The Higher Ed Marketer
The Higher Ed Marketer

Episode 1 · 1 year ago

How a Multi-Platform CRM can Drive Marketing Insights


On today’s episode, Bart Caylor, President & Founder at Caylor Solutions Inc, and Troy Singer, Senior Account Executive at Think Patented, have a conversation with Jeurell Smith, Institutional Data Analyst at Otterbein University about:

- How to lead multi-platform CRM integration at your university

- Benefits of syncing your data and marketing team communication

- Length of time it takes to implement a multi-platform CRM

- Navigating the Request for Proposal (RFP) process for projects

Know of a higher education marketing change agent you’d like to hear on the show? Does your university have an interesting story to be featured?

Connect with Bart Caylor or Troy Singer. If you’re not on LinkedIn, check the Caylor Solutions or Think Patented.

To hear more interviews like this one, subscribe to The Higher Ed Marketer on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your preferred podcast platform.

One thing I really do want to point out to people to make sure that you have a consistent question structure, so every time go into these demos, each subject area expert will ask, or at least make sure that we have some documentation of that exact question. You are listening to the Higher Ed Marketer, a podcast geared towards marketing professionals in higher education. This show will tackle all sorts of questions related to student recruitment, don'tor relations, marketing trends, new technologies and so much more. If you are looking for conversations centered around where the industry is going, this podcast is for you. Let's get into the show once again. Welcome to the Higher Ed Marketer podcast. I'm choice singer here with the cohost of the show, Bart Taylor, and Bart, I am happy we have made it two, episode three. Yes, I'm excited about that as well. It's it's been really rewarding to have these conversations and and it's just it's been great here. I definitely agree. And today you and I get the geek out a little bit because Bart, as some of our listeners know, you are a longtime marketing and branding professional and I currently execute print and marketing projects and we both love the subject of relevant data for marketing. Yeah, I think that over the course of my career, starting in the in the late s and early s, just the amount of data that we now have available to as marketers to be able to, you know, do some smart things and do everything from, you know, customized and personalized emails and direct mail and print pieces. It's amazing. So I'm really excited about today's conversation and I'm excited about it too, especially when I discovered our guest today, who has worked with and hire it and various capacities for or fifteen years and has recently led his institution to US Crm Migration Initiative which touched a lot of departments at the university you serves, and I was just happy you agreed to come on and share his learnings of his fun and...

I did use air quotes there, although when he talks about it is with a smile, but I'm sure there was some painful points there as well. So, without any further ado, I'm going to bring in Darrell Smith, institutional data analyst that atterbying university, to the conversation. Drell, thank you so much for joining us today. My President, guys very excited to be here with you guys, hanging out with two of the finest in the marketing areas. Joy print part with digital makes quite a dynamic duo. Thank you, Darrell. I appreciate you saying that and I know I took you a little by surprise when I asked you to doing join the podcast and talk about data and your crm migration journey. But from the conversations I've had with you, they were just so interesting and I am a believer that there are other people out there that are at points where they know they need to do something with their data and would like to hear some helpful experiences and stories from someone that just went through a similar project. Yeah, absolutely, I mean there's nothing quite like a multi platform crm integration. I mean with any projects of this type in this magnitude, you can do nothing but just have fun with it. Well, before we jump into a Darrell, I would like to give our listeners a little bit about you personally. So if you could share one or two aspects of your life outside of the work that gives us a glimpse of who you are? Yeah, definite family man. I have two kids, my son Langdon is nine, my daughter Olivia, who six, and a wonderful wife, Regina, getting the spend a lot of time with them now, as even their hybrid classrooms at home, working from home remotely and also being a teacher has been, you know, great experience. And second aspect is just, you know, I enjoy to rebuild things. I like to, you know, tinker around with an electronics, iphones, laptops. Most recently took apart my bike all way down to the bearings, giving them new Greece, and just that process of getting in and making things new and betters enjoyable for me. That's great. That sounds like the perfect segue...

