Graduate Enrollment Management: Building Your Integrated Marketing and Communications Strategy

Graduate Enrollment Management: Building Your Integrated Marketing and Communications Strategy

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Are you putting enough strategy behind your recruitment marketing tactics?

Join us for a hands-on, active learning conference that has been specifically designed to help graduate enrollment management professionals take their recruitment marketing strategies to the next level. During this training, you will spend time workshopping and developing your own integrated marketing and communications strategy by delving into its core components:

  • Brand-building and messaging for graduate programs
  • Identifying and understanding your audience(s)
  • Determining communication channels (e.g., web, email, digital advertising, and print)

We ask that participants come prepared with a specific program in mind. Throughout the conference, you will be given ample time to discuss your current practices with peers, share best practices, and develop new ideas based on what has worked well for others. You will also see a variety of examples of the ways other institutions are successfully using these tactics to further their own graduate enrollment efforts.

This program will provide attendees a content-rich experience, full of examples, strategies, and best practices. Our instructors will be accessible and available, ready to answer questions and provide feedback, and ultimately ensure that you’re distilling what’s most relevant for your institution. You’ll leave with the bones of a communications plan for your program.


Come Prepared with a Program, Your Laptop, and Marketing Materials

You will have plenty of time to begin building your program plan, workshop your marketing materials, and hone your graduate marketing strategy. We recommend that you bring digital and print recruitment materials with you so that you can share and workshop them with your peers. To participate effectively in the activities and working sessions we have set up, you will also need to bring your laptop with you.


Full-Day Pre-Conference Workshop: Conducting Market Research for New Graduate Programs

Join us for this workshop to learn about open data sources that can help you conduct market research through establishing degree awareness, assessing job market demand, and performing competitive scans at the local, regional, national, and international levels. You will participate in a hands-on activity in which you will use and become familiar with the tools introduced. You will leave the workshop better able to conduct market research for your own new graduate programs.


Who Should Attend

We encourage you to attend the conference in an institutional team that includes representatives from Enrollment Management/Admissions, Marketing, and/or Academic Affairs. Faculty members who don’t get additional support to market their own graduate programs will gain strategies and tools to meaningfully impact enrollment goals.

The content presented at this event will be scalable and applicable to all institutions— no matter the size of your operations or resources. You’ll gain ideas and inspiration for adapting these strategies to your own institutional context.


Bring your team and save!

Save over 15% when you register three or more colleagues.

“This conference provided a well-rounded, deep-dive look into the topic advertised. The credible speakers added a great value and were very knowledgeable. The best part is that it was smaller in scale, so there was an opportunity to craft the sessions to best fit our needs.”

- Allison Ruppino, Director for Continuing and Professional Education, Stevens Institute of Technology

“This conference hit on many important topics and I learned many beneficial tips, ideas, and best practices to take with me. I also was able to expand my professional network and make some truly impressive connections!”

- Kristen Murdoch, Graduate Admissions Advisor, Stevens Institute of Technology

“Flew all the way across continents and the conference was no disappointment! Very focused, dynamic, and wonderful. Professional eye opened to duties that impact your everyday workday. Thank you, Academic Impressions!”

- Yasmine Ibrahim, Senior Officer of Recruitment, The American University in Cairo

“As my first training conference, this experience left me motivated and eager to get back to work to share what I learned and how it can improve our marketing strategies.”

- Brittany Pervorse, Communications Coordinator, University of Redlands

“This conference is a great mix of strategy and tactics specific to graduate enrollment. The idea sharing with colleagues is well-worth the cost.”

- Rachel Caracci, Associate Director, Graduate School, Illinois State University

Full-Day Pre-Conference Workshop: Conducting Market Research for New Graduate Programs
8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Your registration includes access to the sessions below and materials, breakfast, lunch, and refreshments on Wednesday.



Registration, Welcome, and Opening Activity

We’ll begin this workshop thinking about the current “state of affairs” in your school or department when it comes to a) generating ideas for and proposing new graduate programs, b) conducting market research and feasibility studies, and c) launching new graduate programs.



Making the Case for Programs at the Graduate Level

Our instructors will cover the following key points to set the stage for the rest of the workshop:

  • Why develop new graduate programs?
  • Who are the key players?
  • How do other institutions conduct their program proposal processes?
  • What should an academic program business plan look like?
  • What should be the role of revenue and enrollment projections in the process?



Conducting Effective Market Research at the Graduate Level

Our focus here will be on best practices in market research for new graduate programs to determine their viability. We will discuss competitive scanning and demand analysis as well as how these tools and others should be used within the new program ideation and proposal process.



Working Time Pt. 1: Conducting Market Research

You will break into groups based on region and/or program type, and you’ll be given a hypothetical graduate degree program. Your group will apply the market research sources and sites introduced earlier in the day to make a data-based recommendation about the viability of the program. Instructors will be available for questions and guidance.



Job Market Demand, Demand Analysis, and Competitive Scanning

We will introduce sources to help you focus on the following aspects of the market research process:

  • Assessing job market demand by state/region/country
  • Performing a demand analysis
  • Competitive scanning, both locally and internationally



Working Time Pt. 2: Conducting Market Research

Here you will continue on with the hands-on market research activity using the hypothetical graduate degree program that was introduced earlier in the day. Groups will be asked to report out regarding their findings to bring the activity full-circle.



Main Conference
Day One
8:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Your registration includes access to all sessions below and materials, breakfast, lunch, and access to the networking reception on Thursday, breakfast and lunch on Friday, as well as refreshments and snacks throughout the conference.



