Carnegie Conference Highlights

Carnegie Higher Ed Feb 08, 2012 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

The 2012 Carnegie Conference featured fantastic speakers and interesting dialogue with attendees.   How many pages of notes did you have? The Carnegie Team has put together some of our favorite highlights for you on the topics covered in the sessions. Hang them above your desk, share them with your colleagues, and let’s keep the conversation going.

 Branding- Debbie Godfrey

  • Find your unique story
  • Traditional and digital marketing should be integrated to come from one voice.  Consistency is very important and when done correctly; the combination can be extremely powerful.
  • Do not leave your brand to chance. If you are not putting your message and your brand online, someone else probably is. Take control of what is said about you.
  • It is critical to know your audience. Messages and methods of delivery need to cater to their expectations and what they are comfortable with.
  • Remember ALL audiences in your branding strategy – those who know you well (faculty, current students, and alumni) and those who don’t (prospective students and parents).
  • The tried and true advertising formula of reach and frequency still applies; we just have new mediums through which we can deliver both.

Digital – Melissa Rekos

  • There is a need to deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time, through the right channel.
  • Mobile marketing is just beginning here in the U.S.  Given the rapid rise in sales of full HTML enabled browsers and tablets, colleges and universities need to incorporate a strategy for these devices into their marketing plans.
  • Social media is a powerful tool when used properly. Simply having a Facebook page is not enough. Schools must develop a strategy around it, promote it effectively, and make it a part of overall branding and marketing.
  • If you want students to complete inquiry forms, it is important to optimize those landing pages and test the results. There is more needed for converting that visitor to an inquiry than just putting up a page without much thought around it. How information is requested and the number of requests makes a difference in completion rates.
  • Pay attention to search. Students often begin their research at the search bar and if you are not there in a relevant way, an opportunity has been missed.
  • Digital marketing allows for the real-time testing of what works and what doesn’t. Take advantage of that and let data drive the next steps.
  • Let those who love you communicate to those you want to love you. Blogs, Facebook, videos and other tools are out there to allow an exchange of information about you by those who know you best.
  • Create a positive user experience with your digital tools. Whether it’s the e-mails you send, the online advertising you deliver, or your website, the path you lead a potential student through should be positive, informative, and without frustration. Pay attention to where you take them, how they get there, and what they see when they get there.
  • Prospective students are savvy and will not cut you any slack. Their expectations are high and they will not care that you had a small budget, or too many layers of people to go through to get changes made. They will use that experience to make an assumption about the entire institution so be sure to make it a good first impression.
  • There are many things you can do on your own internally. However, doing them correctly takes knowledge and understanding of the various technologies and how they integrate. There are often benefits to finding a partner who already understands this and can implement them efficiently and effectively.
  • There is now the ability to refine your targeting with online marketing and ensure you are reaching the correct audience.
  • Measure, measure, and measure again. Digital strategies allow for tracking and measurement, enabling you to know precisely what impact your campaigns are having on your desired goals.

Communications – Chris Hardwick

  • There is an opportunity to identify interesting and “attractive” stories that can be re-purposed for high-traffic aggregators like the Huffington Post.
  •  There is also a clear need to put forward substantive stories and insights about the value of higher education – compelling stories about programs that help address critical issues and information about groundbreaking research taking place across a whole range of subjects.
  • News can spread like wildfire on the internet and items are not always checked for validity and accuracy – particularly those from student newspapers. It is critical to have an action plan to monitor and respond effectively.
  • Rankings continue to be quite controversial; however, as long as colleges find them useful for marketing and prospective students look at them, it is important for colleges and universities to carefully manage the process.
  • College presidents have an opportunity to lead the discussion on the most relevant and pressing issues: affordability, the rising cost of higher education, the need for liberal arts degrees, economic impact, innovation, retention, etc.

How are you planning to put your knowledge into practice?  Let us know – we would love to hear from you!

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