Insights — Conference Travel Ahead

Conference Travel Ahead

Events , Resources , Thought leadership / October 04, 2018
Elizabeth Scarborough Johnson
Elizabeth Scarborough Johnson

It’s conference season again, and we’re gearing up for an exciting fall and early 2019 that will take us to Boston, Orlando, Atlanta, and beyond! This year, I’m particularly excited about the best-in-class agenda the SimpsonScarborough and Converge teams have developed together for the upcoming Converge 2019 conference taking place February 19-21.

When Converge first asked me to help plan the conference, I was intrigued because I recognized a gap in the professional development opportunities available to higher ed CMOs. The AMA Higher Ed Symposium is a huge event usually attended by more than a thousand people, while CASE and other organizations offer a variety of very small events. I could never find a mid-size conference with great speakers and enough people for great conversation and sharing, but not so many that you feel lost. Converge 2019 will be this “just-right”-size event—big enough to attract nationally known speakers on innovative topics, but small enough for real interactions and learning to occur. I wanted to share a recent conversation I had with our marketing director, Kristen Ingels, when she asked me what makes Converge 2019 a unique event and why I was so eager to get involved.


Q: Why was collaborating with Converge for the 2019 conference important?

A: Converge is at the forefront of digital marketing in higher ed. They are helping institutions take advantage of new technologies, measure the results, and adjust strategies to maximize ROI. SimpsonScarborough is a research-driven brand strategy and creative firm—we are all about measurement and ROI, and this is where our firms intersect philosophically. We share many clients and collaborate frequently. The folks at Converge are cut from the same cloth as our team at SimpsonScarborough.


Q: Higher education leaders are invited to participate in the CMO Experience, a curated leadership track that features sessions with some of the industry’s top experts. Why is the CMO Experience important for organizations, and how can it be impactful for them?

A: When Converge asked me to help plan the CMO Experience at the conference, I asked them to seriously consider every single crazy idea I had. They have implemented all of them. Most notably, there’s going to be a private lounge for CMOs. What I hear is that CMOs want private, quiet time to chat with their peers about budgets, org structure, politics, etc. The CMO lounge will give them the time and space to connect with their peers, share what’s going on at their institutions, and get advice on how to maximize their marketing effort.


Q: What is one thing you want your listeners to take away from past conferences, Converge 2019, or future conferences?

A: The future is here. The marketing function is growing rapidly in higher ed. We are getting more sophisticated and more effective. The role that marketing is playing on college and university campuses is finally being recognized as an essential business function. Now is our time. We have to be ready. Converge 2019 will help prepare current CMOs and the next generation.


Q: With over 20 years of experience conducting market research studies, what keeps you motivated in the higher education industry?

A: I love higher ed. I believe in higher ed. I’m convinced that it is the answer to many of our society’s greatest problems. Colleges and universities are educating those who will cure cancer, save the planet, eliminate poverty, reduce racism and bigotry, create beauty in the arts and literature, and so much more. As marketers, we play a small role in helping students find the right college and helping colleges thrive, so that their students can accomplish all these important goals.


We hope you’ll join us! Visit the conference website to check out the full conference program and speaker lineup. Don’t forget to use the code EARLYBIRD by October 15 to save $100 on your registration.

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