Thinking like Vegas in Higher Ed: AMA 2019 Recap

Ahh, the sights, the smells, the intensity of winning and losing, the risks, and hopefully, the rewards. That’s what Las Vegas offers us. Did I mention the sights and smells?

More than that, however, Vegas gives marketers the opportunity to see how a 4.2-mile long strip of seemingly identical services and offerings has successfully crafted unique identities and experiences for the gambling and entertainment industry since it was first conceived in the late 1940s. What does that have to do with higher ed? Well, it actually has a lot to do with it. 

Up&Up Giveaways

The higher education landscape is crowded, competitive, and changing—much like Vegas. Our team recently had the opportunity to once again attend AMA’s Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education, held in Las Vegas, and it was one for the books! We found the speakers engaging, the content thought-provoking, and the networking invaluable—and if I do say so myself, the swag was top-notch!

Those of you who also had the pleasure of attending may have left feeling a bit overwhelmed or at a crossroads as to what to do or where to go next. How should you take the knowledge you gained back to your teams and put it into practice? What lies ahead for your institution’s marketing effort? How can you best tackle the coming challenges for next year and beyond?

There were timely and important topics discussed that should also make their way to the halls and conference rooms of your campus as well. Some of these topics include the impending enrollment cliff anticipated by 2025, the changing role of parents and support networks in the college decision making process, answering the needs of your internal leadership and campus clients while still providing quality work, and one outstanding question that we heard many times: “where do I start to define a solution that can be the silver bullet to meet my needs?”

In our experience, a single silver bullet to answer all of your needs rarely exists. Instead, there are ways to easily chip away at your needs to drive maximum results with proper planning and buy-in from your campus.

Throughout the symposium, speakers discussed the need to differentiate your offerings and tell your authentic story. They spoke about your digital assets being tools for experience delivery. They shared insights on how non-traditional students and online programming can help address the coming shortage of college-aged students. At the end of the day, the silver bullet you need in your pocket to address the above lies within the empowerment and buy-in of your marketing and leadership teams.

If we can begin our next year by establishing strong support from our campus stakeholders—administration, admissions staff, college and program-level leadership, student ambassadors, even down to our own teams—we may just find the path of least resistance that enables us to thrive like Vegas.

Remember, embodying the Vegas mentality will help enable us to define what makes our universal offerings stand out. We can identify and own the qualities that make our institutions unique, the outcomes our graduates experience, and the value we provide for future students and their families.

Throughout the coming year, Up&Up will focus on providing content to help you achieve success in all things higher education marketing and branding, but for now, we want to leave you with a few pieces of content to help get those wheels turning for your 2020 plans.

Your Admissions Team: A Key to Marketing Success

The Impact of Storytelling

The Value of an Authentic Brand

Trust Your Team: Great Things Happen When You Do

We have so much more to talk about following this year’s AMA so keep an eye on our blog, subscribe to our newsletter, and be sure to tune into our weekly podcast, Undeclared, as we continue to cover topics from the week in greater detail.

Tell Us What You Think

Were you at AMA? What were your top takeaways? Let us know what you learned!

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