As I headed down to New Orleans (my first time!) for AASA’s National Conference on Education (they’ve been a client for about 10 years — this was my third NCE), I had a profound realization.

In 20 years of marketing, I’m not sure I’ve been to a more “timely” event. Less than one month prior, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the nation’s new education secretary, after an intense political debate and ultimately a 50–50 vote in the Senate, with the Vice President serving as tie-breaker.

Coming to the job with no experience in public education—either as a student, parent, educator, or board member—those who champion public education are certainly keeping a close eye on her agenda.

So I was curious what the tone would be at the major national meeting for The School Superintendents Association.  Naturally, these folks are the national voice for public education on Capitol Hill. So how did it go?

I am excited to report that this heightened awareness, coupled with some new marketing tactics from CSG Creative, resulted in AASA’s highest attended National Conference on Education in the last 10 years.

In the past, the Conference was largely attended by members of AASA. And the marketing plan was written accordingly. However, for 2017, AASA agreed with our recommendation to boost impressions to nonmembers. The climate seemed ripe for it. We researched and acquired new mailing lists to broaden our reach to other district leadership – and distributed 50% of the direct mail to these targets. We also added new digital marketing tactics to the mix – several advertising campaigns on Facebook as well as a new content marketing strategy.

The results speak volumes:
Nonmember attendance increased from 2016 by 24%.
Member attendance increased by 6% and overall registration increased by 8%.

One of the main benefits of industry conferences and trade shows is the community building. And at a time when public education needs a rallying point, AASA was at-the-ready to provide this unique experience.