stock photos and videos available in Canva, I can make my presentations richer, more user-focused, and get to my points quicker than trying to hack through PowerPoint.

The Democratization of Communication

Canva isn’t just for your higher ed marketing team. It also has a program that you can roll out to all of your students. 

Much like Microsoft or Google’s work suites, Canva also has a suite of creativity tools that you can make available to your students and faculty.  

It’s all about the general empowerment of people and, in this case, students. 

In the old [days], if you wanted some special graphic, or some special report, or some special functionality, you had to suck up to the IT department or the MIS department. Then along comes Macintosh, and all of a sudden you can plug it in and print without asking anybody to help! 

So Canva is just like [what happened with desktop publishing]. Rather than submitting an RFP or standing in line hoping you’re going to get the attention of the sacred [IT and marketing] departments, you can [now create and publish designs on your own]. 

At the start of my career, I democratized computing. [Now] at the end of my career, I’m democratizing communication.

It is amazing to have this kind of tool at everybody’s fingertips. 

I’ve become a believer in what Canva can do, and I can see how it’s democratizing communications. 

If you are a small school with a limited budget and staff, you’ve got to put a good marketing strategy together—and get a Canva account!

Guy’s Take on AI

Of course, I couldn’t let Guy go without asking him his opinion on AI technology.

I think that AI, ChatGPT, and similar things are as big a deal as personal computers, the internet, and social media. You might even get me to say that I think it’s a bigger deal than personal computing, and internet, and social media. 

When it first happened, a lot of educators were threatened [thinking that students] are going to cheat. It’s going to hurt critical thinking! 

But I bet you when Gutenberg started printing Bibles, people said, “Oh, this is the end of the world! Everybody can get a Bible, but it should be only for trained professionals—ministers and nuns and priests. They should [be the only ones to] have the Bible, not that common person.”

Fast forward, and now there’s desktop publishing. “Oh, my God! Anybody can publish a book!” And then there are websites, “Oh, my God! Anybody can foster the communication of information!”

[AI and ChatGPT] is truly disruptive technology. I think people underestimate the good that can come from something this disruptive. 

They tend to focus on the bad and the paranoid. Don’t get me wrong! I think there are destructive uses of AI, but all things considered, it’s going to make the world a better place! No question. 

Higher Ed Marketing Advice

Toward the end of our time together, Guy shared some insights he has for education marketers based on his personal experience.

I have four kids. I have been on, I bet you, 60 campus tours. 

Every single tour starts with “I am a student here. I am really happy here. The classes are small, the professors are available. We have a very diverse student body.” 

I have never been on a college tour, where the guide said, “The professors are never around. We only get grad students. The classes are 500 people. And everybody’s a white male.” Never!

Basically, every college tour says the professors are available, [we have] small classes, [students] can design their own major, and [we have] a very diverse student body. 

My advice is that you have to think about how you are unique and valuable as a college.

Because you are all saying the same thing! You should show parents and their kids what it’s really like. Take them to a dorm room! 

Every time I’m on a college tour, they always say “Oh, it’s spring break, so we can’t go in the dorm room.” I am more interested in the dorm room and the cafeteria than seeing your new $5 million musical center. 

Everybody wants to show buildings. I want to see the dorm room. 

This alone is worth listening to the whole episode!

Listen to our full interview with Guy Kawasaki to get even more insights into:

  • How Canva’s ease of use levels the marketing playing field (5:52)
  • Empowering students with accessible digital tools (14:04)
  • Why Guy believes ChatGPT and AI will be a force for good (19:59)
  • Secret shopping your school’s product, including campus tours (27:16)

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Featured image via guykawasaki.com

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