New Trends in Alumni Marketing Technology

Introducing the CAMMP15 Event App

We’re excited to announce the upcoming release of the CAMMP15 event app! The CAMMP15 app has a wide variety of interactive features that are designed to enhance your experience at CAMMP in Memphis this year. Features include:

  • Events. Access complete information and schedule of events for everything that is happening during the CAMMP conference. Create your own custom schedule and receive reminders when featured events are getting ready to start.
  • Attendees. Network with colleagues with access to everyone’s bio and contact information. Set up Quick Meetings with colleagues right from within the app.
  • Venues. Complete venue information at your fingertips with interactive maps, locations that are attached to each CAMMP event.
  • Sponsors. Comprehensive listing of CAMMP sponsors with contact and website links in an easy to view list.
  • Polls. Take interactive polls during CAMMP sessions and receive valuable audience responses to gauge what your peers are thinking on a variety of topics.
  • Documents and Notes. Access CAMMP documents and make notes right from within the app. Send everything to your email when you’re ready.
  • Social and Media. Socialize with other CAMMPers and view photos and other interactive media from events during the conference.

The CAMMP15 Event App will be available for free download in the Apple Store, Google Play Store and accessible via Mobile Web soon. All CAMMP attendees will receive an email when the app becomes available and credentials to access the entire suite of features and information.

Get instant notification when the CAMMP15 app becomes available and text the keyword CAMMP to 41411

Getting up to speed: Aligning alumni marketing with today’s technologies

Prior to joining the team at MSM, I had the privilege of serving the University of Illinois Alumni Association as the AVP of Membership and Marketing. During my tenure at Illinois, I struggled with finding new ways to engage and activate the university’s alumni. It was a challenge to get them to participate within our association and consequently the university at large. The more effort we put into traditional marketing tactics, the more frustrated we grew with our declining revenue and participation.

Illinois’ direct mail investment was continuing to deliver poor response rates — declining to less than 1% for new acquisitions — and our new grad campaigns fell short with the bulk of alumni association emails going unopened.

University of Illinois Alumni Reconnect Marketing CampaignWhen it came to the digital marketplace, our alumni association had difficulties navigating modern tactics even though we were maintaining a decent social media presence, producing electronic newsletters, and sending specialized emails. We were unaware of the technological advancements at our disposal to truly market a campaign and successfully reach alumni. It was hard to know where to start. That’s where MSM came in. With their help, we were finally able to make the transition into a more effective social marketing environment.

Running an engagement campaign was our first step. Without any expectations of what success might actually look like given our past failures, MSM’s first initiative for Illinois resulted in almost 7,500 new Facebook page likes with corresponding updated email addresses, increasing our outreach potential by 133%.

danielleI get it. New digital marketing technologies can feel overwhelming, especially when implementing them at a university feels like turning the Titanic. But the power and impact of strategies like the ones MSM employed for Illinois are critical to reaching and engaging alumni today. I was so moved by the results I decided to revamp my career, becoming MSM’s Chief Strategy Officer with the goal of helping universities across the country advance their marketing.

View the case study to learn more about the University of Illinois engagement campaign, or get in touch with me directly: 888-714-7814,

Engaging Alumni: Cedarville University’s 5.15 Challenge

24-Hour Donation Drive Raises 2x Original Goal

At midnight on May 15, 2014, Cedarville University launched a 24-hour donation drive designed to raise $51,500 in a single day. The campaign was kept secret prior to launch. On May 15, alumni and friends were contacted via email, promoted and organic Facebook posts, and a university-run call center. A simple campaign website contained a mobile-friendly donation form, as well as photos and text for quick social sharing. Within 24 hours, Cedarville had raised $129,212.03.

A month earlier, MSM designed and executed a 30-day AlumniReconnect campaign to capture attention of Cedarville University alumni on Facebook, encouraging them to connect to the alumni association Facebook page and provide updated email addresses. In exchange for liking the Facebook page and updating their contact information, alumni and friends were entered to win university-branded gear.