Building a Framework for Graduate Marketing and Recruitment: Where Are You Now?

This opening session will set the stage for the rest of our conference by providing a high-level overview of key components to consider while building your graduate marketing and recruitment strategy. You will have time to reflect on what you currently do in terms of marketing and communication as well as work with your peers to identify goals for the conference. You are invited to bring examples of print and digital materials you are using to evaluate and receive peer feedback.



Brand-Building and Messaging for Graduate Programs (includes activity)

Focusing on the role of your brand, we will explore the ways in which the graduate brand is both connected to and distinct from the institutional parent brand. You will see examples of how other institutions are using various internal and external partners and strategically equipping them with the information they need to be brand ambassadors. You will complete an activity to help you reflect on your current brand and identify areas for further development or clarification.



Align Your Messaging: Understanding Your Audience and Channels

Now that you understand what you want to communicate about your brand, it is time to identify who you want to target in your messaging. You must know who your audience is and what they need in order to maximize the impact of your marketing and recruitment plan. During this session, we’ll show you how you can use personas and lead scoring to identify which channels (digital and print) you want to focus on as you build out an intentional integrated marketing plan.



Working Time Part 1: Building your own Communication Plan

You will use what you learned during the previous sessions to begin building out your own communication plan for the program you are focusing on. You are also invited to bring your own marketing materials to be reviewed by peers at this time.



Maximizing the Effectiveness of Email Marketing and CRMs

Email marketing is one of the best way to get your messages out to your intended audience. We will focus on maximizing the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy to promote your graduate programs. We will also walk through the process of identifying content to include message frequency and segmenting your audience to improve engagement. You are invited to bring examples of emails you are using to evaluate and receive peer feedback.


Networking Reception

This informal reception is your chance to decompress, have some refreshments on us, and expand your network of connections. Our programs are intentionally designed for smaller groups, so this is a great time to catch-up with attendees and speakers whom you may not have connected with yet.


Day Two
8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


Tactics to Strengthen Your Website & Analytics

In addition to email marketing, one of your greatest digital marketing tools is your website. We will focus on tactics and strategies that can improve your current graduate program pages, and apply analytics to gain insights and further refine strategy. Using real examples from a variety of institutions, special attention will be paid to:

  • Inquiry forms and capturing data
  • Driving traffic to key pages
  • Using storytelling to create compelling content



Website Activity

Attendees will choose a partner from a different institution and, using a set of guiding questions, share impressions of one another's websites. The goal is to hear an objective opinion of your own website and to gain ideas and inspiration from your partner's site.



Scenario Activity

This interactive session will breakdown how to use the key components you have explored throughout the conference (i.e., brand messaging, audience, and channels) to create an effective, nimble integrated marketing plan to recruit graduate students. Our expert facilitators will demonstrate how they use the framework you have been building to create dynamic plans in real time.



Working Time: Building your own Communication Plan

You will use what you learned in the previous sessions to begin building out your own communication plan for the program you are focusing on.



Tying It All Together: Small Consultation/Working Groups

Now that you have begun crafting your own plan, you will have some time self-select into two of three small working groups to focus in on tactical pieces of strategy that you would like to explore further:

  • CRM and Email Strategy
  • Digital Tactics
  • Brand Messaging and Personas

Each of our three presenters will be focusing in on a tactical area to explore during this time. Within your small groups, you will be able to ask questions and brainstorm with your peers and one of our expert facilitators.



Chris Connor

Assistant Dean and Chief Enrollment Officer for Graduate Education, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University at Buffalo

Chris is an instructor for the full-day workshop.

Chris’s experience includes leadership roles in undergraduate and graduate education both from an institutional and academic unit perspective. He focuses strategically on new program development, international and domestic recruitment, enrollment planning, diversity programs, and graduate student professional development.

Read Chris's full bio here.

Gacnik, Julie

Julie Gacnik

Independent Consultant

Julie is an experienced professional in higher education with emphasis in enrollment, marketing and data-integration for process improvement strategies. Her knowledge includes organizational change, data and economic insights, graduate enrollment, marketing and communications, CRM implementation, and online vendor relations.

Read Julie's full bio here.

hanscom, Hanscom 2018

Marcus Hanscom

Director of Graduate Admission, Roger Williams University

Marcus Hanscom is an established marketing and enrollment management professional and consultant, having served in a variety of roles working with undergraduate and graduate students for more than ten years. In his current position, he helped facilitate double-digit percentage gains in prospects, applicants, and enrollments in his first full admission cycle in 2016.

Read Marcus' full bio here.


Joshua LaFave

Director of Graduate Business Programs, Clarkson University

Josh is an instructor for the full-day workshop.

Joshua LaFave’s experience over the past 10+ years has included a comprehensive canvas of Graduate Enrollment Management functions. His research on Graduate Enrollment Management includes the adoption of the integrated interdependence model in GEM, working definitions, the four “O’s” of student services, and holistic strategic enrollment management planning.

Read Joshua's full bio here.


Eric Nissen

Associate Director, Marketing and eCommunications, University of Colorado Colorado Springs

With over ten years of experience in higher education student recruitment, marketing, and communication, Eric provides strategic and tactical support for central campus marketing, as well as the academic colleges, programs and departmental offices. He coordinates marketing initiatives, including communication, recruitment, advertising, and outreach, and is the primary liaison for the CU system's eCommunication initiative.

Read Eric's full bio here.

Questions About the Event?

Kate Poisson
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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