We’re officially in countdown mode to the 2016 Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education! The full agenda is live, and as expected, it is full of innovative sessions that are sure to inspire and fuel your 2017 initiatives. I’m excited to see advanced digital strategies such as social listening and personalization included this year and look forward to hearing how higher ed marketers are meeting the needs of the Gen Z customer. In terms of 2016 trends, crisis communications and planning is on the agenda deservedly more than once and sure to be relevant for many attendees. With that in mind, here are the sessions that you absolutely can’t miss this year.
Monday, December 5
8:15 – Morning Keynote: The New Trust Mandate for Universities: Why Engagement and Transparency is no Longer Optional
- Richard Edelman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Edelman
- As a former PR agency pro myself, I’m looking forward to hear Edelman’s advice for higher ed marketers. In the meantime, check out the agency’s white paper that was released earlier this year and explores the results of the “University Reputations and the Public” survey.
11:15 – Track 2: Leverage the Power of Social Listening
- Liz Gross, Data-Driven Marketer, Social Media Strategist, Higher Education Researcher; Mike Horn, Senior Director, Office of Marketing and Communications, Terry College of Business, The University of Georgia
- Institutions need to move past likes, follows and re-tweets as measures of social media efforts. Social listening can do help exactly that and can be used to inform not only your day-to-day decisions, but inform your overall brand strategy alongside market research.
2:00 – Track 5: The New Typical Student: How Three Schools Are Courting Adult Learners and Winning the Enrollment Game
- Jason Smith, Managing Director & Founder, OHO Interactive; Melissa Marcello, Managing Director, Professional Studies, Champlain College; Andrea L Fagon, Director of Marketing and Communications for the City University of New York School of Professional Studies; Cristina Ruggiero, Associate Dean, College of General Studies, University of Pittsburgh
- The “non-traditional student” is now the traditional student, but many universities still struggle to engage and meet the needs of this growing demographic. I’m excited to tune into this panel to hear the successes and challenges they’ve encountered.
3:00 – Track 5: Personalizing Social Campaigns: The “Picture Yourself Here” Experience at Northeastern University
- Jennie Moore Marshall, Senior Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications, Northeastern University
- For the Gen Z customer, personalized content is an expectation. Northeastern dove in head first to the growing trend with the launch of a year-long campaign that featured innovative tactics such as coloring posters and personalized photos to capture attention of prospects and admitted students.
Tuesday, December 6
10:15 – Advanced Marketing Session: “The New Normal”: Marketing and Communications in a Reactive Climate
- Lee Gardner, Senior Reporter, Chronicle of Higher Education; Terry Flannery, Vice President for Communication, American University
- How is your institution proactively and strategically responding to a crisis on campus? This is a challenge that institutions across the world are confronted with on an increasingly day-to-day basis. I recommending checking out these two articles in advance, “There cannot by a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” and “When It Comes to Campus Crises, College Communications Staffs Plan, React, and Fret.”
2:15 – Advanced Marketing Session: Information Action: Using Market Research to Align Campus Stakeholders and Drive Strategic Success
- Brad Bohlander, Chief Communications Officer, Associate Vice Chancellor for University Communications, North Carolina State University; Andrew P. Careaga, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, Missouri University of Science and Technology; Stephanie Judge-Cripe, Director of Marketing Strategy, Butler University; Jason Simon, Vice President & Partner, SimpsonScarborough
- While higher ed marketers are often tempted to skip the market research phase, the data and insights collected through the research process will not only lead to a brand strategy that endures, but drive campus alignment and support for your marketing communications efforts.
3:15 – Track 7: 9x5 Session
- What should be in your institution’s branding toolbox? How to use Snapchat to build a university brand? What skillsets does your digital-first marcom team need? Expect answers to these questions (and more!) during the always informative and entertaining 9x7 session that features nine speakers each sharing their wisdom in five minutes or less. I’ll be up to share the five skills and perspectives that marcom departments need in-house to succeed in today’s digital era.
Wednesday, December 7
I’d make sure to divide and conquer with your team to ensure you have a representative at each of the last advanced marketing sessions. Both will be great continuing conversations on what are sure to be hot topics at this year’s conference 1) digital marketing and 2) crisis communications.
8:15 – Advanced Marketing Sessions: Building Powerful National Higher Learning Brands
- Joel Curran, Vice Chancellor of Communications and Public Affairs, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Bill Burger, Vice President for Communications & Chief Marketing Officer, Middlebury College; Carol Keese, Associate Vice President, Marketing, University of Virginia; Yvonne Martin-Kidd, Chief Marketing Officer, Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management; Gene Lewis, Partner and Chief Creative Officer, Digital Pulp
8:15 – The Marketer’s Role in Building Diverse, Inclusive, and Equitable Campuses
- Briant Coleman, Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives and Communications, University of Central Florida; Jennifer Kirksey, Chief of Staff and Special Assistant to the President, Ohio University; Teresa Valerio Parrot, Principal, TVP Communications; Matthew Ward, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing, Cal Lutheran University, Moderator: Binti Harvey, Vice President for Marketing and Communications, Scripps College
Be sure to check out this year’s full program agenda and follow along the conversation Dec 4-7 at #AMAHigherEd.
Did you miss our recap from last year? Our takeaway from 2015 – stop trying to be in control but rather be in command – is still relevant today with great examples from Arizona State, Stevens, and Boston University to name a few.