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Addressing the Shortcomings of CRM Marketing Automation in College Student Recruitment

The rise of marketing automation has revolutionized communication flows, making it easier  to engage with audiences more effectively and efficiently than ever before. Through the seamless integration of software and technology, universities can streamline their marketing efforts across various channels, from email and social media to website interactions and beyond. However, that often does not include a physical interaction–and that is the problem.

A well-rounded multi-channel marketing plan includes a number of key ways to connect with audiences. Much is written about the buyer journey, but college recruitment is a truly unique path that a prospective student goes through. There is hardly a traditional “journey” that a student takes anymore, and with so many entry points colleges have more stealth applicants than ever before.  

The promise of CRM marketing automation is that it provides a communication pathway to create and sustain engagement for  each individual student, no matter how they entered the enrollment funnel. For the most part, CRM marketing automation is limited to electronic interactions. However, colleges often have multi-channel marketing strategies that extend to other forms of engagement, including mailing print and branded merch to students. The problem is that these enrollment strategies often lie outside of the CRM auto comm flow so there are multiple challenges since all of the engagement strategies are not synced in one system, including:

  • The non-automated engagement management takes team resources, especially from teams already stretched thin and understaffed. Staff time is wasted by pulling, sending and sharing lists to fulfillment partners – all things that could be automated and allow staff to instead use their time for other engagement tasks.
  • The timeliness of the fulfillment is not as effective. With the auto CRM comm flows, these happen in real-time on a predetermined schedule. When the implementation happens outside of the CRM, the timeliness (and possibly effectiveness) may be delayed by the manual process to pull lists and connect with fulfillment partners.
  • The full engagement strategy is not documented and executed under one ecosystem. When an email campaign is executed, the detail of what was sent is all in one place. This is not the case for engagements that are not executed through the CRM. If mailing print and branded merch is added to the CRM auto comm flow, this interaction, including delivery information, can be seen in the CRM for each student’s profile. Thus providing a full picture of the engagement journey.   
  • Results of the communication flow are not all encompassed under one roof. When including all marketing messaging under the CRM comm flow, it is easier to attribute results since all are documented together.  For example, if mailing branded merch to accepted but not yet committed students, with the data being in the CRM, it will be easy to pull engagement results two weeks after the receipt of the mailing to effectively measure the success.

When engagement happens under one complete CRM system, the full picture can be seen, thereby reducing resources and streamlining the operation so results of the campaign are easier to evaluate. 


CRM Marketing Automation Challenges in Higher Ed M Marketing Automation Challenges in Higher Ed 

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Postage Permits

We are happy to mail using a client’s USPS non-profit number. Here are a few best practices for this to go smoothly. Let our team know up front on the project so we can make sure to get the information we need right away. 

While our mail house does prefer to use their permit number for the mailing, we can use the client’s permit, If using their permit number, ensure there is enough postage to cover the mailing.

The information we need to in order to use a client’s nonprofit number includes the following:

Formatting the Mailing List

Our account team will advise on specific requirements for your project’s mailing list.  We generally recommend these best practices to format the mailing list: