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2021 Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education (Online)

An Online Event for an Industry Evolved

Part of the 2021 Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education Hybrid Experience

In this year of renewal and emergence, colleges and universities are learning to navigate an industry that has evolved to fit a world in flux. Although marketers in higher education are no strangers to rapid change, the past several years have presented a series of challenges that seem unprecedented in both their rapidity and size.

The AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education is your chance to connect with other marketers to forge the path forward. The hybrid format of this year’s conference is designed to meet marketers where they are. With both in-person and online components of the conference, there are multiple ways to engage with the latest higher education content.


A Robust Online Experience

Your time is valuable, so we’re building an experience to help you make connections and learn from peers. Content, case studies and facilitated discussions will focus on equipping you to make an impact on your campus.

What’s Included

  • 2 Keynotes
  • 4 Extended Marketing Sessions
  • 20+ Live Breakout Sessions
  • Virtual Roundtable Discussions
  • Speed Networking Hour
  • Exhibit Hall Access With Online Partners
  • Select Recorded Content from the In-Person Event Plus 2 Additional Live-Stream Keynotes
  • On-Demand Access to All Content

Pricing

AMA Member

Early-Bird (Ends Oct. 8)

$329

Standard

$399

Non-Member

Early-Bird (Ends Oct. 8)

$429

Standard

$499

Want to attend with a group of 3 or more?

Fill out this form at least three business days in advance to get 15% off registration.


Keynote Speakers

Sara Wachter-Boettcher

Author, Speaker, Coach and Founder of Active Voice

Nathan D. Grawe

Author and Distinguished Teaching Professor at Carleton College


Need to Convince Your Boss?

We know budgets are tight and you’re watching every dollar spent. That’s why we’ve created this template to help you show your supervisor the value you’ll get from attending.


In-Person Symposium Option for Director+

If you’re hoping to see your fellow higher education marketers face-to-face, we’re hosting a limited in-person experience in Denver from November 7-9. It’s designed for professionals who are leading teams and developing marketing strategies on their campus who typically have the title of Director or above. Content will focus on more advanced peer-to-peer learning with an emphasis on conversation and collaboration. Attendance is limited to 500 people, and Covid-19 vaccines are required. This online experience is also included with in-person registration.


AMA Event Policies

Virtual Workshop

Marketing for 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 of the Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education.

Tom Hayes

Xavier University

Virtual Workshop

Take a Critical Look at Your Search Engine Marketing Strategy

If your institution utilizes an agency to handle your Search Engine Marketing efforts, then understanding the right questions to ask and the reports you should be looking at can mean the difference between reaching your target audience and wasted ad spend. At UNCG, they uncovered that more than 65% of clicks on Search Ads were coming from queries that contained “UNCG” or “UNC Greensboro”. By restructuring their campaigns into branded campaigns and prospecting campaigns with distinct keywords and negative keywords, they allowed their ad budget to go farther and reach a suspect audience that wasn’t actively searching for UNCG.

Travis Hauer

UNC Greensboro

Virtual Keynote

B. Da'Vida Plummer

Smashing Silos Not Pumpkins

Audience Engagement

Current Students Count: Using Marketing Tactics to Remove Enrollment Stumbling Blocks

When it comes to enrollment marketing, prospective students tend to dominate the conversation. But retention is an essential piece of the enrollment puzzle. What tactics are being used to target current students? In this session, you’ll hear about three marketing initiatives at UNC Greensboro that helped improve the experiences of current students and drive enrollment goals: A multichannel campaign to promote FAFSA completions; an integrated website designed to create a one stop shop experience… virtually; and a set of strategic comms that prevent student holds before they become a barrier.

Katie MacInnes

UNC Greensboro

The New Normal and Beyond

Tik-Tok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts- What Does Dancing Have To Do With Enrollment?

Social media is one of the great influencers across all age groups, but particularly those often found within the higher ed demographic. If universities truly want to stand out with their enrollment messages these days, they must avoid the me-too marketing syndrome that’s evolved over the past decade where every school’s ads and approach start looking and feeling the same. It’s important to at least get a baseline understanding of how to use these social channels to your benefit and start dipping your toes in the water.

