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2022 AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education – Virtual Agenda

higher education symposium

Virtual Event Agenda | November 7-8

The 2022 AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education is the go-to conference for higher education professionals to share, network and grow. This annual event is your chance to gather relevant ideas and practices specific to the higher ed industry to enhance your marketing strategy, improve your reputation, achieve enrollment success and more! 

For those unable to join us for the full experience in National Harbor, MD, you can engage with a curated selection of virtual programming. The two-day virtual event will give you great insights into cultivating new thought leadership, as well as a look at the fundamentals and best practices.

Monday, November 7 (All Times in EST)

8:30 – 10:00 a.m.

Higher Ed Marketer of The Year Award Ceremony and Presentation

Live-streamed from the in-person event!

Keynote Presentation

Live-streamed from the in-person event!

Andrew Davis, Marketing & Customer Experience Keynote Speaker & Author

10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Virtual Breakouts:

Creating a Truly Impactful University Brand: A Case Study

A “sea of sameness” plagues university branding.

The session will provide a real-world example and specific steps marketers can take to create a truly differentiating and compelling brand platform for their institution.

VCU’s brand leaders will trace their journey and offer practical steps to create an authentic, differentiating, and flexible brand platform.

Attendees will learn how to engage the right stakeholders at the right time, how to focus their strategy on the characteristics that make their university truly unique, how to strengthen their brand platform at each stage of development, and how to build buy-in and excitement throughout the process.

Carolina Espinal, Virginia Commonwealth University

Grant Heston, Virginia Commonwealth University

Matt Williams, Brand Federation

Designing Effective Events for Higher Ed

As face-to-face gatherings become a reality again and higher ed leaders catch their breath, it’s time to take a step back and look at what we’ve learned with the added benefit of being able to put event goals and audience needs back at the forefront of planning.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand how education institutions, like yours, continue to strengthen event programs with the power of virtual
  • Discover proven ways to increase the reach, impact and ROI of your events across the institution with integrated outreach, engagement, and unmatched virtual event production tools.
  • Learn about improving efficiency and scalability with event technology that combines seamless event management, high-quality video production with sophisticated data insights and reporting.
  • See real-world examples of how colleges and universities have embraced event technology, and where they were successful both before and during the global pandemic

Leslie Alpert, Senior Regional Director, Cvent

Inclusive Hiring: 10 Steps to Improve Your Process

Rethink everything you know about hiring and recruiting! Learn how to overhaul your entire hiring process – from writing the job description, expanding the pool of potential candidates, initial candidate selection, the interview process and through to the final decision. You’ll discover how to identify problematic behaviors, combat bias and make your recruiting and hiring process more inclusive. This session will cover the top 10 action steps to take now, how to implement them, and some of the challenges you may encounter.

Jennifer Roos, University of St. Thomas

Katie Jensen, University of St. Thomas

Wait, Wait…Please Tell Me (About the Best Brand Message Strategy)

When you are preparing to launch a brand project or campaign, are you completely sure that the proof points you convey actually matter to your target audiences? This presentation will review primary research conducted with undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students aimed at finding the gap between what we as brand marketers think is important to convey versus what our target audiences actually care about when selecting an institution.

You will walk away from this session with a wealth of data to ensure your brand messaging resonates with target audiences in the ways that matter to them.

Aaron Blau, VP of Education, Primacy

Grant De Roo, Founder and Principal, ADV Market Research and Consulting

Noon – 2:00 p.m.

Virtual Workshop:

Marketing Higher Education…Real Fast!

This session will take the principles of marketing and apply them to marketing universities and colleges in a whirlwind! The session is content heavy, highly energetic and interactive. It is guaranteed to set the stage and increase learning for newer attendees as they attend the rest of the Symposium.

Tom Hayes, Xavier University

3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Virtual Breakouts:

Reach Every Student: 5 Ways to Make Your Marketing More Inclusive with Accessibility

Inclusion in higher education is not a new idea. In fact, for decades you’ve been tasked with diversifying your student body. While inclusivity is top-of-mind, students with disabilities (1 in 4 US adults) are often overlooked by our digital marketing efforts. This not only excludes prospective students, it’s counterintuitive to your DEI goals. Join this session to learn quick tips to improve the accessibility of your digital marketing and demonstrate to prospective students that your school offers an inclusive experience.

Kelsey Bronski, Perkins School for the Blind

Stealth Website Visitors are Your Biggest Untapped Resource

With shifting demographics and fewer students taking the SAT and ACT, your stealth website visitors are your biggest untapped opportunity for high-quality enrollment leads. Too many recruitment and marketing teams are relying on outdated strategies, forms, and paradigms when trying to collect more RFI submissions from this group. This is causing most institutions to needlessly waste $20,000+ every year. Join Rebecca and Dallin to review new student research that reveals key “moments” in the modern enrollment journey, and learn how Rebecca and her team at York College of Pennsylvania used these insights to increase website lead capture by 300%.

