The 2019 Carnegie Dartlet Conference: A Storyteller’s Wish Upon a Star

Carnegie Higher Ed Jan 31, 2019 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

Incredible content, expert speakers, invaluable networking, fireworks, and Disney…it must be another Carnegie Dartlet Conference!

If Disney World is considered “the happiest place on Earth,” it’s easy for me to say that when it’s combined with the Carnegie Dartlet Conference, it’s one of the happiest times of the year too. For the past eight years, the Carnegie Dartlet Conference has brought marketing experts from around the world to share phenomenal presentations and content with hundreds of higher education professionals. It has served as a unique opportunity for those within higher ed to experience many of the best practices and strategies from marketers outside of the industry but with an approach catered specifically to this audience.

This year was no different, and the lineup of speakers and session topics will be tough to top next year. Without a doubt, one of the main themes that emerged from the conference was the importance of authentic storytelling and ensuring that you’re communicating and promoting your school’s unique personality.

Of course, that’s not all that goes into achieving our goals in today’s social, digital, and high-demand world. Thankfully, there were plenty of valuable takeaways from sessions ranging from conversion optimization to SEO to all sorts of social media know-how.

Any marketing conversation wouldn’t be complete without ensuring you have the data, research, and insights to inform your strategy and decisions as best as possible. This year’s conference highlighted how we can use research to help craft meaningful messaging, what we need to know about Gen Z, and even the impacts of GDPR on your marketing.

There were too many takeaways to count, ranging from critical high-level concepts to very minute tactical tips. Imagine your notepad being filled with this variety of invaluable nuggets:

  • Gen Z prefers face-to-face communication over texting or email.
  • Use multi-step forms on landing pages…get the same amount of info but make it seem easy.
  • Say no to vertical video (unless Snapchat or Instagram).
  • Speak the TRUTH when storytelling: Teach, Reputable Sources, Uniqueness, Tension, Human Connection.
  • We're paying the price now for having terrible mobile sites. Ask yourself: what story do you want to tell with your data?
  • Your brand is the sum of all the stories you tell.
  • 78% of data traffic by 2021 will be video.
  • LinkedIn research shows seven out of 10 in-market leads from all sources enroll elsewhere when not effectively nurtured.
  • Facebook stories are expected to exceed time spent in feed within the next year.
  • Choose and prioritize the right social media platforms for your institution and your audience. Social does not need to be a jack-of-all-trades approach.
  • It’s not about what we want to say; it’s about what people will remember.
  • The average person will scroll the length of a football field on social media in one day!
  • You don’t have to create your brand; it already exists. You need to find it and discover its voice.
  • When collecting information online, you can’t be with your users to hold their hands during the process—you must make it effortless.
  • Adoption of AI is all about ease and convenience. Same as all user experiences—reduce friction, increase success.
  • Innovation is about removing a barrier while building on something familiar and taking it to a different level. 
  • Create STAR moments for your audience: Something They Always Remember.
  • Marketing and communications is all about human connection.

What you see here is just a small percentage of the crazy-cool knowledge shared at the conference. For the lineup of all-star speakers and their sessions, take a look at the jam-packed agenda.

So, what’s the only thing that can cure the blues about the 2019 conference being over? Looking forward to the next conference! Mark your calendars for January 29–30, 2020, and see you at Disney World.

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