Arbazz Niami

Claremont Lincoln University

How the Pandemic Changed Conversation About Higher Ed

As marketers return to campus, you’re tasked with how to make sense of the academic year that was 2020-2021. In this session, join Sonarians Liz and Steve as they share multi-year social listening data from a representative sample of US-based higher education campuses. With industry and marketing insights from before and during the pandemic, you’ll leave this session with the confidence to put pandemic-related metrics in proper context, a contextual understanding of your own campus results compared to the industry overall, and insights that can inform a pitch for a larger marketing investment on your campus.

Steve App

Campus Sonar

Liz Gross

Campus Sonar

Research, Measurement, and ROI

The Manifestation of Social Justice in Marketing Materials

This study was a critical discourse analysis of media produced by higher education institutions. The study aimed to uncover how universities manifest social justice discourses in their marketing efforts. Diversity discourses differentiate from social justice discourses in that they do not explicitly advocate for action that addresses inequities faced by marginalized groups. This study found that diversity discourses were rampant in university marketing websites, though the definitions of diversity were vague. This study also found that social justice discourses were more silent than diversity discourses; additionally, social justice rhetoric often came from the voices of quoted students, not the institution.

Esra Hashem

California State University, Bakersfield

The New Normal and Beyond

The Digital is Now- Making the College Search Acessible

As higher education has grappled with the effects of COVID-19, one reoccurring problem seemed to appear: how do you take the “campus” out of campus visit? Instead of seeing this as a problem, Rice University chose to take this a challenge to build a digital ecosystem that increased access to our content while employing honest and thorough communication strategies that meets students where they are. With a 26% increase in applications, students responded to this increase in accessibility we plan on continuing as a regular part of our strategies – a strategy that is easily replicable for any university.

Neha Agrawal

Rice University

Audience Engagement

Securing and Ensuring Buy-In For Your New Brand

Higher Ed brands used to be articulated by a select few.  Once vetted, these brands were unveiled at a public celebration, replete with free t-shirts and branded snacks.  But, times have changed!  Our audiences increasingly react negatively to surprise reveals and take their dissatisfaction to social media. Even if the “big reveal” doesn’t blow up—it misses the opportunity to invite stakeholders into the change process.  Join us for a lively panel with three marketing experts who have successfully launched new or refreshed university brands. Learn how each created effective socialization processes, leading to universal brand adoption and success.

Alexia Koelling

Lipman Hearne

Marina Cooper

Johns Hopkins University

Jeff McClellan

Brigham Young University

Gabriel Welsch

Dusquesne University

Audience Engagement

Elevating the Online MBA: A New Product Launch

The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business got ahead of their competition by creating the first online MBA program from a top-ten ranked business school, but the program launch faced some significant challenges: low awareness, concerns about online programs among elite candidates and selective admission requirements. Michigan Ross and Gatesman developed a position for the first-to-market program and accompanying campaign to drive awareness, inquiries and ultimately enrollment. This session is a case study on successfully launching a premium – and premium-priced – offering to meet a market opportunity, while navigating significant barriers and staying true to brand values.

Christy Kelly

Gatesman Agency

James Cleaver

University of Michigan Ross School of Business

Brand and Content Strategy

Content Strategy on a Shoestring Budget

Relevant, authentic content is key to attracting students to a degree program and pulling them through the admissions funnel. This presentation will give you a toolkit to develop a content marketing strategy from the ground up with limited resources, starting with journey mapping and persona building. Learn how to authentically connect with prospective students through curated content across multimedia platforms. Finally, hear best practices on how to integrate degree marketing content across your school and university to expand audience and reach, build brand, and meet enrollment goals.

