By: Jake Fabbri, Chief Marketing Officer, Fonteva
As our world gets ever more digitally connected, real-life experiences and events that bring people together face to face may be more important than ever. While it’s never been easier to communicate with each other, perhaps it’s the effort required to get out and shake the hand of a new acquaintance or hug an old friend that makes those encounters so special.
It’s the power of these interactions that make events such an important part of building and maintaining engagement throughout the student lifecycle. As necessary, important and powerful as events are to support the goals of conversion from interested prospect to engaged alumni, we can’t neglect the need to connect the dots from events to the rest of the process.
Make Events Part of Your Connected Campus
Once you’ve wisely made the investment to create a connected campus, don’t leave events alone in their own silo, when you could be using them to boost all of your efforts. Events are such a powerful tool, that it can be easy to view them as magic. Make them happen, watch the area they support get better, and call it a day.
But what if there was more in those events than just the feel-good moments that make someone fall in love with your school and submit their application or donate to your annual giving campaign. What if there was more? Think of the data. Real, important data generated at every event you put on, that evaporates when the lights go out.
Capturing, analysing and harnessing this data, and developing actionable intelligence from it, fills out one of the most important sectors of the 360-degree view we are all relentlessly pursuing.
To imagine the possibilities, let’s think about a recruiting open day.
What better way to showcase your school to prospective students than giving them the opportunity to talk to faculty and current students, all while taking in some of the best your campus has to offer. The event is always amazing and students (and their parents) rave about the experience.
Create Truly Personalised Follow-Ups
But what happens next? A spreadsheet of rsvp responses gets passed around the recruiting office, or maybe placed into a ‘personalised’ email thanking them for attending (while hoping they actually were there).
Instead, imagine if you were able to create a simple, single-page registration website that allowed them to register for the open house, and by doing so earn a small premium (mug, shirt, etc.), which will be received when they check-in at the event. Using that form you could collect identifying information (name, email, Secondary School), while also getting a quick view into their interests (area of study, what interests them most about your school, etc).
All of the key event details, including information related to their area of interest and check-in details, can be reinforced through registration confirmation emails sent through Marketing Cloud, Pardot, or any Salesforce connected marketing automation tool. Once at the event, they pick up their premium simply by providing the email address they registered with, which confirms their attendance and they then can be pointed to the most relevant station(s) based on their expressed interest.
Once the event concludes, the intelligence you’ve collected can really fuel the next steps of your process. With all of this information instantly accessible in your CRM you could send a truly personalised email immediately at the close of the event thanking each attendee for coming and providing contact information for any follow-up questions they might have for the exact people who were stationed at their area of interest. The next morning, their assigned recruiter gets a notification and is able to view all of the data gathered from the event and begin executing their next items.
Achieve 360-degree View of all Your Stakeholders
In addition to supporting the process, having all of this data available and updating in real time in Salesforce allows a range of stakeholders, from managers to executive leadership, to keep track of their most relevant KPIs using Salesforce reports and dashboards correlating events and the processes they impact.
Once events and the data related to them is part of your connected campus infrastructure, then every event, from simple to complex, for every type of stakeholder can provide key intelligence and guidance throughout your process. Imagine the possibility of tracking every engagement at an individual and campaign level to give you a truly 360-degree view of your students and Alumni.
The overarching theme for each scenario is the importance of digging deeper into what events have to influence in the larger process, beyond the basic interaction and connection benefits they provide. Harnessing a 360-degree view can put a real charge into your efforts to create a truly connected campus with Salesforce and Fonteva events.
Visit the Fonteva booth at the Higher Ed Summit Horizons on the 10th of October in Paris to find out how a data driven and holistic approach to all higher education event management, can help you engage with students and alumni in a personal way.
Register today to hear from higher ed pioneers driving transformation for their events and Higher Education institutions.
About the Author
With over two decades of experience in B2B technology marketing management, Jake Fabbri has designed and expertly executed dozens of marketing strategies that have consistently resulted in solid revenue growth for his teams and earned high satisfaction ratings among his customers.