This past month I attended two APCA conferences in Atlanta, GA and Hershey, PA. Prior to last month, I hadn’t attended an APCA or NACA conference for three years. I felt like such an underdog because there were so many new faces and students who didn’t know me from jack.
Three years ago, we left the market at the top of our game having just won three national speaking awards for our leadership program and were doing 50-70 programs a year. At the time, two new speakers, Jon Vroman & Stan Person, were just entering the market.
Now, Jon and Stan dominate the market and have collectively won the national speaking award for the past three years.
When I step back and digest the situation, it makes sense because students turnover (graduate/transfer) every two to four years. So when I look around a room and only see a third of the faces I saw before, it get it.
The constant turnover is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is you can mess up and all is forgotten in two to four years. You can also get booked more often at a school because there are always new students who haven’t heard your story. I’ve spoken for University of Akron’s Emerging Leaders’ Program for eight years in a row.
The curse is that it’s hard to stop marketing and attending conferences because your name, and program, are forgotten in two to four years.
The counter, then, is to build up strategies that keep you present in the market without you actually having to be there. For now, however, I have my work cut out for me in rebuilding my brand with the new students who don’t know me from Jack.