4 Higher Education Conferences for the Digital Marketer

Written by Laura Thrasher on March 3, 2014

Posted in Education

Conferences are an opportunity for higher ed digital marketers to get out of the day-to-day grind and find a fresh outlook. Below are four different higher ed digital marketing conferences—and because we know that not everyone can convince their bosses to approve big budgets, one is an on-demand option. Even though it takes a lot of energy to take notes and eat pastries for eight hours straight, the professional payoff is worth the effort. So find your best business-casual pants that have an elastic waistband and let’s do this!

1. CASE Annual Conference on Marketing and Branding

  • Hosted by: CASE
  • Date: April 30 – May 2, 2014
  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Cost: $1,225 nonmember/$840 member (until March 21); $1,280 nonmember/$895 member 
  • Speakers: Rachel Reuben, Associate Vice President for Marketing Communications at Ithaca College; Andrew Careaga, Director of Communications at Missouri University of Science and Technology; Charlie Melichar, Senior Consultant of Strategic Communications at Marts and Lundy, Inc.; Jason Simon, Vice President and Partner at SimpsonScarborough; and Heather Swain, Vice President for Communications and Brand Strategy at Michigan State University.

What makes this conference worthwhile: This is an intensive conference that takes you all the way from marketing research to implementation. Catering to mid- and senior-level higher ed marketers, it includes sessions on consistent brand identity across the university, getting buy-in from key stakeholders, and structuring the marketing department for optimum efficacy. Instructors focus on the entire brand marketing cycle, from building a brand to making sure it’s being consistently communicated across all channels. But it’s not just about brand-building: the sessions acknowledge that you have to convince university higher-ups that your ideas hold water. If you run a marketing department, this conference will help you cast a new vision and bring your institution along for the ride. 

Follow: @caseconference

2. Social Media Strategy for Higher Education: Beyond the Basics

  • Hosted by: Academic Impressions
  • Date: March 3-5, 2014
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Cost: $1395; register two people and get the third at 50% off
  • Speakers: Keith Hannon, Associate Director of Social Media at Cornell University; Tim Jones, Executive Creative Director at North Carolina State University; Ma’ayan Plaut, Manager of Social Strategy & Projects at Oberlin College; and Jason Simon, Vice President and Partner at SimpsonScarborough.

What makes this conference worthwhile: Because its focus is narrow, this conference helps you develop one thing—a comprehensive social media strategy. But attendees don’t just sit there; during “Working Sessions,” you are encouraged to work on your own marketing plans while instructors are present to discuss your specific concerns or questions. The outcome? You will leave this conference with a concrete social media action plan, not just theories that you aren’t sure know how to apply. Sessions discuss everything from social media analytics to policy creation.

Follow: @academicimpress

3. HighEdWeb

  • Hosted by: Higher Education Web Professionals Association
  • Date: October 19-22, 2014
  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Cost: $725 nonmember/$625 member (until July 31); $850 nonmember/$750 member. Registration opens in April.
  • Speakers: To be announced by June; last year’s high-profile speaker was Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple. Check out the list of sessions from 2013 here

What makes this conference worthwhile: This year, HighEdWeb will offer over 70 presentations, and if last year’s schedule is any indication, topics will include everything from management to programming to accessibility to marketing. And because it’s comparatively affordable, you would be smart to take a team with diverse interests to divide and conquer as many sessions as possible. 

Follow: @highedweb

4. Higher Ed Analytics Conference

  • Hosted by: Higher Ed Experts
  • Date: On-demand webinar
  • Location: Your computer
  • Cost: $400
  • Speakers: Stephanie Hatch Leishman, Social Media and Email Marketing Specialist at MIT; Philippe Taza, Web Analyst at Higher Education Marketing; C. Daniel Chase, Lead Web Administrator at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; Tatjana Salcedo, Web Strategist at the University of Vermont; Rachel Johnson, Web Content Developer at Case Western Reserve University; and more.

What makes this conference worthwhile: If you can’t convince anyone to approve your travel funds, have the conference come to you. This conference boasts twelve 10-20 minute long presentations, which you can watch alone or with your team. And since the talks are all about analytics, you have the opportunity to drill down into topics like key metrics or Twitter analysis.

Follow: @higheredexperts

Other conferences to keep an eye on:
EduWeb Conference

  • Date: August 4-6, 2014
  • Follow: @eduwebconf

American Marketing Association Annual Marketing Conference

  • Date: September 30-October 2, 2014
  • Follow: @AMA_Marketing

What’s your favorite higher ed marketing conference? Did you have a memorable experience at any of the events on the list? Let’s talk in the comments below!

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