2024 Carnegie Conference

Session Recap for Attendees: Just Keep Swimming!


Thank you for joining us for the 12th annual Carnegie Conference. As always, we bring speakers from outside higher education who push us to consider what’s next. Below are links to the presentations they gave.





Break Out of the Sea of Sameness with the Power of Storytelling

Presented by: Aleya Harris


As you look across the industry landscape, all you see is how the once extraordinary has become trite. Here’s the worst part: try as you might, all your innovative ideas have also been assimilated into the common lexicon, and you find yourself languishing in a sea of sameness. All you want is to stand out, but the more you try, the more you get frustrated because your brilliant efforts are short-lived. It has become exhausting to stay ahead of the pack with game-changing creativity only to watch the masses steal it. There is a better way to transform from a leader and claim your rightful spot as a legend.


In this interactive session, Aleya teaches you how to use storytelling elements to stand out by standing in the power of your unique journey. She leverages her expert knowledge of the StoryBrand SB7 Framework, the hero’s journey, and energy-recalibration techniques to help you develop a theft-proof narrative that will articulate your uniqueness, connect with your ideal client, and leave an enduring legacy.


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Back to the Future: What Lessons From Marketing History Can Tell Us About the Future

Presented by: Andi Jarvis


“Marketing has changed more in the last decade than at any time in history.” There’s a blog published that features a version of this line roughly every 0.5 seconds* but does anyone stop to consider if it’s correct?


In this presentation, Andi Jarvis argued that marketing isn’t really changing, our audiences aren’t changing, and the future of marketing is much the same as in the past. Why is this important? Because people, not robots, sit at the heart of marketing. He discussed how you get your customers back to the center of what you do and how that will turbocharge your marketing efforts.


So strap yourself in, wait for the flux capacitor to fire up, and let’s go Back to the Future… where the past isn’t all that different from the future.


*Stats entirely made up… much like the results used in most content marketing efforts.


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Driving Conversions + ROI from Social Media

Presented by: Natalie Henley


Social media programs tend to focus on building up metrics (e.g. followers, engagement, positive sentiment). But many social media programs, even ones with great metrics, might not drive a single attributable application for that school.


However, there are a few awesome social strategies and tactics that drive traffic and can directly help your efforts to increase interest and applications from prospective students. Meet Natalie Henley, CEO of Volume Nine, a leading Social Media & SEO agency that has helped hundreds of brands build their brand organically via social and search.


In this session, Natalie shared actionable ideas to implement in your social media program.


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Growth Through Belonging

Presented by: Sonia Thompson


Differences are normal. But in a lot of instances, people’s differences make them feel like outcasts or prevent them from getting their needs met. The brands and organizations that take the time to acknowledge the many ways people are different, and actively choose to deliver experiences that show more people they belong, will earn their loyalty. This is especially important for people from underrepresented and underserved communities.


This session focused on how to get more students to feel like they belong with you throughout their journey—from recruitment through to their life as alumni.


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The Evolution Of Content & The Future Of Our Industry

Presented by: Ross Simmonds


Is it all over? Is the world as we knew it a wrap? With the rise of AI – is it realistic to assume that the world of SEO and content will stay the same? Or should we all start dusting off our resumes to try something new? In this presentation, Ross shared a blend of both the realities of how AI can be incorporated into our work (maybe to give us additional runway), and answered the questions as to whether or not AI is actually coming for our jobs and what we can do to ensure that we’re ahead of the curve when it comes to using these tools, embracing the technology, and finding edges amidst rapid change.


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Building Enrollments by Building University-Brand Love

Presented by: Aaron Ahuvia


Brand love: it’s why Apple lovers excitedly buy the latest iPhone, Nike lovers get the swoosh tattooed on their arm, and Starbucks lovers wait 30 minutes in a drive-through lane for their special morning jolt. America’s most loved brands are also among its most profitable, which is why building brand love is the foremost marketing goal of companies ranging from Apple to General Mills. Brand love has always been a big part of the college experience, which is why people proudly wear t-shirts with their school’s name on them and call the place they graduated from their alma mater (lit. ‘nourishing mother’).


In this talk, you learned how to inspire a little brand love for your school in prospective students and use this to grow your enrollments.


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In An Age of Declining Demographics, Personification Is King

Presented by: Tyler Borders


With the college-bound population declining sharply through 2026, the fabled “demographic cliff” reveals how essential applicant quality and right-fit recruiting have become. More than ever, universities need to focus on their story and understand how to deliver the right message to precise student populations. This is where psychographics takes center stage, and it’s imperative in today’s enrollment marketing. How do we measure personality and motivation? How do we know what the right messages are to drive conversion? In this session, Tyler clarified how to objectively define and understand personality and motivation, and actively apply it to your recruiting efforts.