...into a crm integration. The idea of tearing everything down and and kind of rebuilding it. I think that's that's so true. So, you know, let's just talk a little bit about that as we look at the CRM project. You Co ed, could you describe Road Er buyd was data wise before the project and the reason why university decided the upgrade was needed? I mean that might really really give us some context and help some of our listeners. Yeah, dayawise, Odo bind is in a good play, as when we use data. We had some great leadership from VP the provost levels that tend to really understand how to leverage data and push to use it consistently and widespread through our campus reporting and leverage it in different areas, you know, whether it's enrollment, academic affairs. I mean we are some of the most campuses where, you know, each division tends to have their own system. So it does try to provide these sidelos but you know, hopefully there's no different systems between departments. But we do a consistent job of f finding the data flow to know how to move the data outside of these systems so that we could see beyond just one silo of maybe an admissions department or an alumni relations department. As far as the see irm goes, our crm need was very obvious. We had a system for about seven years. I mean, with technology evolving so fast, that system was probably two to three generations old. It's still had a flat file database. Or didn't you have a relationship database? So we would push data into it as much as we can, but had a lot of limiting aspects to it. So as we start to realize that, then you just find the timing when contracts are up and then you start the process of freaking out. Okay, what all do we want and need? So we knew we needed much better reporting from the marketing and emission side of things, from our communications. We also wanted to leverage hosting applications. That system was also very clunky and getting run now and our graduate office was constantly wanting to be more flexible. Same thing with certificate programs. Wanted... do more with that and we wanted to also we had to collect behavior analytics. A lot of these new, more modern CRMS tend to collect a lot of the behavior interactions that they have within that system, and all those reasons were why we need to move on. Yeah, that's great and I know some of those behavioral analytics. Even just being able to hook your system into the website and the landing pages and to, you know, email how that all performs really can give you a especially in the rollment side, give you a really clear picture on maybe what the perspective students and families are interested in. So that's really interesting. So you kind of talked about the idea and and I hear this a lot from a lot of the clients that I work with, is the idea that, oh wow, we were in this dinosaur of a system that we would love to get out of. We're in a multi year contract. We're kind of you know what's coming up, but even when it's coming up, I'm sure that from a even of the decision was made, even from a high level, it's going to take some time and different phases that to plan it out and put a timeline together to kind of get the project completed. It's not like you just say, Hey, our crm contracts coming up and at the end of June and it's here, it is and you know, March, let's get going. I mean there's a lot more that goes into it than that. Maybe you can walk us through a little bit about what that project plan looked like, what that timeline was like. I mean, how long did it take you guys to implement this? Yes, Bart, you're right. We first started with a request for proposal process which brought together kind of a committee of leadership and also functional perspectives. You know, anything from the top level VP of enrollment management, to our marketing directors and missions counselor managers, Graduate Office Front and users who actually have the hands on responsibility with some of the data and of course it was a part of this, but we put together that group just to start the process of inquiring, you know, what systems, to even look at what these systems had to offer us. So as we started to put that...

...list and information together from these pre meetings, we then went into a demo process. And one thing I really do want to point out to people to make sure that you have a consistent question structure. So every time you go into these demos, each subject area expert will ask or at least make sure that we have some documentation of that exact question. It just keeps it a lot more even so when you start looking back to say, okay, you know this one had that. What do they say to this, it just shows usself to be much more consistent. Also, as we start to work through those, you know that process tends to narrow our options down pretty quickly. You can start to see where it's going. And then we start to dive deeper, even into the RP cost calculations, because they're all unique and how they charge you and all of them are not unlimited. There could be costpertext, cost per geo track. I mean it's really starts to build. So had you start to crunt some of the number words, you know, it started to become, you know, obvious. Which one, you know, we still start to go to. And once we found that information, then we start to realize, well, we need a etl tool, we need a tool that will move that information from our crm to our sis and then vice versa, so we can have data moving back and forth consistently. So that almost in itself was a second mini progress or project process in the middle of this. So as we start to uncover some of those things now we start to see where we need to go with it and we start to identify our stakeholders. You know, they're all part of the opinion of what we needed and now what's their responsibilities within this major project and really hashing it out with that leadership to make sure that you have a good communication structure, because there's so many different expertise. You know, the marketing content expert is not going to really know much about the data. The people who are actually interacting physically, talking to students or meeting with students kind of have that personal touch to help. You know, building another aspect of marketing communication that you...