Rebecca Shineman, York College Pennsylvania

Dallin Palmer, HALDA, LLC

The State of the American College Student

Dennis Franczak, CEO of Fuseideas, and Erin Francis-Cummings, President & CEO of Destinations Analysts, will present the findings from their annual national survey of prospective and current college students. In its second year of fielding, this timely research shares critical trends built upon benchmarks
established in 2021, providing insights on students’ personal motivations for choosing an institution, as well as identifying key emotional and behavioral factors impacting students today in a post-pandemic society.

Justin Vogt, Fuseideas

Erin Francis, Destination Analysts

The Enrollment Cliff: How We Start Preparing

We’ve heard about the enrollment cliff and its likely impact on higher education. For her dissertation, Dr. Carrie Phillips researched how marketing strategies might help mitigate this cliff. This session shares findings from visiting with chief marketing officers about how they’re preparing. The session will begin with a high-level overview of the enrollment cliff followed by a deep dive into how marketing strategies might lessen the impact. You’ll hear about the challenges participants face, strategies they’re exploring and best practices to consider. As you’re looking to navigate change at your institution, this session is a great place to start.

Carrie Phillips, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Keynote: Presidents’ Perspectives on the Role of Marketing and Communications in Higher Education

Live-streamed from the in-person event!

More than ever before, presidents are relying on their marketing and communications teams, and especially their senior-most marcom officer, for insights and guidance to navigate the changing and increasing expectations for university leaders. A panel of presidents, moderated by Teresa Valerio Parrot, will discuss what comes next and how marcom can help them achieve their visions for the industry’s future.

The perspectives of these presidents are shaped by the historic firsts each represents. Seth Bodnar, University of Montana, is the first nontraditional president, Reginald DesRoches is Rice University’s first Black and first immigrant president, Vincent Rougeau serves as College of the Holy Cross’s first lay and Black president, and Tania Tetlow was selected as the first lay and woman president for Fordham University.

Seth Bodnar, University of Montana

Reginald DesRoches, Rice University

Vincent Rougeau, Holy Cross

Tania Tetlow, Fordham University

Tuesday, November 8 (All Times in EST)

8:30 – 9:45 a.m.

Keynote: How We Live the Values We Say Within Our Sphere of Influence

Live-streamed from the in-person event!

Is your university living the mission and core values that your teams’ are communicating? Is your diversity statement performative or are you faking it until you make it? Working hard to make it a reality but falling short with no real traction in your diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives?

Culture is under a microscope these days. Students, faculty, staff, donors – they all expect the institutions they support to have values that align with what’s important to them. So how can an institution with so many different stakeholders with different viewpoints and experiences determine when to speak up, when to take a stand, when to make a change or when to do nothing? Join me as I unpack this challenge that institutions are facing all over the country and how to fix it.

Shelley Willingham, The Diversity Movement

10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Virtual Breakouts:

CX Strategy: How to Optimize Your Customer Experience with a Lean Team and a Leaner Budget

Providing the best experience for learners is undoubtedly the top priority for most marketing and student services teams. But with small teams and limited budgets, optimizing CX can be a daunting task for any organization.

Our team has developed a sustainable, in-house approach to CX strategy to better understand our learners, make informed decisions about our programs and solidify a learner-centric culture across our entire organization. In this presentation, we’ll share how we designed creative “hacks” to sophisticated CX methods to chip away at some of our customers’ biggest painpoints and prove how valuable that intentional, strategic effort in CX can be for the entire organization.

Jennifer Gray, Stanford University, Stanford Center for Professional Development and Stanford Online

Sandy Silver, Stanford University, Stanford Center for Professional Development and Stanford Online

Leading a Modern Creative Team

Leading a team of modern creatives can be challenging—but also exciting, fun and motivating. Guiding a team of talented and original professionals to do great work, raise the profile of your institution and provide campus-wide leadership can be incredibly rewarding and position your institution for success. In this session, we’ll review concepts from management experts like Kim Scott (Radical Candor) and Brené Brown (Dare to Lead)—as well as on the job experience—to create a list of actionable items you can implement the second you’re back on campus.

Lindsay Nyquist, Fort Lewis College

Benchmarking Digital Marketing in Higher Ed 2022

In 2020, we conducted a survey to improve higher education’s understanding of digital marketing services and goals at colleges and universities. Now, two years later, we want to know what’s changed. What channels do institutions use to reach key audiences? How much money are they spending on social media? Who’s responsible for strategy and execution? The findings will result in a comprehensive report and webinar. Sign up for early access to the research. You’ll learn:
• How much institutions spend on digital marketing.
• Institutional advertising goals for social media and paid search.
• Where institutions advertise on social media.
• Other interesting insights:influencer marketing, SEO, buyer personas, and email strategy.