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Audience-Based Outreach

Presented by: Ken Higgins + Megan Robinson


In this session, we unearthed universal strategies and siloed nuances in communicating effectively to prospective students, current students, and prospective donors. Whether you’re a marketing guru or just starting out, this bite-sized session shared insights on the intricacies of marketing across the higher ed lifecycle. Your journey to mastering the art of holistic college or university marketing starts here!


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Leadership and Values in Times of Crisis

Presented by: Teresa Valerio Parrot


The crises of the past years have been shared globally and each college campus has dealt with many similar situations. Future challenges remain unknown but will certainly occur. Building a crisis management framework—based on shared values—will be vital in preparing for what is to come. In this session, we explored interactive scenarios demonstrating shared values’ role in preparing for, managing, and recovering from image and reputation hits.


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Are You a Human?

Presented by: Jared Brickman


With so much interest in AI, where it falls short, and how it will change the higher education landscape, it was important for Carnegie to ask: What do students think? This session revealed the results of a primary research study of prospective undergraduate students concerning their use of AI, their outlook on the technologies of today, and even whether they can tell the difference between AI-generated marketing copy and copy written by a human. We promise that (most) of the presentation was made and given by Jared, a totally normal human and certainly not a robot in disguise.


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Tailored Outreach: Personalizing Communications

Presented by: Laura Murnen + Allison Steinberg


Slate’s strength lies in its ability to customize content for students on an unlimited amount of data points. You’ve collected the data, now what you do with it is key. In this session, you learned about how bringing your Student Search in-house gives you the ability to manage your student funnel proactively, score student engagement effectively, customize print communications to meet your goals and understand your students’ needs before they step foot on campus. Take your customization one step further by adding Carnegie Darts & Motivators to reach the right students at the right times.


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How to be Human in a Robotic World

Presented by: Valerie Garcia


It feels like the entire world is obsessed with AI. Will it replace us? Take our jobs? Change the way we work? In this session, you learned the most important things that AI can’t do, and why it’s more critical than ever to be human at work.


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Emails Done Right: Building a Lasting Relationship With Your Students

Presented by: Samar Owais


If there’s one marketing channel built for a personalized customer experience, it’s email. When done right, emails have the power to connect with your students and build lasting relationships that go well beyond their student years. When done wrong… your emails get deleted without being opened. The good news is that sending emails your students want to open and engage with isn’t rocket science.


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Measuring What Matters: The Story Behind the Data

Presented by: Ryan Levander


Forget accuracy (because it doesn’t exist in marketing data); focus on a ‘useful truth’. In this session, you learned how a shift in perspective – prioritizing channel objectives and overall trends – can revolutionize your analytics approach.


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The Future of Student Recruitment in the Era of Demand Compression

Presented by: Scott Ochander


The higher education landscape is evolving rapidly. We’re facing challenges like a decline in college-bound students, decreasing test-taking numbers, and rising data privacy concerns. The student journey is becoming less predictable, and engagement channels are multiplying, and Gen Z and Gen Alpha demand customization and authenticity. We’ve arrived today at an inflection point, the shift in power from institutions to buyers–which on its own merits will transfer recruitment strategy and recruitment marketing for the foreseeable future.


In this session, we explored the emerging trends and best practices for student search including the fundamental relational dynamic shifts between enrollment and marketing on campus and prospective students and families in the market.


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The State of Higher Education and the New Adult Learner

Presented by: Jim Fong


The “Demographic Cliff” doesn’t mean doom for higher education.  It signals institutions to adapt their programs, redefine their audiences, and restrategize their marketing and enrollment management efforts.  UPCEA is a nonprofit professional association committed to serving the adult and professional learner.


This session outlined new research on the needs of the new adult learner and the employer, and highlighted major trends impacting higher education and what needs to be done to better engage learners of the future.


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Measured Outreach: Tracking Success in Communications

Presented by: Allison Steinberg + Rocco Porcellio


You’re sending tailored communications to all the right audiences, now what? In this session, we dove into how to use Slate to track, analyze, and distribute your communication data. Knowing your open and click rates is just the beginning. See how the names you’ve purchased are converting, how print pieces are making an impact, how effective your segmentation is and so much more. Empower yourself to make informed decisions on your future marketing efforts!


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Timeless Teams

Presented by: John Meyer


In this talk, John discussed what makes great teams great. With stories from some of the world’s best teams and memories from his time running Lemonly, John broke down his model of how Timeless Teams sustain success.


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Pre-Conference: Slate Camp

Presented by: Carnegie’s Slate Optimization team


This optional pre-conference program looked at Slate through a marketing lens, with sessions on how to master configurable joins, build out multi-channel communications, and enhance strategy through Deliver-focused reporting. Sessions were intended for an audience with a beginner to intermediate understanding of Slate and were led by Carnegie’s Slate Optimization team. A separate ticket was required to attend.


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