eduWeb  logoJust returned from a really good few days in Baltimore, Maryland, site of the edu Web Conference. Kudos to the organizer, Shelley Wentzel, for a job well done. Needless to say, I was inspired by the dedication and enthusiasm of the presenters and the attendees. There is something very special about my colleagues who work ‘the web’ in an ‘.edu’ environment: a dedication to teamwork; a willingness to cross borders, shake hands and share valuable information with sibling institutions; a sense of working together towards a similar goal; pride in accomplishing much within the constraints of often small departments, limited budgets and slow-moving .edu beauraucracies.

Notable presentations: Michael Dame, Director of Web Communications at Virginia Tech, delivered a moving and awe-inspiring account of the dark days during and after the campus shootings.

Andy Mrozkowski from Mars Hill College shared insights (and source code) about Flash Video for higher ed. He gave a brief overview of suggested equipment, workflow and programming tidbits.

Penny Bouman, Manager of Enrollment Publication and Communications, and Craig Westman, Interim Dean of Enrollment Services, Ferris State University offered insights into the new generation of college applicants by asking “Do U YouTube?”. They highlighted their approach to Social Networking and demonstrated how it has and impact on recruiting and marketing a university or college. The “Lan Party” idea was brilliant!

Sharaf Atakhanov, Senior Media Developer at Temple University offered usefull tips on launching Email Campaigns That Work. He offered examples of both usability and legal pitfals to avoid when developing an email campaign. He stressed the concept that ‘less is more’. You can download his presentation as well.

Jeff Kalay, an ‘experience evangelist’ from the TargetX team gave an entertaining and eye-opening closing speech on selling the “.edu experience”, the special keepsake .edu memory, as marketing via the web. What will your prospectives take to heart and remember?  He used Starbucks  as and example of one corporation which has successfully sold us an experience that we gladly share by word-of-mouth. Starbucks rarely advertises, yet it continues to grow. He asked us all to try and remember our happiest Disneyworld experience. A few in the audience did share with us: that memory, that recollection, that happy place we return to so many years past … that is the experience we were sold and the one that stayed with us. Jeff asked: how can .edu’s take prospectives into that engaging place? Bottom line: The experience IS the marketing. I found it to be a very clever idea.

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