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Five 2017 AMA Higher Ed Sessions I Can’t Wait to Attend

AMA Higher Ed is one of the largest higher education conferences of the year. Here are the top 5 sessions I'm excited to attend at AMA Higher Ed 2017.

eCity Interactive
eCity Interactive

On November 12, American Marketing Association’s Symposium for Marketing in Higher Education invades Atlanta. AMA Higher Ed is one of the largest higher education conferences of the year, with over 1,200 administrators in attendance. Last year, this conference took place in the middle of an eCity office move and I missed out. But this year, I am Georgia-bound and pumped.

While I’m looking forward to meeting some of my closest Twitter contacts in real life, professional development is the name of the game when it comes to conferences, and that means sessions. With six different session tracks covering everything from branding, content strategy, MarTech, and more, building my AMA Higher Ed game plan was no easy task. But through careful planning and of course coffee, I was able to select the top five sessions I’m looking forward to attending.

A quick note about the sessions included below. I didn’t list any of the extended marketing sessions or keynote addresses, as these sessions are available to all attendees without competition. Rather, this post is about sifting through the impressive variety of breakout sessions, which run concurrently with other sessions and thus force you to make some tough decisions.

AMA Higher Ed 2017

Session 1: Get in the Game: How Content Marketing Scored Siena College More Qualified Apps


When It’s Happening: Monday, November 13, 2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

What It’s About: When Siena College got in the game of content marketing, we quickly realized: there’s much more to this buzzword than just creating content and hoping it gets read. Learn the five content marketing tactics we implemented from the start that boosted inquiries, applications, and deposits.


  • Ned Jones, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Siena College
  • Melissa Fiorenza, Senior Editor, CCA
  • Daniel Kehn, Vice President Strategy and Marketing, CCA
  • Allison Turcio, Director of Digital Recruitment, Siena College

Why I’m excited: If you’ve read any of my work for eCity Interactive or follow me on Twitter, you know I’m a huge proponent of inbound and content marketing in higher education. But for many schools and colleges, this marketing tactic is often perceived as a better fit for B2B organizations. That’s why I’m looking forward to hearing what helped Siena College make the leap and the results they’ve experienced as a result.

Session 2: The Future Student


When It’s Happening: Monday, November 13, 10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

What It’s About: Gen-Z is leaving the nest. Many have headed off to college, leaving university administrators wondering: what makes Gen-Z tick? At the University of Cincinnati we have dug deep into the hearts, minds and desires of Gen-Zers to discover who they are, what they crave and how they approach education.


  • Nicole Ziady, Assistant Vice President, Marketing and Digital Communications, University of Cincinnati

Why I’m Excited: I am a firm believer that user research is at the center of any successful marketing strategy or campaign, and I love hearing from other professionals who feel the same way. In this session, I’m less concerned with the takeaways about Gen-Z, and more excited to learn about the process Nicole and her team at the University of Cincinnati used to gain their insights about Gen-Z.

Session 3: Engaging Audiences: Inbound Marketing – Increasing Enrollment without Increasing Budget


When It’s Happening: Tuesday, November 14, 10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

What It’s About: We can no longer expect to see enrollment marketing success by simply yelling and screaming until prospective students choose our institution. Instead, we need to work smarter to put content that solves student’s problems in the places where they are already looking for answers.


  • Alli Matson, Inbound Growth Specialist, Hubspot Inc
  • Jennifer Petty, Content Strategist, Univ. of Wyoming’s Institutional Marketing and Communications Group

Why I’m Excited: HubSpot can be an incredibly powerful resource for schools and colleges. With a free CRM, robust marketing automation features, and easy user interface, it’s ideal for an industry where small budgets and small teams are the norm. In this session, I’m looking forward to seeing how Jennifer and her team at Wyoming are using HubSpot to execute their inbound marketing strategy.

Session 4: Grad Recruiting on a Budget: How to Save Time, Money and Attract your Best Applicant Pool Yet


When It’s Happening: Tuesday, November 14, 1:45 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

What It’s About: Graduate students are critical to the success of universities, yet resources devoted to recruiting them are minimal. This presentation will share insights gathered over three years at the University of Nevada, Reno to develop graduate recruiting processes flexible enough for diverse programs while still being scalable on small budgets.


  • Michael Brown, Dir. of Digital Marketing, Office of Marketing and Communications, University of Nevada, Reno
  • Jennifer Shelton, Web Specialist, University of Nevada, Reno
  • Kirstin Swagman, Marketing Communications Specialist, College of Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno

Why I’m Excited: Before joining eCity Interactive, I spent seven years at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, and as I’m sure these speakers will attest, graduate recruiting is just different. Generally, I’ve found that grad students are less concerned about soft selling points like campus living and cultural fit and more concerned with hard metrics, like tuition and career statistics. I’m looking forward to hearing if the University of Nevada Reno has found the same.

Session 5: Mythbusting Marketing: What Pieces of Your Marketing Mix Impact Student Decisions and Awareness


When It’s Happening: Monday, November 13, 3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

What It’s About: What do you believe to be the best channels for boosting visibility among prospective teen students and encouraging them to apply to your institution? Our research reveals what teens really pay attention to and what’s most important to them and when — and what marketers know about their likes and dislikes.


  • Gil Rogers, Director of Marketing, NRCCUA
  • Michael Stoner, Co-founder/President, mStoner

Why I’m Excited: I haven’t met Gil Rogers in person yet, but he’s on my list of Twitter contacts to finally connect with. This session makes the cut for other reasons though. I’m a big fan of Gil’s work and have heard incredible things about this joint research project with mStoner.

Welp, there you have it. Five sessions that I can’t wait to attend. Throw in the impressive keynote and expanded marketing sessions, and Atlanta promises to be chock-full of learning.

What are you looking forward to at AMA? Shoot me a message on Twitter at @stephenapp and let me know. Not able to make it to Atlanta? Aside from my typical tweeting, I’ll be taking over the @eCityInteract Twitter handle with my colleague Kiersten Brinkos. We’ll be sharing conference insights, behind-the-scenes photos, and travel selfies. It’s a Twitter takeover you don’t want to miss.

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