Beyond Boundaries: Transforming Student Outreach with Tribal's Student Marketing & Recruitment solution at University of Waikato

Posted by Tribal Group

The organisation:

The University of Waikato delivers a world-class education and research portfolio. With around 13,000 students and 1,500 staff, the university offers a distinctive and rewarding university experience, while pursuing strong international links to advance knowledge. The institution has campuses based in Hamilton and Tauranga and has a joint institute with Zhejiang University City College in Hangzhou, China.

University of Waikato has been a Tribal customer since 2017  and has been using Tribal’s market-leading student management system, SITS:Vision.


The challenge:

The university has traditionally managed several disparate systems for outreach, marketing enquiries and event management.  This has increasingly resulted in an opaque view of an individual’s student journey interaction as well as slow and manual processes for university administrators. The organisation increasingly required a solution 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, says,  “We recognised that we weren’t maximising 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 organisation.  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 enrollment.”

Tricia Finn, Deputy Director, Business Process and Change, University of Waikato, shared,  “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 actually that we need to go, we want everybody involved, 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?”


The solution: 

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. 

Mike Calvert says, “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.”

Tricia Finn shared, “One of the key areas that Tribal offered was the accelerators.  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”

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, whilst 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.

Tricia Finn says ,“Tribal’s SITS:Vision and CRM offer just huge potential around business process and improvement.”

“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.”

In addition, 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 organisation to develop and monitor key performance indicators and drive efficiency and effectiveness in its recruitment and support functions. 

Mike Calvert shared, “For me in my role, in particular, the real advantage of the Tribal Dynamics solution was that it has given me some real data insight. It’s allowed me to understand in much more detail which components of the engagement that we have with students are most effective. 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.” 


The results:

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

Calvert also shares, “The fact that the Tribal Dynamics solution now brings together our engagement strategy into one solution means that we’ve undoubtedly realised some significant efficiencies. Tribal’s Student Marketing & Recruitment solution automates many of the essential communications that go out to our prospects and our applicants, and 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. 

Tricia Finn shares, “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. 

Tricia shares, “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.”

The University of Waikato showed us that change is part of a continuous improvement journey and it’s a process that involves a great team and communication.

Alister Jones, Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor, says, “I think the University for the last year has been a place of continuous improvement - How can we do things better? How can we work with students more effectively? How can we be more student focused and delivering? - so we’re constantly looking at ways we can do better and how we can take people with us along that journey. It’s all very well implementing change but it’s taking people with you along that journey.”

Through this project, the University of Waikato and Tribal showed that their common goal to provide better outcomes for students are what makes their partnership successful.

“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.” Calvert shares.

Alister Jones adds, “This project was designed from the get-go to say we’re going to change the way we would hold student information, we’ll change the way we think about enrollment, we’ll be much more transparent. And so by that approach, we have to involve people very early on and a lot of our messaging was not about the IT solution but about how we do a better job for our students.”

To learn more about our Tribal Student Marketing & Recruitment, visit our product page or contact us. 

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