In early June I had the pleasure of attending the first ever International Programs Marketing Conference (IPMC) sponsored by GoOverseas. I wanted to share a little of my experience at this inaugural event. First of all, I must say that this is one of the best conferences I have attended in a really long time, if not ever.
Why do I say that? One of the main reasons is that it was social media and website marketing sessions geared specifically towards international education and a conference like this has never been done before (to my knowledge). They had an amazing lineup of speakers that geared their presentations towards our field even though they could have easily done otherwise. We had the opportunity to listen to people from Moz, Google, Facebook, and Optimizely among others.
This was the first year for a conference such as this and was a trial run of sorts. I would have to say it was a huge success. I have so many new ideas that I will never have time to implement them all. I talked to several other attendees who felt the same way.
Some of the highlights were the in-depth discussions on SEO (Search Engine Optimization), A/B testing of everything from website pages to newsletters, as well as Facebook tips for pages and groups. I must say that I rarely take notes at conferences other than a few lines from meetings or sessions but, from these two days I took almost 10 pages of notes and ideas. That is how good the material was and how stimulating.
This event was very reasonable priced, much more so than any other social media, technology or even international education conference out there. They even offered an optional wine tasting pre-conference outing which was a nice relaxing way to transition between NAFSA and IPMC. It was also not a sales pitch conference even though there were a lot of great service-oriented companies. All attendees did get a virtual good bag with discounts and free trials at the end of the conference but, at no point did any of the presenters or sponsors try and push their products/services on you. You were free to learn and generate your own ideas.
A couple of notes, if I may. I wish that the conference had focused a little more on institutional offices. It was pretty heavily focused on program providers. That is fine since many of the ideas can work but, most institutional offices do not have the full time staff that are dedicated to social media and web marketing as providers, which make some of the ideas out of the reach of institutional offices. College and university international education staff can generally only make social media and web marketing a small portion of their overall job.
However, these are minor critiques for such a great experience. I would highly recommend attending this next year since they plan on offering it again. It will be interesting to see what topics will be covered at the next event. Thanks again to GoOverseas for putting on a great event and I can't wait to see what next year holds.
Mandy Reinig is the Founder and Owner of Mandy's Mashups. This company works to educate the international travel community on effective social media use. Mandy also enjoys traveling the world and sharing her travel experiences and her use of social media while traveling with others.
I am super excited to have the opportunity to attend the upcoming International Programs Marketing Conference (IPMC) which is being hosted by GoOverseas just days after the NAFSA Annual Conference in Berkeley, CA. They have an amazing schedule and excellent speakers lined up. In order to give you a better understanding of what this conference is going to be about I decided to go right to the source. Here is an interview with Mitch Gordon, CEO of GoOverseas. There are still a few spots remaining and I highly encourage you to consider attending this awesome and extremely inexpensive event.
1. What does GoOverseas do?
Go Overseas is the Yelp/Trip Advisor for programs abroad. We’re a community site for students, and others searching for a great program abroad. We have two main missions that we’re equally passionate about: 1) To help students and travelers make more educated and informed decisions when choosing a program abroad. 2) To encourage more students to study abroad. I think many students are still too intimidated to study abroad. We want them to use Go Overseas and say, “Yes, I can study abroad. If all of these other people can do it, I can too!” We want to help people get over that decision hump and actually make the decision to study abroad. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but I feel incredibly passionate about my belief that study abroad changes lives. I still think it should be a degree requirement!
Many focus on the review component of Go Overseas. We look at reviews as just a part of what we do. Our primary goal is to promote study abroad in all forms: Through great articles, alumni interviews, interviews with study abroad staff & advisors and through alumni reviews. We welcome anyone and everyone to join us in this mission!
2. How did you come up with the idea for IMPC?
Our partners were increasingly looking at us as experts and asking us to help them with all different types of marketing decisions: How to structure their website, content development, Google Analytics, A/B testing, lead tracking, etc. We thought, “Why don’t we create a conference where we can help everyone learn all at once!” More than anything else, we created the IPMC Conference as a service to our partners and the study abroad community in general. As you can see from the pricing, we’re not making money on this Conference. We’re doing it to help.
We also wanted to help organizations make more informed decisions when it comes to the ROI of their marketing dollars. There are companies that are still selling banner ads, linked listings, top of page rankings, etc. Other fields haven’t been selling advertising in that format since the early 2000s. It still happens in Study Abroad, which I think is unfortunate. We’re in a field where marketing budgets are relatively limited. Our goal is to help these organizations make better decisions with their limited marketing dollars.
3. Who should attend this conference?
Two type of people should attend the IPMC: 1) Leaders of Study Abroad & Intl Ed organizations. 2) Marketing departments. From the agenda, you can see that we’re focused on some very cutting edge topics. These skills will help marketing folks grow in their jobs, starting from the day after the conference. Leaders & executives should attend because it’s important to understand online marketing these days. Millennials make more and more of their decisions online. Students, after all, are 100% millennial. It’s important to understand how millenials think and what motivates their decision making process.
4. What are some of the highlights people can look forward to if they attend IMPC?
I’m looking forward to a lot of the speakers. Our keynote speaker, Kyle Rush, ran the online fundraising campaign for Obama, raising nearly $1B dollars. I’m incredibly excited about his talk and we’re really lucky to have him. I think attendees are going to find Kyle extremely compelling and interesting. Another highlight will be the 1-on-1 meetings. All attendees will have at least one 1-on-1 meeting with one of the speakers. This will give them the opportunity to sit down with someone at Google, MOZ, Facebook, etc. and learn directly from them.
5. How were you able to get such great speakers?
We’re lucky that we’re based in San Francisco. As a result, our network includes people at companies speaking at our Conference (Google, Facebook, Hubspot, MOZ, Optimizely, Salesforce). We worked these connections to help make the workshops and sessions as useful as possible for attendees!
6. What do you hope people will people take away from this conference?
We want the IPMC Conference to be the most workshop-oriented Conference you’ve ever attended. We’re focused on making it extremely tangible and interactive. Our goal is for attendees to learn in a very hands-on way. We want attendees to be engaged, with their laptops open, actively learning.
Mandy, I know you’ll let us know how we did when the conference is over!
Mitch Gordon, CEO, GoOverseas, @MitchGordonGo
This blog is all about social media. I hope to offer tips, tricks, advice and more on using social media within international education and international travel.