...might want to leverage. So really trying to connect all those people together so that you know, as you start to build a implement the product, you have the data what you need with the marketing plan and then, of course, you know implementation map. I mean there's, and I say multisystem platform we have. We are common APP school, so we have a common APP application. Data that goes into our CRM, then that data goes into our ETL and then, as so, you start to get a very complex series of data transfers. A start to happen. So really got to lay that out. And as far as timeline goes, you know we tried to do within six to eight months, but that's not a complete implementation. There's definitely multiple phases. I mean we had to even stand up temperate data transfers so once we got the product in our o product, you know, we can no longer use contractor was up we could keep the communication seamlessly flowing to our current applicants while we started the build in some of the additional functionality that we needed with all the new bells and whistles that the crm tool was going to allow us to do. And then, of course, mid year there's always adjustments in backup plans as you start to go through that, which want to make sure we were not left empty handed if something was going to slow down or not respond the way we expected. I think it's interesting, I mean what you've described here. I mean I hear the analogy sometimes if you know, you know, trying to take a part of an airplane while you're flying it. I mean it's sure you've got so many complex things going on. You've got so many different constituents and I really appreciate what you said about the demos and making sure that everybody's kind of on the same pace, because a lot of places, you know, while you might do inn our FP for Crm's, there is a wide range of crms Todam and you have everything from people that are using old systems and trying to, you know, do different things with with with software, to some of the new web based systems that are pretty slick. And then the fee teacher set is pretty wide ranging on all that as well. And so I think that sometimes, you know,... can you can have one group. Maybe the marketers get kind of geeked out over some marketing aspects of the automation, but you and and some people that are more in the data are like, well, you know what this is not. This is more of a flat database. It's not it's not relational like we need. And so I'm sure it was very challenging sometimes as you as you were kind of going through that, to keep everything as an apples to apples as opposed to know, hey, there's a banana, there's an apple, there's a apricot and that type of thing. Yeah, I can totally relate to what you're saying. I mean there is even some systems that had the multi a modular so they included not only the emission side, at the alumni side and the retention side of current students in those things. There's just so big and great and it almost allows you to have so much information on one place. Who's can be very dynamic to have the whole student life cycle at one place that you can really dig into. But then you start to kind of realize the scope of that. How many people are going to support this or any hot and then it that just got so that was the one that really caught my attention, but it was pretty obvious we probably couldn't support it to its full needs at this point. Drell, that's great. I mean I think that there's just so much that we can continue to talk about here. I mean you certainly have a large scope of work that you've identified in so many different stakeholders that you need to bring together and satisfy. Maybe you can tell us a little bit about, you know, the project, highlighting aspects of it that maybe higher end marketers and similar stakeholders could benefit from when they're kind of considering this and be a part of that team that you've talked about. Yeah, one thing from the markets perspective is scoping and prioritizing the functional enhancements that they need. With all these bells and whistles. They're all look so great and fabulous, but they all take time, resources and expertise to be able to unleash, you know, the full power of what they have in them. So, of course, you know texting and emailing is usually a must add. That's right from the beginning. But about communication flows, creating those outside the system so you're already have kind of a template to lay out as you start to execute them in the system,... something that, you know, we found helpful. Leveraging micro sites, landing pages. We just realize that there is so much we wanted to accomplish that we really need to hone in on, okay, what's first, what second, was third, and then start to allocate our resources to those things in that order. Because there was, to be honest, couple times when, you know, the data side was getting so much information to one place but the marketing sign wasn't ready to use the landing pages yet. So we kind of got a little out of sink on having, you know, so much attention put on one place but they weren't ready to leverage that part of the process. So knowing what that priority is in the scope of what's there with your resources and also what data needs you have and want. These systems are now starting to have built in analytics, so they're already tracking and giving you some sort of sense of what type of engagement they're having, whether it's websites, landing pages, emails, text messages. But is there other data sources around campus that maybe emissions counselors understand they want to have and you want to work into your marketing communications? And then making sure that the communication networks are there with those stakeholders. You know, having that and data analysts there with the counselors, are the personal touchs, with the Web Masters, with all the digital content experts in that conversation flow, so you can align all these skill sets together and have them moving in the same direction when you want them to move so they kind of keep in sync. And then, once you figure out that process, keeping that process repetitive. So that's always iterating, always cycling, because I'm sure you know you want the messaging, the marketing messaging, to be as flexible as it can when you want that, you know, message to change in shift. It's a continual improvement all the way off the way along the road, and having that data helps you make those continual improvements. That's great. Yeah, absolutely, it's really good.

