“CRM” has become a buzz word in the higher education industry. Why? What is a CRM? What type of value does a CRM add to academic institutions?
CRM refers to Customer Relationship Management. In higher education, a CRM can signify any one of a number of things:
1. A technological platform that organizes student information from enrollment through graduation 2.A software that allows students to select and pay for courses without human interaction 3.A “call center” for universities that handles the phone calls that interested students place to the university 4.A system that handles marketing initiatives and the student response that campaigns generate This short explanation of CRM will deal with the latter; a platform that increases enrollments and lowers cost per enrollment by synchronizing marketing behaviors with the response that each marketing initiative generates.
Lead Generation The first piece of a full-service higher education CRM is lead generation. When higher education institutions look to generate new students, they initiate advertising campaigns. These campaigns can be carried out across various traditional channels–print, billboards, radio, mailing lists–but recently, the universities that launch these campaigns are demanding accountability that only online and DRTV advertising channels provide.
Online Advertising Online advertising can manifest in a variety of ways:
oOnline lead generation using education-based portals
oSearch Engine Optimization
oKeyword Search (Trade Name Management)
Irregardless of the specific type of online advertising, the result is the same: contact is initiated with the prospective student. The advantage that the online advertising channel has over more traditional advertising channels is the level of accountability that online advertising brings–advertisers know exactly which campaigns are working and which are not, at all times.
DRTV Advertising Aside from Online advertising, DRTV also presents a channel that enables development, deployment and tracking of marketing initiatives. DRTV ads value to marketing initiatives by:
1.Targeting specific demographic, geographic and socio-graphic areas
2.Optimization of campaign placement according to student response DRTV advertising provides the ability to optimize and place advertisements according to the success of each campaign–this adds value to marketing campaigns by providing more students for less money.
Lead Conversion Once the lead is generated, the 2nd piece of the CRM–lead conversion–begins to take place. Lead conversion refers to when the potential student applies or enrolls.
In the case of online lead generation, the process of lead conversion takes place in the following manner:
1. The prospective student clicks on an advertisement, fills out contact form, or places a phone call after seeing an advertisement
2. The enrollment specialist initiates or fields the phone call that the advertisement generates, and helps the prospective student to apply
2.a The enrollment specialist feeds key information regarding the internet portal or TV channel that generated each response into the technological platform
3. The technological platform processes the information that each phone call generates and feeds This information to the client services team
4. The CST boost or cuts media allocation to specific portals or channels, depending on how many applications or enrollments each channel generates Lead Generation + Lead Conversion + Synchronization= CRM (More Enrollments and Applications) When synchronized and working in unison, lead generation and lead conversion add value to colleges and universities by providing more enrollments. Academic institutions that are seeking to generate increased student growth without dedicating time, resources, and energy to building an in-house CRM, can look to agencies that offer a comprehensive CRM solution.
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