Earlier this year I wrote about Rob Zinkan’s External Affairs team at IU East, and their approach to “lifecycle marketing.” We recently sat down with Rob and talked about his approach to marketing, and how CRM allows him to be more strategic in his approach to relationship management. Watch the video to hear Rob describe in his own words what CRM means to his campus.
At Indiana University, we’ve been saying for over three years that we need an enterprise approach to CRM. One that encompassess all aspects of the institution and the complex relationships that we have with our diverse constituents. In an article from CRM Magazine about the explosive growth of CRM in higher education, Leonard Klie makes a familiar argument. Klie bolsters his case with comments from Tim Copeland, CEO of DemandEngine:
“If you look at where companies are today, they’re looking for a more holistic approach. That’s where it has to head in higher education,” he continues.
But such a change will not occur overnight. Schools today face challenges with people, organizational structures, and processes. “The problem is getting people on campus to see beyond their one function to the whole life cycle of the student, from enrollment to graduation and beyond,” Copeland states. “It’s hard for people to see beyond the four walls of their individual departments.”
It’s worth remembering that corporations have a large head start in working with CRM, and there are important lessons to be learned from their experiences. It’s also refreshing to see that those experiences validate our vision and strategy.
In a recent blog post, Dennis Schmuland, chief health strategy officer at Microsoft, describes what he sees as the key success factor for health care companies in a newly competitive landscape:
The health plans most likely to gain share and retain customers better than their competitors are those that view CRM (customer relationship management) not as a product, but rather a company-wide strategy to develop longer, stronger, trust-based relationships with customers by understanding their needs, behaviors, and values. While there are many technological components to CRM, thinking about CRM in primarily technological terms is a mistake. Health plans that view CRM as a company-wide strategy optimally leverage CRM technologies as efficient vehicles to better understand their customers’ needs, meet or exceed those needs, and enhance their bottom line at the same time.
I think this argument applies equally well to other markets – including higher education. I am especially intrigued by his three criteria for building long-lasting relationships with constituents:
We should be mindful of these goals as we move ahead with Lifetime Engagement. Much of what we do needs to be focused on these three objectives.
As I have been saying for much of the last year, CRM is not a technology, or even a project – it’s a lifestyle.