This morning I stumbled upon CollegeWeekLive,a two-day virtual conference featuring live representatives from over three hundred universities. Since I have attended several virtual conferences on topics ranging from Social Media to B2B marketing strategies, I was curious to see how universities adopted this model of interactive outreach. Since Holdcom has provided message on hold and eLearning programs for Ramapo college and other institutions, I wanted to explore innovative ways that we could contribute to colleges’ audio marketing strategies.
After registering and waiting a relatively quick loading time, I was transported into a vast, brightly lit lobby populated by walking, coffee drinking, chatting avatars. The lobby split off into separate halls, decorated by banners. Scrolling billboards hung from the ceiling, broadcasting special offers, scholarships, and sponsors of the event. I was excited: there must be a reason behind the hustle and bustle; there must be places to go and people to see.
I followed one smartly dressed avatar and clicked on the “College Halls” section. Before me were booths where individual colleges showcased promotional videos. A menu along the side of the screen let me view colleges by geographical location, but the feature that impressed me most was that prospective students could search by keyword. For example, if a student were interested in culinary studies, the search results would return colleges that offer these programs. This was not only helpful for high school student, but for colleges to determine what percentage of high school students are interested in certain areas of study.
Each booth had a live chat option. When you click on the orange button, a window pops up: you can then talk in a forum, or one-on-one, with students, professors, or representatives in real time.
I left the “College Halls” and perused through “Video Chats,” where I was presented with over fifty videos from campuses across the country. I could sit in on a class, listen to keynote speakers, or learn college-life tips on how to save money or survive on three hours of sleep.
From an audio marketing perspective, the experience was never silent – there was a soundtrack of low murmurs with an echo effect that successfully simulated an active environment. Live representatives encouraged questions and would respond by speaking, not typing. And they encouraged live calls to their client relations department – a call to action that many virtual events overlook.
Overall, the conference was tightly organized, coordinated, and tailored for lead generation experience – they weren’t try to sell universities, but share information. A genuine user experience – to educate- was put first and foremost – a fact that their many corporate sponsors, and a grant received by the US Department of Education, can attest. The layout appeals not only to high school students but also to parents and businesses, encouraging networking and information exchange – engaging the listener through sight, and most importantly, sound.