Well, I think we could certainly continue to talk about this. I mean, as I know, as try mentioned earlier, I can geek out about this all day long and it's for the sake of for the sake of time. I think that we can kind of kind of wrap up some of this. So I really appreciate the chance for taking some time here on. There are podcast absolutely, it's been great. Implementation has been successful at this point. One of the things we're already getting benefits from it already and we've just touched tippity iceberg. There is just so much still in there that we have to draw out of it and draw into our marketing plans and and campaigns that we have. So and that's really one of the most exciting parts, is that we still have so much more potential to further levers is crm that you know, we can be working for years around the clock at just steadily drawing out more and becoming better at what this new tool can can do for us in the institution. Since you are at just the tip of the iceberg and you've touched on so many takeaways that I love listening to, is there one thing, either additional or maybe something that you want to re emphasize that others looking to go into a similar project that you would want them to walk away from this message with? Yeah, absolutely good question. There is identifying those key data to marketing data points in individuals that you want to have in that process ahead of time and starting that communication. Now, like I mentioned, you know, you have the counselors who are talking facetoface, then you got the marketing put it into consistent messaging. Then you got the data side and being able to align those individuals to work together and have a good relations and ship. Will hope you can textualize the data into like real marketing actions. So I don't think you can start facilitating those relationships in that communication hierarchy or...

...flow or governance or whatever term you kind of want to and bed to show the consistency of it. But that will not only it just help you continuously build and help you get a good backlog of tasks and goals going into the projects, so you kind of already have a little bit of results driven implementation so you know where you want to go with it and you can hit the ground running right away, and that will also help the process be a little more nimble so you can always adjust on the fly with marketing messaging needs. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that and thank you for sharing a lot of the other takeaways that you've provided today. There's no doubt that there are people out there that are going to be looking at this daunting project in front of them and we'll be able to glean some benefit from our conversation today and if someone would like to contact you if they had additional questions or things like they would like to engage with you on how would the best way for them to do that be? Yeah, they can definitely find me on Linkedin under Darrell Smith. They can also search Jr Smith and Linkedin Durel will come up there. It's a little easier then. Also email JR Smith. That autoby dot eedu. Thanks again, Darrell Bark that was a wonderful conversation and again I am just thankful that Darrell was able to share what he did about the journey that he just took out or buying through. Yeah, I think it's so critical and it's so nice to hear somebody who's went through the journey, who's, you know, coming to the tail end of that journey and just being able to kind of tell some of their war stories and what happened. Again, I think it's a daunting task for any school to to engage in a you know refresh of a crm or or migrated for other systems, and I think a lot of what he said, I think will be very valuable for a lot of our guests. Well said and even though it's a project that seems daunting, it has to be done. It does has to be done, Bart. Thank you very much. We have made it through episode three. To everyone else, the Higher Ed Marketer podcast is sponsored by Taylor... and education, marketing and branding agency and by thing patented, a Marketing Execution Printy and mainly provider of high right solutions. On behalf of my cohost Bart Kaylor, I'm troy singer. Thank you for joining us. You've been listening to the Higher Ed Marketer. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you're listening with apple PODCASTS, we'd love for you to leave a quick rating of the show. Simply tap the number of stars you think the podcast deserves. Until next time,.

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