Highlights from the InsightsEDU 2024 Conference

By: Jesse Homan Mar 01, 2024

Highlights from the InsightsEDU 2024 Conference

The buzz was palpable at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel in February as hundreds of higher education marketing, enrollment management, and leadership professionals gathered for InsightsEDU 2024. This premier conference, dedicated solely to the success of career-ready learners in online programs, offered a dynamic forum for attendees to share best practices, exchange ideas, and gain invaluable insights to stay ahead of the ever-evolving landscape of higher education and workforce trends.

For the dedicated professionals who guide and support career-focused adult learners, InsightsEDU provides a powerful platform to learn the latest strategies and gain the knowledge needed to navigate the changing tides of higher education. This year’s conference was no exception, leaving attendees equipped with actionable takeaways and a renewed sense of purpose in their mission to empower adult learners to thrive in the dynamic workforce.

Themes that Resonated with InsightsEDU Attendees

These passionate discussions yielded rich takeaways, illuminating key themes that will shape the future of higher education and empower you to better serve working adult learners. Let’s delve into some of the most impactful insights:

  • Understanding the Evolving Online Student: The Online College Students Report 2024 provided valuable insights into the factors influencing online learners’ school choice decisions. These insights are crucial for institutions to attract and retain this growing student population.
  • Leading and Adapting to Change: Participants discussed strategies for navigating the rapid pace of change in the higher education landscape, including methods to keep teams engaged, respond to evolving employer needs, and adapt the curriculum to meet emerging workforce demands, such as the integration of AI skills.
  • Crafting a Compelling Student Journey: Discussions emphasized the importance of a full-funnel approach to student marketing, where every stage seamlessly connects to maximize enrollment potential. Engaging students throughout their research journey, utilizing effective marketing channels, and incorporating the “student voice” across all communication efforts were highlighted as key strategies.
  • Harnessing the Power of AI in Enrollment: The evolving landscape of online higher education and the potential of AI-powered tools were explored. These tools can personalize the student journey, predict potential students, and automate tasks, allowing institutions to optimize their enrollment efforts.

From valuable insights to inspiring voices, InsightsEDU 2024 was packed with thought leaders who left a lasting impact. Let’s spotlight some of the speakers who energized the conference.

Speakers Who Inspired Us

InsightsEDU wasn’t just about gaining knowledge; it was about igniting inspiration. Here are a few of the speakers who left a lasting impact:

Leveraging People and Technology in Multi-Channel Engagement

Dr. Chris Gilmore is dressed in a burnt orange blazer speaking on multi-channel engagement strategies to craft a seamless student experience. Dr. Tom Green from Salesforce stands behind a table offering additional insights.

Chris Gilmore, VP of Enrollment Management at EducationDynamics, and Dr. Tom Green, Strategic Enrollment Management Director at Salesforce, emphasized the critical role of human expertise alongside technology in crafting a seamless student experience. Their presentation highlighted the evolution of chatbots as a self-service tool, culminating in the potential of AI-powered chatbots that can understand complex conversations, authenticate identities, and answer student-specific inquiries using real data. This underscores the importance of not only investing in technology but also in people who can leverage it effectively.

Attention Analytics: Introducing a New Way to Measure Your Upper Funnel Impact in Higher Ed Student Recruitment

Lora Polich, Director of Awareness Marketing at EducationDynamics is speaking to an audience who is off camera. She is gesturing to herself as she holds a presentation remote control

Lora Polich, Director of Awareness Marketing at EducationDynamics, and Cassie Musfeldt, Senior Director at MiQ Digital, introduced the concept of Attention Analytics in the context of programmatic/awareness marketing. This innovative approach goes beyond traditional metrics like impressions and clicks to quantify how well users actually see, read, and hear an ad. By prioritizing human interaction over technical aspects, Attention Analytics enables institutions to identify high-quality media, optimize campaigns for stronger results, and justify media spending. By leveraging these insights, institutions can make data-driven decisions and reach prospective students with greater effectiveness.