The Alumni Reconnect campaign laid the groundwork for the success of the 5.15 Challenge, boosting the university’s data set by 11%. With positive social engagement from 12,879 Cedarville alumni and friends during the reconnect, the audience was fresh and ready to receive the 5.15 Challenge.

MSM email reporting shows that 63% of contactable alumni were reached during the day-long 5.15 Challenge, resulting in 686 donors giving a total of $129,212.03 to Cedarville — double the university’s intended goal.

In addition to building a receptive audience through the Alumni Reconnect, MSM was responsible for planning and writing all 5.15 Challenge Facebook posts, carefully managing the Facebook advertising budget, and writing, building, and sending three mobile optimized emails over the course of the 24-hour campaign.

Three Key Values for Alumni Marketing in 2014

Three Key Values to Activate Your Alumni Marketing in 2014

Technology is supposed to make things easier. But sometimes – particularly in a large university where different departments oversee various aspects of the institution’s digital footprint – it can feel complicated.

In terms of alumni marketing, however, effective use of technology can make the difference between a successful campaign and one that falls flat.

I’m not going to bore you with the nitty gritty bits and bytes here. Instead, I’ve condensed the three key values that technology can infuse into an alumni marketing engagement program to make it stand out over traditional campaigns.


A university is a vast place – much like the universe itself. There is infinite news from all its corners that you’re eager to share with your alumni, but how many of those messages will truly interest each alumnus personally? Choosing the right conversation to have with the right segment of your alumni is a crucial element in capturing and keeping your audience’s attention.

Enter technology, which makes relevant communication possible. The first step is using digital data collection to understand the interests of each alumnus, then it’s time to create segmented content that lines up with those interests. When English majors get emails from you about campus poetry readings (and not March Madness), they’re more likely to stay tuned.


Imagine you run into an old acquaintance you haven’t seen in years. You wouldn’t ask for their hand in marriage. Nor should you ask your alumni for donations or membership dues the first time (or every time) you communicate with them.

A little goodwill and and stewardship goes a long way. So does a free alumni association sweatshirt or travel mug. Before you ask for a financial commitment from your alumni, help them remember why they love their alma mater so much – and get to know them in the meantime.

In 2013, a technology-driven campaign helped University of Illinois reconnect and engage more than 5,000 alumni over a five-day period, simply by reintroducing their alma mater on Facebook and giving them a chance to win one of five daily prizes that cost less than $50 each. These same alumni are now participating in Illinois’ vibrant social community on Facebook. Give a little upfront, and your alumni will be more willing to give back.


Your alumni use a wide variety of devices that connect them to the Internet and their world of communications. Computers, laptops, iPhones, Droids – even some still hanging on to flip phones and Windows 98.

A whopping 52% of all MSM driven alumni marketing campaigns reached in 2013 read our messages from mobile devices. That’s half your audience! This is critical information to consider when designing appeals for gifts or alumni association membership.

Take a few minutes to evaluate your giving and/or membership appeal website and payment form using your mobile device.

  • Can you figure out how to make a gift or join from your phone?
  • Is the website easy to read and navigate?
  • How quickly can find the payment form and  complete the transaction?
  • Can you complete the transaction at all on a smartphone?

If your alumni can’t click a “Join Now” button in your email and complete the payment process in less than two minutes from a smartphone, you’re losing major money.

Technology is moving at lightning speed. It can be a challenge to drag your university along to keep up, but by aiming to integrate the three R’s into each of your alumni marketing engagement campaigns, you can certainly make some headway.

– Josh

Don’t Waste Your Marketing Dollars on Social Media

Right now, there are a lot of blinking lights and distracting excitement surrounding social media. Businesses are throwing ad and management dollars into social with the broad hope that customers will come stampeding through their doors. For most businesses and institutions, this just isn’t happening.

