Getting ready for Day 2 of the three-day CASE Communications, Marketing and Technology Conference in San Diego. In a previous post, I mentioned that today would be my “sponge day” — my chance to site back and absorb a lot of stuff, since I wouldn’t be presenting — but plans have changed. The student panel we were to have fell through, so instead all of the breakout sessions will be repeated during that time. Which is a good alternative, as it gives attendees to attend all three sessions if they wish. (Or, as will likely happen tomorrow, a chance to blow off early from the conference and spend some time exploring San Diego.) So, it’s turned into a working day again, but that’s cool.
Day 1 take-aways
Opening keynote: “What You Need to Know About Today’s College-Bound Teens” (Fritz McDonald, creative director, Stamats). This was a thorough review of conclusions drawn from Stamats’ 2007 TeensTALK study on the attitudes, lifestyles, trends, etc., of this market segment. McDonald covered a lot of territory here, much of familiar to anyone in college/university marketing — about what millennials expect from their college experience, their life aspirations, etc. For the admissions folks at the conference, it was probably just a rehash. But I thought it gave us a good starting point for our discussions about technology and marketing, since college-bound teens have never known a world without so much of our technology (and so much marketing). But what stood out to me most were these tidbits:
- High school sophomores are already preparing for college — and in a pretty sophisticated way. For instance, 47 percent say they’ve already decided where they’re going for college. So if we’re trying to recruit high school juniors and seniors, nearly half of them have already made up their minds. We need to make contact with them much earlier than we have in the past.
- The campus visit is crucial — but they don’t really want to spend a lot of time with the admissions staff. Let them meet and talk to students. Also: don’t oversell. These kids have grown up saturated with marketing messages, and their crap detectors are pretty sensitive. Let the experience of the campus visit sell the place for you.
- Word of mouth rules. Teens still rely on word-of-mouth recommendations from family members, peers, teachers, etc.
- Online, it’s all about search and social networks. But we already knew that, right?
“Building Online Communities” (Tim O’Keeffe, Colgate University). No report. Paul and I missed this one as we were working with the IT guy to get Internet access for our breakout room. I’m hoping one of the other presenters will send me a report to post here. (Or any other conference-goer who would like to post a blog here, email me at andrew DOT careaga AT gmail DOT com.)
“Exploration of the Uses (and Misuses) of Flash in Higher Ed” (Casey Paquet, Eckerd College). Entertaining but with some substance. Paquet presented some examples of Flash campaigns, some pros and cons of Flash, and some alternatives. Paquet brings an interesting perspective, having worked in PR and web development as a freelancer and in the gaming industry. His point that higher ed is always about six years behind the curve in terms of PR, marketing and web development is spot-on, but I think he’s being generous. Some of us are more like eight to 10 years behind the curve.
Some of the examples of Flash usage in higher education that Paquet shared (view and decide for yourself whether they work or not):
Eckerd’s holiday e-card, a clever JibJabish approach featuring the college president and the web dudes (Paquet and his two colleagues).
Ben and John, from Franklin & Marshall College.
Kettering’s clever stick-figure School Daze series.
William Woods College’s Got Duck? campaign.
Paquet ended with a list of good and bad uses of flash.
First, the positives. Flash is good for:
- multimedia content (such as YouTube, flash-based video)
- entertaining people
- building a mini-site
- appealing to emotion
Flash is not so good for:
- core navigation — not only is it “a pain in the butt to maintain” but it is rife with accessibility and usability challenges
- displaying important information
- building an entire site