Building an “Amazon-like” Experience in Higher Education

Mickey Baines shed light on Amazon’s customer-centric approach, highlighting three core pillars that underpin their success: selection, convenience, and price. He discussed how these principles translate into creating a “student-obsessed culture” in higher education. Institutions that prioritize program diversity, user-friendliness, and affordability are well-positioned to foster student satisfaction and build lasting relationships. These insights inspire us to prioritize the student experience and continuously work towards exceeding their expectations.

Beyond the Stage

The energy at InsightsEDU wasn’t just confined to the conference halls. In a unique twist, attendees had the opportunity to witness live podcasting magic with Dr. Joe Sallustio, co-founder and host of The EdUp Experience. The atmosphere was electric, a blend of witty banter and insightful dialogue. Dr. Sallustio, radiating warmth and wit, took to the stage (or booth), ready to delve into engaging conversations with esteemed guests like Brent Fitch, President of Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, Dr. Valora Richardson, Director of Digital Solutions & Innovation at UNCF, Dr. Jaime Brownlee-Turgeon, Vice Provost of Operations at Point Loma Nazarene University and more.

His signature playful approach, complete with well-timed sound effects and humorous commentary, transformed the atmosphere into an electrifying learning space. Whether he was posing insightful questions or fostering thought-provoking discussions, Dr. Sallustio’s genuine connection with his guests and the audience created a space where complex topics felt accessible and engaging.

The buzz of live podcasting wasn’t the only highlight of InsightsEDU. The conference also fostered a powerful sense of community and collaboration, reminding us that progress happens when we work together.

Joe Sallustio is sitting at a recording station recording a live session of  The EdUp Experience Podcast at InsightsEDU. They are in front of a EducationDynamics wall art. Co-founder Elvin Freytes is also at the recording table monitoring sounds on a laptop.

Connections that Matter

While technology and innovation were central themes, InsightsEDU underscored a core truth: the success of higher education lies in human connection. The event provided a space where professionals from diverse backgrounds and institutions could share ideas, learn from one another, and forge valuable relationships. Testimonials from attendees like those you’ve shared highlight the sense of inspiration and renewed purpose that emerged from these interactions.

The opportunity to network, collaborate, and even participate in panel discussions fueled a sense of belonging within a community committed to student success. Professionals returned to their institutions energized by shared challenges, fresh ideas, and the knowledge that they weren’t tackling the evolving landscape of higher education alone.

This ripple effect is where the true impact of InsightsEDU lies. The connections made, discussions had, and insights shared extend far beyond the conference halls. They have the potential to spark new initiatives, improve the student experience, and ultimately shape the future of education for the better.

InsightsEDU attendees are grouped together on the Skyline Terrace in Phoenix, AZ. They have their arms over each other's shoulders and have market lights, a header and other conference attendees behind them.

Join Us Next Year in New Orleans

The energy and inspiration you experienced at InsightsEDU 2024 is just the beginning. Mark your calendars for February 12-14, 2025, as we gather at the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans for InsightsEDU 2025. This premier conference promises to be bigger and better, offering even more opportunities to stay informed, connect with your community, and discover innovative strategies for success. The collaboration and networking opportunities are just a few of the benefits of attending.

Stay connected! Follow us on social media and check out our website for updates on InsightsEDU 2025 in New Orleans,

Save the Date: InsightsEDU 2025

InsightsEDU 2024 was a resounding success, bringing together passionate professionals dedicated to empowering adult learners. From insightful presentations and thought-provoking discussions to inspiring connections and a shared sense of purpose, the conference offered a wealth of knowledge and valuable takeaways.

InsightsEDU’s influence extends far beyond the conference, shaping the future of education through lasting connections, shared knowledge, and a spirit of collaboration.

Ready to join the movement? Mark your calendars for February 12-14, 2025, and join us at the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans for InsightsEDU 2025. We look forward to welcoming you to a vibrant community of passionate educators and exploring innovative strategies for success together.

To stay up-to-date on the latest announcements and registration information for InsightsEDU 2025, visit our website.