Social media isn’t a magical way to gain new business with a few ads and aggressive networking (e.g., posting on your wall, tweeting about your organization). Remember in the late 1990s when the Internet became widely adopted and businesses threw big money into hollow online ventures with no revenue model? The same will occur in social media without a true marketing plan.

If you don’t have a true marketing process attached to your business’s social environment, save yourself some time, money and headache and move your investment somewhere else. Why?

Social networks such as Facebook are platforms for people to connect with one another based off of their common interests, location, connections, and other personal attributes. Nobody I know goes to Facebook to see what ads are showing on their wall – they go there to connect with their friends and share their lives with other people they care about. I don’t log on and say, “I wonder what Ford Motor Company is talking about today.” I log on to see what new photos my family has uploaded or what movie my sister is recommending I see this weekend.

With the sheer number of marketing messages the average person is bombarded with each day, it is becoming progressively more difficult to capture someone’s attention long enough to effectively present your brand, especially when they are not focused on seeking out your brand in the first place.

When a business does capture a Facebook user’s attention, shouldn’t there be a process to draw them in and engage them in a way that moves them closer to becoming a customer? Shouldn’t it be fun, easy, and casual for the user? Yes. And yes.

I see many businesses on Facebook today making a major mistake. They spend ad dollars to drive potential customers to their wall, get them to like their page and then expect the conversational nature of Facebook to take over and provide free nurture marketing all the way to checkout. The number of fans you have doesn’t mean a thing unless it’s attached to a solid marketing environment – one that moves each fan closer to a sale.

Yes, you can use Facebook as a highly effective way to generate revenue.

Here are the basics:

Define your audience.
Don’t waste your time with people who will never become paying customers. Take advantage of Facebook’s ability to hyper-target your audience based on traditional demographics, interests, and their connections with other brands. The more defined your audience, the better the response measurement will be and the more accurate your Facebook Ad ROI will be.

Make a compelling offer to capture their attention.
Most people don’t go to Facebook to seek out offers from your company. You must influence their behavior by putting a compelling, relevant offer in front of them. Understand the difference between committal and non-committal offers, and use them appropriately to maximize response.

Collect the right amount data and usable customer feedback.
There is a direct relationship between the number of data collection fields and the form completion rate. The more fields a form requires, the fewer people complete it. Only collect the data that is necessary to move the prospect to the next step. Collect data that will allow you to segment the prospect into a specific type of customer. Make it easy for the customer to get to the information they are requesting in as little time as possible.

Take it beyond Facebook into a cost effective nurture marketing process.
Just because someone has shown interest in your product or service by liking your Facebook page doesn’t mean they are ready to buy. But, once they’ve liked your page, you’ve earned permission market to them. Educate your prospects about the value of your offerings by putting them on an email nurture marketing track. Change it up each time you communicate with them – people have different reasons for buying your products. When they do move into the decision making part of their buying cycle, they’ll be educated on your products and you’ll have top-of-mind consideration as a result of your nurturing.

Test. Analyze. Refine. Repeat.
A high performing marketing process is not typically achieved right out of the gate. Identify bottlenecks in each step of the overall marketing process through testing and simple data analysis. Make adjustments to resolve bottlenecks and move further down the funnel to the next one. A simple, defined testing and refinement process can reduce prospect acquisition costs by as much as 60 percent.

Contact Us

Activate Alumni by MSM
438 Main Street, Suite 201
Rochester, Michigan 48307

Phone: 888.714.7814


MSM – The Alumni Marketing Experts

MSM offers technology driven social media, marketing, website development and business analytics built specifically for higher education. As early adopters of all new technologies, we enjoy finding alumni marketing applications for emerging social and mobile platforms.

We know how to adapt to the rapidly changing social landscape — and how to lead our clients through successful transitions into new opportunities as they become available.

For more information about MSM’s full suite of technology driven marketing solutions, visit our agency website at