Top Thought Leaders in College Marketing Will Lead Unique Discussion of Student Recruitment

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Three of the pioneers in higher education marketing will anchor an open discussion aimed at helping admissions officers better understand where student recruiting is headed and better able to confront the challenges.

We really want to broaden the discussion of where admissions marketing is headed

Three of the giants in college marketing will lead a free-wheeling discussion on the future of student recruiting to kick off the national conference of admissions counselors in Seattle on September 25th.

Entitled "iThink," the two-hour forum will bring together enrollment officers from about 75 colleges around the country. They will first hear a series of declarations and predictions from Brian Niles, Bill Royall and Bob Sevier, three of the pioneers in college recruiting, then have an opportunity to react to the statements and offer their own.

"We really want to broaden the discussion of where admissions marketing is headed," said Niles, CEO of student recruiting company TargetX. "We need to talk about strategic issues facing higher education, not just tactics like whether you should use direct mail or email, or what your publications should look like."

Niles will be joined by Bill Royall, Chairman of Royall & Company, and Bob Sevier, Senior Vice President of Strategy at Stamats Inc. Jeff Kallay, TargetX's Experience Evangelist and one of the industry's most sought after speakers, will serve as moderator and referee to keep the discussion moving.

The event will run from 9 to 11 a.m. on Thursday, September 25, and will be held in Seattle's renowned Central Public Library, just a few blocks from the convention center where the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) will open its annual conference later that morning.

Some of the issues that will be raised by Niles, Royall and Sevier include:

  • College recruiters need to accept the fact that they are in "sales" and that students are "customers."
  • Schools must embrace "authenticity" and not try to be all things to all people.
  • Schools have to design integrated marketing communication systems far more sophisticated than what they have now.
  • Admissions offices must realize that the college choice is typically an emotional one, and spend more energy engaging students and less on relaying facts and figures.
  • Colleges need to rein in spending by outsourcing certain services, tracking where employees spend their time, and other practices common in the business world.
  • Schools have to do a better job of measuring return on investment, particularly when it comes to marketing.

With the expected fall-off in the number of high school graduates, rising costs, fewer financial aid dollars and an audience that prefers electronic communication over traditional media, college recruiters are facing huge challenges, said Niles. "Hopefully, they'll leave this forum with a better idea of where enrollment marketing is headed and with some ideas on how to manage their future," he added.

Brian Niles became CEO of TargetX when he co-founded the company 10 years ago to help colleges use emerging electronic marketing tools. Prior to that, he served for over 15 years in admissions and enrollment management positions and as a consultant for various nonprofit organizations.

Niles is nationally recognized as an interactive marketer and leading authority on electronic recruiting in higher education. He frequently appears as a speaker and workshop leader at conferences around the country and hosts a regular podcast and blog entitled "The Recruiting Revolution." He is a member of the faculty of the Graduate Management Admission Council and the Snowmass Institute.

Bob Sevier has more than 25 years of leadership experience in strategic thinking and planning, integrated and brand marketing, market research and student recruiting. His innovative work has been featured at hundreds of professional conferences as well as in higher education's major marketing publications.

Sevier holds a Ph.D. in policy analysis and higher education administration from The Ohio State University, and he has authored six books on integrated marketing, brand marketing, innovation and strategic planning. After teaching and working as an administrator at Ohio State, Denison University, Mount Vernon Nazarene University and Oregon Health Sciences University, Sevier joined college marketing firm Stamats in 1988.

Bill Royall founded Royall & Company in 1983 to provide direct mail support for nonprofit and political organizations. In 1989, he applied his expertise to the college "student search" process, launching what became his life passion. Over the past two decades, Royall has effectively adapted more and more tools to all facets of the college recruitment process, improving list targeting, incorporating email and online applications and providing email-based research.

An advocate of increasing access to higher education, Royall is advisor to the Virginia Commonwealth University Interactive Marketing Institute and has served on the Board of Visitors of George Mason University.

For more information on the iThink event, visit:
http://www.targetx.com/ithink

To learn more about TargetX:
http://www.targetx.com/

To learn more about Stamats Inc:
http://www.stamats.com/whoweare/history.asp

To learn more about Royall & Company
http://www.royall.com/

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Ray Ulmer
TargetX
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