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Higher Education

How to Make College or University Marketing Conferences Worth Your While

Posted by Ruth Sturm on Jul 18, 2017 10:34:00 AM

Trotting off to another college tradeshow? Packing up your booth for the next university marketing convention? No matter the type or setup of your next marketing conference, there are ways you as a higher education marketer can take advantage of the situation both through learning new tricks and engaging with the right consumers for the duration of the event.

Here are four things to keep in mind next time you hit up a higher education conference.

Learn from the Best

This can't be said enough - if you don't have fellow institutions that you emulate in terms of creativity, ability to excite and inspire or engagement, get some. One of the best things about going to a conference for higher education is to see what everyone else is doing - it's not all applicable to your own institution, but it can push you (and those on top holding the budgetary purse strings) to try new tactics and approaches that can yield real results and help you stay competitive. Doing some looky-looing in your free time.

Create an Experience

Particularly when it comes to consumer-facing conferences, conventions and fairs, make the most of your captive audience. Create an experience that makes your particular booth one worth stopping by. It'll boost your visitors and potential leads for post-conference and will challenge you to tell your brand's story in a unique and fascinating way. Your booth experience should employ live demos or testimonials, conversation starters and valuable, informational takeaways in exchange for a business card or an email address. Connections can yield anything from a healthy B2B working relationship to a new outlet for recruiting students in neighboring states.

Get Social

Regardless of the attendee list, social media is key at a higher education conference. If your target consumer base is present, you need to entice and excite them where they're at - social platforms. And if it's a conference for industry types, social can help you reach beyond the confines of a convention center and connect with students interested in your brand and what you're doing off-campus. Make use of any official hashtags, and monitor any buzz around the conference across all your go-to platforms. Take advantage of any potential hotspots of buzz, and relate it back to exciting new developments that future students can look forward to in the world of college and university campuses. 

Nab an Influencer

Every brand has superfans. And among athletics and alumni and arts, colleges and universities are particularly poised for gaining them, whether they're part of the higher education industry or general consumers. It's important to identify and seek out these influencers when you're at a conference or tradeshow. (They're easy to spot - they are likely wearing or grabbing some of your gear and/or taking footage of your booth in the exhibit hall.) Make sure to engage in conversations with these influencers - snap a photo or tweet about your meeting. Making it personal will delight the superfan as well as encourage him or her to share your posts, comment and engage further with your social presences.

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