Digital Byte: The 2014 Carnegie Conference in 1,000 Words or Less

Carnegie Higher Ed Feb 21, 2014 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

This year’s Carnegie Conference was buzzing with talk of the latest technologies and hottest trends in higher ed marketing. The speaker line up was top-notch, and the nearly 100 marketing and admission professionals in attendance were some of the brightest and most engaged listeners we’ve ever hosted. Based on their feedback, the conference was well received, and attendees left with real solutions to bring back to campus.

For those of you that missed it, fear not! We’ve broken down the highlights for you here. And since I can’t even begin to sum up the amazing, content-rich presentations in just one blog, if you want more information, contact us and we’ll be able to provide more information and presentations.

Big data

Graeme Noseworthy, Strategic Messaging Director for IBM, kicked things off by welcoming us all to “The ‘New’ Era of Data-driven Marketing in Higher Ed”—an incredibly poignant presentation about the need for schools to dive into their own data to leverage marketing and recruitment strategies. Big data can get complicated—even defining it varies across the industry. There were the three V’s, five steps, statistics, and tips for getting started, and Graeme (thankfully) broke it all down for us. The takeaway was how schools can discover insights and deliver relevance through their data.

Marketing to the reptilian brain

DemandGen’s David Lewis did not fail to impress us next with his mind-blowing ability to predict what number and vegetable someone in the audience was thinking of based solely on the fact that he or she was a self-proclaimed extrovert. If your morning coffee hadn’t quite kicked in yet, you were wide awake by then! David’s presentation dove into the psychology behind what sticks for prospective students and why selling to the reptilian brain is a marketing best practice regardless of the medium—be it digital or traditional—for branding or lead nurturing. Some takeaways?

  • Visuals stick: think imagery and videos!
  • The first five seconds and last five seconds are what people remember most, so make that part of your message that most critical.
  • Keep your marketing messages focused on the prospective student, using the word “you” wherever possible to connect with them personally.

Finding your college’s “one simple thing”

Chris Colbert, from FINIS, segued perfectly from the psychology of marketing discussion into his theory that all organizations need to find their one simple thing in order to stand out in the marketplace and connect with prospective students. By the middle of the presentation, no one needed convincing they needed a one simple thing, but many were still left wondering what the secret recipe is for coming up with one. Chris’s tip for nailing it down? Ask yourself: is it true, relevant, motivating, and distinct?

Peer presentations: traditional and nontraditional tracks

The graduate and undergraduate tracks that afternoon were a hit, allowing attendees to both listen and participate in conversations led by peers. David Viggiano of Syracuse University led the traditional undergrad track with a presentation about the various marketing initiatives he’s worked on, including how to manage projects with vendors. Marcus Hanscom led the graduate/nontraditional track, which was jam-packed with relevant stories from his experience within the University of New Haven, offering new ideas, tips, and more than a dozen homework assignments for attendees. Both tracks and peer panels were informative and interactive, offering some of the most helpful, immediate takeaways admission and marketing pros could take back to campus and get cracking on themselves.

The latest from Google

Day two was kicked off by Charles Scrase, from Google’s Education and Government Verticals. In his third Carnegie Conference appearance, Charles hit home the undeniable truth that mobile devices are the future of marketing, and education is not excluded from this group. He said, “Being present and being found” on mobile is increasingly important in today’s college marketplace. He offered multiple tips for doing so, including the “seven things every marketer should now be doing on mobile” and other ideas for taking advantage of marketing technologies that can really take your school’s campaigns to the next level—without breaking the bank (hint: think mobile video!).

From real time to right time

Digital strategist Augustine Fou and travel media entrepreneur Cree Lawson were the final speakers of the conference. Their presentation focused on how the traditional advertising mentality can be applied to digital, unifying marketing across all channels, and the need for outsmarting your marketing competition as opposed to out-shouting them. They included fascinating case studies and industry examples and applied destination marketing principals to higher ed. After all, finding the right college is a journey, and it takes a combination of tried-and-true marketing techniques, as well as new, out-of-the-box thinking to recruit students (and their parents!) in this competitive college landscape.

We hope that our conference gave you some of the tools you need to accomplish just that. Thanks to all of our fantastic speakers and attendees for making the trip down to Disney to help make the 2014 Carnegie Conference the best yet! We hope to see you again next year.

Follow Angie on Twitter @AngieMayWard

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