Home' Campus Technology : February 2013 Contents CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | February 2013
identify students who haven’t registered for a while but are
within three courses of graduating. “We can go out, invite
those students back into the fold, and help motivate them
to finish their degrees,” says Todd Gibby, president of Hob-
sons’ higher education division.
After students collect their diplomas, their relationship
with the university doesn’t end. CRM systems are now us-
ing their trove of student data—often layered with additional
data—to reach out to alumni for more effective fundrais-
ing and more. “As campuses increasingly use their CRM to
gain insights on relationships from cradle to grave, CRMs
will keep pace by providing data points across the student
lifecycle and intelligence across all interactions,” explains
Gibby. “The first few years [of CRM use] were about func-
tionally managing your campus. The next five years will be
about actually turning that information into business intel-
ligence to make better institutional decisions, especially as
campuses face the need to simultaneously increase stu-
dent enrollment and reduce student-recruitment costs.”
Data is the coin of the realm when it comes to effective
CRM—the more, the better. To increase the effectiveness
of their systems, CRM vendors are enabling easier integra-
tion of data streams from multiple sources via open APIs
(application programming interfaces used to communicate
between software components). One example is the use
of maps in websites and apps. “Before, you used to have
to hard-code maps,” notes Goldberg. “Now you can use
an API to bring up Bing maps or other map technology in
real time.” For Goldberg, this kind of integration opens up
dynamic opportunities for institutions.
6) User Friendly
CRM systems are starting to overcome their bad rap by
rolling out more accessible, easy-to-use tools. According
to Niles, one customer of TargetX noted that he can now
generate reports in five minutes that used to take the IT de-
partment three days just to conceptualize.
Forrester’s department at OCU chose Ellucian largely be-
cause it wanted a solution that it could operate on its own.
A dedicated staff member manages the system internally,
creating new admissions applications and updating fields in
forms. Today, members of Forrester’s team can easily create
and deploy e-mail campaigns, using batch processes to pull
information into the system as needed. The end result? The
people who know the most about the admissions process—
and the message they want to send—are in the driver’s seat.
7) Social Media
You can’t really talk about constituent relationships without
talking about social media. As with the cloud, the connec-
tion between social media and CRM is a given at this point.
Today, schools are finessing ways to participate in social
media that don’t feel intrusive, yet enable them to gather
information about student interests and needs.
“What we’re seeing is that the market—prospective stu-
dents—is using social media like Facebook or Pinterest to
explore the schools,” says Goldberg. “So schools are be-
coming more aware of their image in social media.”
To be most effective, Goldberg advises, schools need to
tailor their social media messaging. For staff trying to woo
prospective students, it’s a waste of time, for example, to use
the school’s Twitter feed to advertise the day’s café menu. In-
stead, schools should tweet about campus events of broader
interest, highlight student or faculty accomplishments, or re-
port on sports results or a play on campus, all of which help
engage prospective students with life at the school.
So integral are social media to messaging strategies to-
day that Salesforce is now designed to link to Facebook
and LinkedIn pages, and even includes Radian6, a tool for
monitoring social media. The purpose isn’t to watch over
students like Big Brother, says Niles, but to understand
what’s being said about the school and, in some cases, ad-
dress issues and concerns raised by students, faculty, staff,
or the public at large.
Michelle Fredette is a freelance writer based in Portland, OR.
CONSTITUENT RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT
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