It’s that time a year again! No, not Halloween, well it is, but even more important…it’s time for the American Marketing Association’s (AMA) Higher Education Symposium in Las Vegas, Nevada. If you are not familiar with this event, you should be. Every year, thousands of higher education professionals and marketing professionals gather at this meeting of the minds. The focus is all about leveraging marketing in higher education for the various challenges that schools face today, with a particular focus on the digital landscape – which greatly excites us!
We love attending this event to learn, discuss, and share marketing knowledge as it pertains to the higher education industry. We are not so naive as to think we can’t learn from what other schools and agencies are doing, and we love the collaborative nature of this event. It encourages sharing and transparency among peers with a goal of bolstering the higher education sector as whole. If the state of higher education is making positive strides, we all win.
The event is broken up into multiple, daily seminars with schools and agencies presenting, often together, on key topics, important to today’s colleges and universities. While VONT has robust experience in many of these core subjects, we have handpicked several that we look forward to discovering more about, including how others may be leveraging familiar tactics and strategies to solve their own unique problems. Along the way, interesting data and research is often shared which can be used in decision-making for clients.
In this first post of a 2-part blog series, we seek to highlight some of the more exciting higher ed marketing topics at this year’s AMA, while adding our own two cents to the subject matter. After the AMA symposium, we will write a follow-up post with our key takeaways from the event expanding on the information below. From data and research, to the latest in enrollment strategies, we will cover it all! We encourage you to come back to our blog to check out our follow-up post, and better yet, follow us in real-time during the event on any of our social media channels to get the latest updates.
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This is all assuming you aren’t already attending this uber popular higher education event. If you are attending, we would love to chat with you. We can meet during the breakfast or lunch hours, the scheduled social hours, or even out on the casino floor, if you are so inclined! Our Higher Education Marketing Strategist, Jeff Mack, will be in attendance. He will be looking to interview some of you for our blog post to find out your thoughts on some of the better seminars, and what is important to today’s schools. Of course, you can also pry him for a free consultation if you have some burning questions that you’d like answered. Just look for Jeff at the event, sporting his winter Maine beard, and strike up a conversation, or we’d recommend just scheduling a time to meet up below.
Now on to VONT’s top 5 AMA higher ed topics of 2019!
1. The Adult Student Market: Research Insights to Drive Recruitment
Adult learners are a hot topic these days. They fuel not just graduate and certificate programs, but now more than ever, they are fueling bachelor’s programs. We find higher education institutions often struggle with understanding and reaching this adult audience. The messaging and marketing tools that work for younger audiences will not have the same effect on the adult student market. This segment will review the various adult marketing personas, as determined by a nationwide survey, and will highlight what tools can be used to most effectively reach this audience. VONT has had great success reaching adult audiences on search engines, social media and other channels as a result of advanced targeting options, but it will be really interesting to discover additional insights about this audience from data-backed research and to explore other ideas of how to reach them.
2. Stop Posting. Start Collaborating: Digital and Gen Z
If any audience is harder to figure out than the adult learner, its Gen Z. VONT has had to adapt to a new way of leveraging social media that better suits how teenagers use it. Simple social ads do not do the trick anymore. Gen Z doesn’t want to just absorb content on your calendar, they want to interact with it in real time, creating their own content along the way (Learn more on that from our sister agency, Ethos, here). This segment will focus on how Coastal Carolina University empowers the Gen Z prospective students using digital platforms. We are especially eager to hear insights into what content and tactics have yielded them the greatest engagement.
3. E-Expectations 2019: Exploring New Opportunities and Deepening Strategy on our Digital Standbys
E-expectations™ has completed their research for 2019 breaking new ground on the study of how prospective students use websites, texting, social media and email. This segment will also explore how voice search, keyword strategies, AI and personalization can be layered into your marketing strategies. We recently wrote an article focused on how Facebook and Google are using advances in AI to improve our marketing strategies in higher education and we look forward to hearing how others are leveraging the latest advancements.
4. Growing Enrollment Through Niche Micro-Marketing
While large universities can rely on strong brand recognition and multiple revenue channels during these increasingly more challenging times in higher education, many small private colleges are struggling and some even shutting down. This session explores how HBCU in New Orleans and a private liberal arts college in Virginia, have used micro-marketing tools, including traditional and omni-channel digital tools paired with research and segmentation, to have a positive impact on their enrollment and bottom line. We are especially excited about this segment as we are cognizant of how smaller, private institutions need to run leaner and generate cost-effective enrollment through strategic marketing. While targeted digital marketing across various channels is not new, it certainly is interesting to hear success stories and particular details of what did, and did not, work for these schools during their marketing journey.
5. Staying in the Feedback Loop: Developing a Marketing and Recruitment Dialogue to Increase Online Enrollment
VONT has audited and helped numerous schools with their digital marketing campaigns, and one common theme almost always applies at the onset…where are the tracking, reporting, and optimization processes? So often schools will jump into a marketing initiative solely focused on the audience, message, and how to reach them. While this is important, the most successful digital marketing plans consider how campaigns will track conversion actions, report out on performance, and make real-time adjustments to the campaigns to ensure they are maximizing returns from their marketing dollars. This session will look at the University of Arizona Online recruitment campaigns’ continuous feedback loop set up to track the success of marketing strategy and tactics. VONT was founded on a principle of continuous improvement, so this session will be music to our ears. Not only are we excited to hear about another success story, but more importantly, since there is not a “right” way to setup an analytics strategy, we’re excited to learn about what particular techniques and platforms the University of Arizona may be leveraging in their feedback loop.
These topics all appear to be very timely and should be relevant to many of you in the higher education industry. We look forward to sharing all of our learnings from this year’s event. Stay tuned for part 2 of this AMA higher education symposium article. We hope to see you in Las Vegas, but if not, make sure to check back in and get all the key learnings right here on VONT’s higher education marketing blog.
Schedule a time to meet with Jeff at the AMA Conference!
About VONT Performance Digital Marketing
At VONT we believe that change is the only constant in the digital world – and that excites us. Over the years, digital marketing has played an ever-growing role in higher education recruitment. From lead generation for inquiries, campus visits, and applications to increasing brand awareness and student yield – digital marketing and ongoing optimizations can have a significant impact on the objectives that confront today’s higher ed marketer.
We believe in this idea of continual fine-tuning so much that we named our company VONT, which means to achieve exponential improvement in incremental steps. It is our core belief, and the reason why we are not simply a web design company or simply a digital advertising agency, but rather a long-term, single source partner providing a comprehensive array of web development and digital marketing capabilities for higher education clients.
In short, we’re here so that our clients achieve success in the ever-changing digital world. If you’d like to learn more about VONT and the work we’ve done with our higher education clients, visit our Work page. Or, if you have a question, contact us. We’ll get right back to you!