Marketing and Communications Conference June 2023 Event Recap

Marketing and Communications professionals across Scotland’s college sector and wider tertiary landscape came together in June for their first in-person conference in four years.

Close to the Wallace monument on a sunny day in Stirling, colleagues had the opportunity to reconnect, make new acquaintances and network with college marketing and communications specialists and other professionals with a keen interest in college marketing activities.

A range of fantastic speakers addressed key topics identified by the Marketing and Communications Network, including:

  • Student recruitment
  • Doing more with less
  • Marketing research
  • Video production
  • Cutting edge social media platforms
  • Insights
  • AI in marketing.

Penny Eccles, with her experience of over 20 years behind her in educational marketing and student recruitment, opened with the keynote address. Penny’s fresh approach to problem solving and methods for critically analysing student recruitment methods, provided the opportunity for reviewing marketing decision making in colleges.

With the help of a leaky hosepipe analogy, and a few laughs along the way, Penny energised our appetites for educational marketing. ‘Penny Eccles was great’ featured several times in the post conference survey.

One respondent said:

Took away some really good ideas from Penny’s session around our recruitment looking at how we can better collect data from open days etc.

In times of limited budgets and doing more with less, Antoinette Beekye, showed us just what can be achieved through her pioneering strategies at Waltham Forest College. With her small team, we heard about her student recruitment successes and the power of TikTok for brand recognition.

With a choice between workshops on marketing research provided by Mark Diffley, and video production by Jim Boxall, college teams split themselves in two to hear about top tips on research practice in one room and creating great video clips for social media in the other. One delegate commented:

Video 101 with Jim was great, he was engaging throughout and had some great tops for making people comfortable on camera.

The topic of social media is never far from a marketing conference and again, teams split into two workshops. With platforms and content thoughts, Josh Graham led a session on what Gen-Z are interested in – one delegate told us:

The social media workshop by We Are Hydrogen was pitched perfectly. The learning from this workshop was ideal.

Meanwhile Megan Ellis looked at how to analyse data to inform social media decision making.

With thoughts provoked and minds buzzing, delegates returned to the main function room for the final keynote presentation on AI.

Andrew Dobbie delighted us with an entertaining presentation on the impact of AI for marketing and communications practice. With our eyes opened to the infinite possibilities of ChatGPT, and that our new AI colleague is ready to do any marketing task we ask of it, we drifted away saying our goodbyes to colleagues old, new and virtual…

With 95% of delegates citing the event as excellent or very good at meeting their expectations and 80% rating the knowledge and experience of the presenters, the impact on the practice of college marketing professionals is very high.  But the last word should go to this comment:

This was my first CDN event and I didn’t know what to expect but I was blown away by it. Wonderful.

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