Strategic Marketing and Advancement Institute

ANNOUNCMENT: The 2018 Strategic Marketing & Advancement Institute will be held from November 12-14, 2018 in Annapolis, Maryland. Stay tuned for more information about the 2018 Institute.

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    “Strategic” emphasizes the Institute’s focus on marketing structure, process, and strategies.

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    Wherever the independent school touches a customer, it is engaged in marketing and advancing the school.

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    The term "advancement" was added to the Institute title to connote integrated marketing practices. After all, marketing is part of everyone’s job!

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    Who has Attended the Institute?

    More than 1200 administrators drawn from admissions, development, communications, as well as heads, business officers, and key board members, have attended.


What are the Goals?:

  • To teach the discipline of marketing as it applies to schools.
  • To provide an opportunity for teams of schools' marketing and advancement staff to de-silo, and to imagine improved collaboration.
  • To encourage networking and shared learning among attendees.
  • To allow school administrators to break away from the daily firefighting so that they can gain a bigger perspective on school priorities.

Who Should Attend?

The Institute is intended for those responsible for advancing schools; admissions, communications, development, and heads of schools who are interested in learning how the business discipline of marketing can enhance the advancement of private schools.


Monday and Tuesday, November 13-14, 2017. Plus, optionally, an advanced social media workshop Wednesday morning, November 15, 2017.


The 22nd Edition of the Institute will be held in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the Inn and Spa at Loretto located a short walk to Santa Fe's historic Plaza, and to the famed art galleries along Canyon Road.

Where Have We Been?:

  • 1996 - Airlie VA
    1997 - Denver
    1998 - Charleston
    1999 - Scottsdale
    2000 - New Orleans
    2001 - Savannah
    2002 - San Antonio
    2003 - Santa Fe
    2004 - Charleston
    2005 - San Francisco
    2006 - Charleston
    2007 - San Antonio
    2008 - Savannah
    2009 - New York City
    2010 - Harvard
    2011 - DisneyWorld
    2012 - Annapolis
    2013 - New Orleans
    2014 - Charleston
    2015 - San Antonio River Walk
    2016 - Fort Lauderdale Beach
    2017 - Santa Fe, New Mexico

Jenny Mayo, Director of Communications, Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School

A truly amazing conference. Can't tell you all how fired up I was when I got back to school! Thanks.  

Lesley Fowler Nesbitt - Director of Marketing & Communications - Carroll School

I thoroughly enjoyed SMAI and returned to campus with a renewed sense of purpose and vision for my school. You can't often say that in the work that we do! 

Leslie W. Kovich, Director of Admission, Quest Academy

The Institute exceeded my expectations!  From admissions to websites, the Institute addressed marketing and institutional advancement for independent schools current practice, as well as how to position your school while managing to stay one step ahead in a face-paced economic and consumer market.  

Lori Kriegel - Director of Communications - Wooster School

I went there eager to learn and absorb as much as I could, and I left feeling recharged and excited about the work that I have the opportunity to do each day.

Julie Peters - Director of Admission- Canterbury School- Ft. Myers FL

I strongly recommend to all of you requesting marketing information to watch for the flyer/email notice regarding next fall's Marketing Institute and sign up for it. It will be money well spent.

DeLeslie Porch - Director of Admissions - Jackson Academy

Your Marketing & Advancement Institute has given me a great overview of the entire process from pre-inquiry to bequest.