GMAC 2017 Conference Recap

Day 1: Knowing Your Audience

Yesterday our media partner, Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), a non-profit graduate school organization, kicked off their annual conference in the vibrant city of San Francisco. Before diving deep into the conference at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, our team flew in Tuesday morning to hit all of the tourist spots. We visited all the staples ‒ the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and Alcatraz. We may have sung with the sea lions at Pier 39 and taken a cable car or two.

San Francisco landmarks

As GMACs media partner, we were invited to share our perspectives and co-present at the first pre-conference workshop, “Fostering Engaged Prospects Through Digital and Social Media: How to Get and Keep Their Attention.” We joined hundreds of business school leaders from different marketing and admissions departments, and witnessed their passion, curiosity and commitment to bringing value back to their institutions. Interestingly enough, the topics that we discussed in the early morning session continued to surface throughout the day.

student on screen

A few of these included:

  • Social Media - What channels are best? When to post? Is Facebook a strong channel for driving prospective students?
  • Content Strategy - What content resonates with the audience?
  • Resourcing and Focus - How do you create an effective program with limited teams and resources?

After connecting with over 50 marketers, we noticed that all of them are looking for tips and tools to grow their programs. Based on a few key topics that recurred in each discussion, here are a few pointers that marketers can use to supplement and improve their programs:

  • Social media is a very strong channel for marketing and admissions. Think beyond a spray and pray approach. Keep in mind, 78 percent of social media usage in the 18-34 segment is done on mobile - this insight should drive the content that marketers produce. Think through the day-in-the-life of your target audience and serve appropriate content on the most appropriate platform at the most optimal time.

  • Timing is everything. Each segment of the audience needs to be messaged to at the right time on the right channel, based on what stage they are in the funnel. Stop pushing a hard sell and application completion if the prospect is in the awareness or consideration stage. Identify, nurture and engage those prospects. We’ve seen some of the best successes through engagement and two-way communication.

Any thoughts? Any chance you’re in town?

Come see us at Booth 42 in the Expo Hall. Our president, Mike, will be wearing his white seersucker blazer!

Mike Kapetanovic

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