Emma Candelier

University of Virginia School of Data Science

Teresa Mannix

Georgetown University McDonough School of Business

The New Normal and Beyond

Re-Imagining Student Search

Uncovering prospective student leads for the top of college/university recruitment funnels will be more challenging in a test optional environment. Historically, many prospective leads came from two places: test-taker lists (SAT, ACT, GRE, professional school exams, etc.) and in-person recruitment, such as admission counselor travel. These are both now in flux. In this session, we will discuss look-alike modeling and forensic lead generation as crucial student search tactics for the future. We will also explore communication best practices for top-of-funnel audiences at the undergraduate, transfer, graduate/professional and continuing education levels.

Nicholas Balk

enrollmentFUEL

Jay Fedje

enrollmentFUEL

Gregory Chalk

Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Dean College

Iris Godes

Assistant Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions

Research, Measurement and ROI

The State of Digital Marketing in Higher Ed

In 2020, mStoner conducted a survey to help improve higher ed’s understanding of digital marketing services, goals and resource allocation at colleges and universities. We explored how institutions organize themselves for digital marketing, who executes the work, how they fund it, and how they use various platforms.  What did we learn? That there’s tremendous opportunity for digital marketing to grow on campuses across the US.

Daniella Nordin

mStoner, Inc.

Virtual Roundtables

The New Normal and Beyond

What the pandemic taught us about .edu design

The sudden and extreme virtualization of student recruitment brought about by pandemic served as a fascinating
test–and validation–of the role that well-designed .edus play as a hub for recruitment-marketing activity.

This session will focus on three related stories: areas where .edus can match or exceed the impact of in-person recruitment interactions; how the rapid-cycle innovation forced on college websites by the pandemic has laid the groundwork for a more permanent sort of agility; and how .edus serve as a crucial lead-generation tool in the face of reduced standardized testing.

JP LaFlors

EAB

Effective Leadership

Overcoming Pathological Resistance to Change

In a perpetually changing world, marketing communications offices must continually evaluate their approaches to stay competitive. Universities are complex and often subject to arcane rules or cumbersome policies that make these efforts more difficult. One constant we all must tackle is resistance to change. There is good news for leaders trying to change. The Beckhard-Harris change equation (Dissatisfaction + Vision + Concrete Steps > Resistance) can help you overcome the psychological costs of change that keep organizations chained to the past.

Jamie Hunt

Miami University of Ohio

Research, Measurement, and ROI

Knowing What They Want: Findings From a Survey of Prospective Graduate Students

It’s never been more important to understand what today’s graduate students expect from the institutions and programs in which they enroll. The National Student Clearinghouse recently reported healthy YoY graduate student enrollment growth for spring 2021, following similar growth last fall – the two pandemic semesters. Both semesters beat graduate growth from the previous two semesters, implying that the pandemic has had a positive effect on graduate education. This stands in stark contrast to the multi-semester contraction that was reported at the undergraduate level during the pandemic and before.

Scott Jeffe

Ruffalo Noel Levitz

David Cotter

Boston University

Brand and Content Strategy

Redefining Brand Identity in Disruptive Times

Today’s CMOs face many unpredictable disruptions that challenge the brand identities of their institutions. As universities face the challenge of “It’s Not Business as Usual”, university presidents and CMOs are becoming increasingly involved in strategic communication decisions to embrace rapid responses while optimizing resources and protecting their institutions’ brand identities. Challenging mandates demand redefining brand communications to build an agile culture that is responsive to value co-creation with a focus on a better understanding of the emerging expectations of internal and external stakeholders. This presentation offers insights from best practices on how universities are managing brand identity to sustain growth.

Salah Hassan

George Washington University

The New Normal and Beyond

"New Normal" Tactics that Shape Communities of Inspired Learners

As the world faced a growing pandemic, higher education institutions met a consequent challenge: recruiting top candidates without the customary handshakes, résumé hand-offs or business card exchanges that characterized the pre-COVID recruitment experience.  Despite this “new normal”, the Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business’ Marketing and Graduate Enrollment team leveraged its integrated, cross-functional structure to successfully attract a more diverse and robust class profile than ever before. Learn how this team achieved double-digit, year-over-year increases in enrollments across residential programs and attracted its highest numbers of female and underrepresented minority candidates through a truly digital-first approach to higher education marketing-admissions.

