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"This is how we'll continue to set ourselves apart in the market" - Rick Gibson, Chief Marketing Officer, Pepperdine

Pepperdine Uses Salesforce to Unify Its Brand

One university. One brand. One experience. That’s the way it should be. But all too often students have drastically different experiences when interacting with various schools or colleges within a university.

At Pepperdine University, this was a challenge. “We have five different schools at Pepperdine, but they were operating like five different institutions,” explained Jonathan See, Chief Information Officer. Siloed data was at the root of the problem. Each school, in addition to Advancement, had different information systems, different business processes, and different data owners. Consequently, schools didn’t have visibility into each other’s data and multiple schools were often reaching out to the same students and prospective students with information that may not have been relevant. As one institution, Pepperdine was not able to form a 360-degree view of its constituents. From an operational perspective, maintaining so many systems was a challenge as well. “There was a great need for us to have one campus-wide solution,” said See.

Migrating to Salesforce, Pepperdine began creating a single data source for staff across campus to tap into. Since the university is heavily tuition-dependent, the enrollment management team was the first adopter. By tracking every interaction, from initial inquiry to enrollment, recruiters now have a 360-degree view of each prospect. “Our recruiters used to have to pull up several systems and screens to view the data they can see on one prospect profile in Salesforce,” explained See. Since front line admission staff now has immediate access to all prospect correspondence, application documents, and checklists in Salesforce, the university’s undergraduate school has seen an 80% decrease in applicant call volume. Using Salesforce marketing automation, one graduate school greatly benefitted from efficiency gains by conducting an email campaign that quickly generated over 650 inquiries, packed information sessions, and two enrollment applications.

Pepperdine also tracks prospects’ learning and career interests in Salesforce, providing guidance on which school should engage the prospect. With automated workflow rules, Pepperdine can restrict which schools have access to engage a prospective student, reducing duplicate outreach and untargeted communication.

Going Campus-Wide

Recruiting, however, is just one piece of the puzzle. Recognizing the value of CRM at an enterprise level, Pepperdine is rolling out Salesforce across the institution to protect and nurture a compelling brand image and student experience across all of the university’s schools. “We believe our brand and the ‘Pepperdine Idea’ are the most valuable assets we have,” said Rick Gibson, Chief Marketing Officer. Empowered with data from 360-degree constituent views, Pepperdine is unifying traditional media, experiential marketing, mobile communication, and its online presence – creating true brand equity. “This is how we’ll continue to set ourselves apart in the market,” explained Gibson.

Using Salesforce’s Social Studio, the university is already building high-touch relationships with students from the moment they tweet about #pepperdine. “The Marketing Cloud gives us a birds-eye view of all things Pepperdine and lets us manage the conversation,” said Gibson.

Pepperdine’s transformation, fueled by Salesforce, is an on-going process. “My ultimate goal is for our students’ experience at Pepperdine to be so positive that they continue to engage with us long after graduation,” said See.

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