Compelling prospective student videos

Notre Dame has developed a great video-based prospective student page. Each video is well scripted and produced. All videos discuss how great it is to be a student at Notre Dame from a current student's perspective.

I like this page for quite a few reasons:

    Each video is large, yet they play smooth and crisp.
    Next to each video are links to content discussed in the video.
    The videos include stories of real students and show multiple aspects of student life.
    The videos are of professional quality; excellent use of music, camera angles, graphics and editing. The music alone gets me excited.
    They cover a vast amount of topics (housing and dining, international students, academics, athletics, etc...).
    Quick, easy-to-find links to the online application and campus visit registration form.
    The page is XHTML compliant!

Blogging HighEdWeb

So far, most of the presentations have discussed CMS and Portals.

Portals are great, but they could be much better. The whole site should be a portal. Take, the whole site is intelligent. You don't have to log in to get semi-customized information. Once you login, then all content is completly customized. The portal allows for this, but running on its own system. The portal should be fazed out and replaced with intelligent sites. More on this later.

CMS is awesome. However I still have yet to find a CMS that will do everything. With that said, I can see the need for smaller colleges to approach a redesign by narrowing down on a CMS

first and then designing around it. The message needs to get out, and a small team needs to have functional support. However, I would argue one should come up with a valid, standards-based design and then fit a CMS into it. By doing this, you are:

    Future-proofing. The future is based on standards, so should your CMS.
    Scalability. Standards will evolve, however new standards will be based on present standards. Non-standards based solutions will have to work harder, or not at all.

More to come later!

Web 2.0 + CRM = CMR

With Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) tools, marketers have the ability to define distinct segments of markets and push customized and personalized marketing messages at these target markets. By doing so, increased attention has been developed at individual levels.

By definition—if such a definition really exists—in Web 2.0, the constituents are in control of the marketing message. They define what they want to see by subscribing to RSS feeds, reading other customer comments and reviews, and listening to peers in social network groups. In other words, they filter the information they want in a way that makes sense to them.

Based on this, CRM and Web 2.0 have a disjoint—CRM pushes company-driven marketing messages, whereas Web 2.0 filters and gathers only relevant messages generated by non-marketers.

Enter CMR, a notion proposed by Christian Smagg on his Social Media Today blog post. Smagg describes CMR as "Customer Managed Relationships:"

It is a philosophy and strategy for collaboration with customers through the provision of tools, technologies, processes, culture, products and services … with a focus on providing enhanced customer experiences that will create appropriate value for all parties involved.

In other words, we need to find a way to combine the data of CRM with the customer interactions of Web 2.0. Engage prospective students with the ability to filter and find the information they want in a media that works for them. Leverage blogs, RSS, and personal pages by making it on-demand through mobile browsers, social network applications, and video in addition to traditional avenues.

The idea is to build relationships in a push-pull environment. Push the content and message, but let the student (or parent) pull it in a fashion that works for them on their schedule. In order to do this, provide any and all tools necessary. Let the audience figure out how to digest the message. Even go one step further: ask the audience how they want their information, and then provide it in that format.