Brian Connelly

University of Notre Dame

Maria Strutsman y Marquez

University of Notre Dame

How It's Made

But First, the First P: Creating a Product Category

“Can you promote our program?” This question may sound familiar. As might the answer. Marketing each program individually was not only inefficient but also unrealistic. Further, the question really became about packaging of the programs as compelling products. So, we launched a pilot: In partnership with Admissions, we identified programs that met a certain set of criteria and developed an area of study with a positioning strategy that laddered up to the master brand. Not only did each program see individual success but the effort bolstered overall brand awareness for the university.

Kin Sejpal

Rochester Institute of Technology

John Trierweiler

Rochester Institute of Technology

Effective Leadership

Building a Better Higher Ed Marketing Team

Between April-May 2021 OHO Interactive led a research study to better understand the staffing resources marketing and communication departments have, to capture the current and future states of higher education marketing teams — including roles, skills and capabilities. In this session, we’ll share the survey results, including what new roles departments are hoping to add to their team, what skills they have or plan to add in their department, who the marketing/communications division reports to and much more.

Rachel Senor

OHO Interactive

The New Normal and Beyond

Beyond Okay: Integrating Wellness and Mental Health Into Social Media Marketing and Management

Texas Tech University’s “Beyond Okay” campaign focuses on student wellness in a holistic way as a way to address mental health concerns exasperated by COVID. This session will not only discuss integrating wellness into higher education social media messaging, but will also take the tenants from the campaign a step further to show practitioners how they can also incorporate wellness into their workflow to avoid burnout and focus on mental health.

Ashley Marino

Texas Tech University

Keynote- The Agile College: Navigating Demographic Change

Nathan D. Grawe, author of Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education (2018) and The Agile College (2021), will briefly review recent demographic trends and their implications for higher education. Then, drawing on interviews with higher education leaders, he will share how proactive institutions are attacking demographic challenges through initiatives in recruitment, retention, academic programming and consortial collaboration. In  conclusion, Nathan will draw connections between responses to COVID-19 and adaptations designed to address demographic change.

Nathan Grawe

Ada M. Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professor of Social Sciences and Economics, Carleton College

Nathan Grawe

Ada M. Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professor of Social Sciences and Economics, Carleton College

Dr. Nathan Grawe is the Ada M. Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Carleton College.  He is a labor economist whose work examines intergenerational connections in education and labor market outcomes.  Nathan’s book, Demographics and The Demand for Higher Education (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018) examines how recent demographic shifts are likely to affect demand for higher education.  In a follow-up project, The Agile College (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021), Nathan draws on interviews with higher education leaders to provide examples of how proactive institutions are grappling with demographic change.

Tom Hayes

Xavier University

Travis Hauer

UNC Greensboro

Katie MacInnes

UNC Greensboro

Arbazz Niami

Claremont Lincoln University

JP LaFlors

EAB

Esra Hashem

California State University, Bakersfield

Neha Agrawal

Rice University

Alexia Koelling

Lipman Hearne

Marina Cooper

Johns Hopkins University

Jeff McClellan

Brigham Young University

Gabriel Welsch

Dusquesne University

Christy Kelly

Gatesman Agency

James Cleaver

University of Michigan Ross School of Business

Emma Candelier

University of Virginia School of Data Science

Teresa Mannix

Georgetown University McDonough School of Business

Nicholas Balk

enrollmentFUEL

Jay Fedje

enrollmentFUEL

Daniella Nordin

mStoner, Inc.

Steve App

Campus Sonar

Liz Gross

Campus Sonar

Jamie Hunt

Miami University of Ohio

Scott Jeffe

Ruffalo Noel Levitz

David Cotter

Boston University

Salah Hassan

George Washington University

Brian Connelly

University of Notre Dame

Maria Strutsman y Marquez

University of Notre Dame

Kin Sejpal

Rochester Institute of Technology

John Trierweiler

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rachel Senor

OHO Interactive

Ashley Marino

Texas Tech University

Gregory Chalk

Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Dean College

Iris Godes

Assistant Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions

B. Da'Vida Plummer

2021 Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education (Online)