Jaime Oleksik, Carnegie

Reducing Digital Engagement Amnesia in Higher Ed

Digital Engagement Amnesia: The repeated engagements that you have with your constituents where you act as though each of those interactions is the first time you’ve engaged with them, even though you’ve been engaging with them you for months, years and sometimes decades. As marketers, we’ve all been guilty of this at some stage. Sending out batch-and-blast email, using static web content, or asking for the same information in a form that you’ve already captured before. It negatively affects how your constituents view your university brand and the outcomes you aim to achieve.

In this session, we’ll explore why the brand message of a University alone can’t overcome Digital Engagement Amnesia, how corporate marketers overcome it, and how marketers in Higher Ed can address it.

Rob Zaebst, Strategic Marketing Industry Advisor, Salesforce

Noon – 2:00 p.m.

Virtual Workshop:

Getting the Most Bang for Your Marketing Buck with Project Management

As Higher Ed Marketers, you have to juggle multiple priorities in multiple media channels from stakeholders across your campus — all while balancing budgets, schedules, scopes, and the quality of the products. How do you ensure you make the most of your and your team’s efforts? How do you reduce the frequency of rework, missed deadlines, and routine last-minute changes? One way to become more efficient and effective is to implement a formalized project management process. In this workshop, led by a higher-ed-marketer-turned-project-management-expert, you’ll learn about the benefits of project management as a discipline, how to avoid common project pitfalls and what to look for in a best-fit project management information system. With this information in hand, you’ll be able to begin transforming your department into a project management powerhouse!

Erik Rueter, American Marketing Association

3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Virtual Breakouts:

The Rise of the Toolkit: Thinking Beyond the Brand Guide to Train Campus Marketers

So, you’ve established an institutional brand. Great! But the challenge that lies ahead is figuring out how to empower communicators and constituents across your campus to understand your brand story and represent it well. Over the past two years, Pace University partnered with Mindpower to bring the Go-Getters brand campaign to life and to launch with a maintenance and manpower mindset. Through a series of toolkits and workshops that go deeper than the standard brand guidelines, we have given our people the tools and training they need to feel confident telling their own stories through the brand lens.

Leila Franchi, AVP Marketing and Communications, University Relations at Pace University

Kristen Everett, Associate Creative Director, Director of Content and Digital at Mindpower Inc

Collect, Connect and Activate: Data is Your Superhero for Growth

Most marketers in higher education know that data is a powerful resource to drive performance. The data typically comes in the form of reports and dashboards, which most often is not automated, requiring a person to pull it together and interpret the individual data points manually. The result is an inability to action, like kryptonite to Superman.

In this talk, we’ll show you how data can be automatically collected and connected to drive action for enrollment attribution, personalization, outreach intelligence, journey analytics and more.

Dan Antonson, Director, Marketing Technology, Collegis

EcoSister: Overcoming Gender Barriers in STEM Fields

Like many universities, Ben-Gurion University faced the difficulty of recruiting female students to STEM fields (particularly Physics, Computer Science and Engineering). To address this challenge, we identified major barriers that hinder women’s participation in STEM fields and tailored a marketing strategy that introduced the “EcoSister” mentoring program accompanied by a digital campaign, in which messages were designed to address these barriers. In this session, we will share the challenges identified among female academic candidates, the marketing plan and the initiative that enabled us to address them and meet student enrollment goals.

Ronny Roitman, Strategy and Marketing Manager, Ben-Gurion University

Sagi Langer, CMO, Ben-Gurion University

Halleli Pinson, Associate Professor, Ben-Gurion University

Uncovering the Attitudes of Today’s Gen X Parents

Bulldozers, lawnmowers, stealth—today’s Gen X parents are both highly influential in the college search and unlike any generation in recent memory. In this session, we’ll unveil the results of a nationwide attitudinal segmentation study examining Gen X parents of college-bound students. You’ll get an up-close look at parents’ attitudes surrounding college choice, their view of parental roles and responsibilities in the decision process, how they’re assessing colleges for value and fit, and who they trust in advising them on these decisions. Attendees will walk away with a deeper understanding of today’s parents and how to engage them more effectively.

Jarrett Smith, Echo Delta

Laura Martin Fedich, Echo Delta

4:15 – 5:15 p.m.

Keynote: Raise Your Game: How to Level Up Your Habits, Mindset and Focus

Live-streamed from the in-person event!

The number one investment you can make is the investment in yourself. To achieve a greater level of success, you must be intentional in developing yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. If you want more, you must become more.

The key to raising your performance and making a meaningful contribution to your institution lies in your ability to work towards mastery of the fundamentals during the Unseen Hours. This will help infuse you with energy and optimism and combat stress and burnout.

This can only be achieved by closing Performance Gaps (the gap between what you know and what you do). In this powerful program, Alan will share practical strategies to help you create better habits, develop a winner’s mindset and refocus your lens on what matters most.

Regardless of title or tenure, you will leave with actionable steps to:

  • Align your habits with your core values and beliefs
  • Heighten your Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
  • Learn to be present in the moment
  • Earn confidence while maintaining humility
  • Manage change and create a process for progress

Alan Stein, Jr., Keynote Speaker, Author and Performance Coach