Student marketing and recruitment solution transforms efficiency and transparency for top New Zealand University 

Student marketing and recruitment solution transforms efficiency and transparency for top New Zealand University 

Waikato University needed a solution to converge disparate systems serving key student journey functions. Here’s what happened next.

The University of Waikato is recognized as delivering a world-class education and research portfolio. With around 13,000 students and 1,500 staff, the university pursues strong international links with campuses in the NZ cities of Hamilton and Tauranga and has a joint institute with Zhejiang University City College in Hangzhou, China.

A Tribal customer since 2017, the university had been using Tribal’s market-leading SITS: Vision student management system.

The university managed several disparate systems for outreach, marketing enquiries and event management which increasingly resulted in an opaque view of an individual’s student journey interaction as well as slow and manual processes for university administrators.

A convergence solution was required to ensure that students receive accurate information at just the right points in their application and enrolment journey.

Mike Calvert, Director of Student Services, University of Waikato, said: “We recognized that we weren’t maximizing our opportunity to convert enquirers and applicants with the system that we were using. We couldn’t get the analysis that we needed to tell us which types of engagement were most effective in ensuring our students were hearing the right things about our organization.

“That’s why we felt that a CRM solution was what was required, something that would bring all of that together so that we could really map out an engagement journey from the very first moment prospective students showed an interest in the university all the way through to enrolment.”

Tricia Finn, Deputy Director, Business Process and Change, University of Waikato, said: “The main catalyst I believe was when the university refreshed its strategy over a year ago now. One of the key goals of that was everybody in the institution was responsible for recruitment and once you start talking in that sort of frame, it’s not just the responsibility of one team, it’s everybody. Then you start to think, ‘How do you capture all of that?’ That was the impetus we needed. How do we capture what everybody is doing, how do we get visibility, and how do we understand what’s working and what’s not?”

Following a market review, the university selected the Tribal Student Marketing & Recruitment CRM solution based on several key factors including its ability for rapid deployment, strong customer references, a large installed user base and ease of integration into the university’s student management system – SITS:Vision.

Calvert said: “When we were looking for a solution, we were also looking for the right provider, the right company to work with. Tribal’s experience in tertiary education across not just New Zealand but Australia and the UK gave us confidence that we would be working with consultants that really understood our business well.”

Tribal’s solutions are based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform and create an enterprise CRM for education – with a suite of tools specifically tailored to the education sector’s needs.

The Student Marketing & Recruitment solution is designed to integrate seamlessly with student management systems to provide institutions with a full 360-degree view of the student. It creates exceptional experiences to nurture demand, personalise interactions and build future student relationships by providing university staff with the tools to meet recruitment targets in a competitive landscape, while building a holistic view of prospective students, capturing data from initial enquiry through to admission.

The solution delivers recruitment marketing campaigns and event management across email, text, social media and web channels.

“In addition, one of the key areas that Tribal offered was the accelerators,” said Finn. “We were keen to move quickly and the accelerators offered us that extra opportunity to move rapidly with pace. Drawing on Tribal’s experience in the CRM space in a university context was really the key.”

The reporting available in the Student Marketing & Recruitment solution will deliver insights that will allow the university to continually improve its processes and the services it provides to students. Indeed, reporting will allow the organization to develop and monitor key performance indicators and drive efficiency and effectiveness in its recruitment and support functions.

“Tribal’s SITS:Vision and CRM offer just huge potential around business process and improvement,” said Finn. The visibility of the dashboards and the views is really helpful for both operational contexts in terms of managers managing their team’s work, but also in the strategic sense of you know what’s helping with conversion, what are the activities that are leading to conversion and where do we put our effort because we know that we understand what works and what doesn’t.

Calvert said: “For me in my role, in particular, the real advantage of the Tribal Dynamics solution was that it has given me some real data insights. It’s allowed me to understand in much more detail which components of the engagement that we have with students are most effective, and which ones seem to turn the dial in terms of converting a student from an enquirer to an applicant and from an applicant to, ideally, an enrolled student.”

Since the 2022 implementation of the Tribal Student Marketing & Recruitment solution, the University of Waikato has been seeing positive change in the way it engages with every prospective student.

Calvert said: “The fact that the Tribal Dynamics solution now brings together our engagement strategy into one solution means that we’ve undoubtedly realized some significant efficiencies. Tribal’s Student Marketing & Recruitment solution automates many of the essential communications that go out to our prospects and our applicants – that allows our teams to devote their time to the real value-added work which are the personal touch and the engagement that we have with the students.”

Another benefit is the ability for staff across the university to support student enquiries as these will be carefully tracked and distributed to those staff best placed to address them.

Finn said: “The visibility that it provides of where people are through their journey helps us target the right students at the right time.”

The Tribal system will allow the university to develop service standards that will help ensure that it delivers a high-quality service that creates a positive experience for enquirers, applicants and students.

Finn said: “We are really proud of the fact that within two weeks with going live, people had settled in and were using the system and started adopting it as the new way of working. It was a challenge for everybody, but we enjoyed it along the way.”

Calvert said: “We’ve worked with Tribal here at the University of Waikato for more than six years and the relationship is very much one of partnership. We have confidence now that our success is just as important to Tribal as it is to us and the trust that we’ve developed really ensures that when we do come across problems or when we’ve got an issue that we need to resolve, we can have confidence that Tribal will be there to support us through those issues. There’s great communication and that is vital to the success of the projects and the ongoing development of our technologies.”

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