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Duke Case Study: LinkedIn Alumni Connect

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Duke Case Study: LinkedIn Alumni Connect

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Brett Walters, Sr. Director, Duke Alumni Association, shares how the Duke Alumni Association successfully implemented a pilot program with LinkedIn to connect Duke Alums with their alma maters' Alumni Association.

Brett Walters, Sr. Director, Duke Alumni Association, shares how the Duke Alumni Association successfully implemented a pilot program with LinkedIn to connect Duke Alums with their alma maters' Alumni Association.


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Duke Case Study: LinkedIn Alumni Connect

  1. 1. Brett Walters Senior Director, Digital Services & Strategy Duke University Office of Alumni Affairs @bdubwalters Duke Alumni Network #inEDU16
  2. 2. Today’s agenda • Challenge • Solution • Outcome
  3. 3. % of alumni software sucks (circa 2012)
  4. 4. What do we imagine for the future of alumni engagement?
  5. 5. 1. Support and enhance current programs that are successful
  6. 6. 2. Provide opportunity for new forms of engagement
  7. 7. 3. Unify the experience for all alumni
  8. 8. 4. Build a sustainable and expandable platform
  9. 9. 5. Present a compelling value proposition to alumni
  10. 10. Timeline 2012 Kickoff 2013-14 2015 Research, coalition building, design Vendor build, LinkedIn API agreement, beta testing Launch 2016
  11. 11. RE-ALIGNMENT
  12. 12. FILTERS
  13. 13. LinkedIn import buttons
  14. 14. LinkedIn authorization
  15. 15. Verify Import
  16. 16. Remove Existing jobs
  17. 17. Import photo
  18. 18. Summary
  19. 19. % Registration Step 1 – Acquisition also includes: - Sign ins - Repeat sign ins - Sign in from marketing
  20. 20. % Profile editing Step 2 – Behaviors also includes: - Profile information - Directory searches - Class notes
  21. 21. % New jobs added weekly Step 3 – Outcome also includes: - Profile data - Event registrations - Volunteers - Donations
  22. 22. Questions? Images and icons provided by thenounproject.com and unsplash.com

Notes de l'éditeur

  • In this talk I am going to cover key intersections between our Linkedin Alumni Connect partnership and a major project we’ve been working on for 4 years, called the Duke Alumni Network.

    I’ve organized through these themes:
    the challenges we faced
    The solution we’ve built
    And outcomes

    I’m going to try and leave a little time for questions and would be happy to talk further at the reception
  • 2012: No offense to vendors here, but it was rough back then.

    Facebook and Linkedin were ascendant, and software for alumni offices was way behind. I think we had a misalignmnet between what staff said was needed and what customers (alumni in this case) actually wanted to use.

    We all were struggling to figure it out, and watching Linkedin eat our proverbial lunch
  • In fact, the internet we offered alumni was a digital version of this, an actual, printed alumni directory.

    Knowing we had a problem to solve, we took a step back, and thought what can we do that is not necessarily social, and thus not competitive with existing market leaders (eg Linkedin) but instead meets a need that exists and leverages the incredible affinity alumni have with Duke
  • And used Design thinking to put the question this way : what do we imagine for the future of alumni engagement?

    We agreed to frame decisions by asking “what is best for alumni?”  The thinking being, if we could present a compelling value proposition to alumni, then the institution would reap the downstream benefits . Put another way, what good is a feature filled app without customers?

    I’ll touch on this a little more in a minute but framing project needs in this way helped us convince internal stakeholders of the value of the linkedin integration with our site

    We knew what we had to replace: an alumni directory, profiles editable by the alums themselves, a website, group pages, and events

    There was an enormous effort to define requirements, but we maintained 5 driving principals to guide us
  • First,
    We wanted to capitalize on what we already provide as an institution, an overall engagement exists at the intersection of Personal, Professional and Duke.
    That is a clear, and strong, competitive advantage that sets us apart.
    Not only from other institutions but other brands on the market
  • Second is new engagement
    How can we scale volunteer support in a big way ?
    And how do we encourage the flourishing of new, volunteer-led alumni Communities

    We also wanted to improve communication channels and forms which would help us better engage
  • Third,
    Allow alumni to take full advantage of the entire network of alums.

    Institutionalize the partnerships and the resources : central IT office, University Development, and many others.

    Early on we recognized that our greatest chance at long term success was to build this as a partnership across Duke
    Meant a lot more work and coordination, but the advantages are many

    This meant working closely with the schools to include their particular needs, which we have done.

    Building the tech was not easy, but establishing a broad based coalition to support this project was equally challenging
  • Fourth,

    We knew we needed really good tools and wanted to use best of breed solutions where possible, rather than building everything from scratch

    As i mentioned in the last slide, our central IT office is a partner on this project, and while that has presented challenges, we felt that long term sustainability was going to be better

    If the responsibility for successful alumni engagement was shared across Duke.

    Also, it would mean that the product would potentially be less affected by shifts in the Alumni Office

    For the platform piece, we envision building new applications that are connected to this, and as an example we have a beta version of an iphone check in app that is connected to the Alumni Network
  • Fifith and final
    Back to one of my earlier points, for the alum, what is the value proposition?
    Why should I do this? What’s in it for me?
    To make all of this succesful we need to get alumni to update their profiles for the directory and more

    By building the Linkedin connection, we were able to let alumni update their career information with the push of a button, as I’ll show you.

    But there were stakeholders against this, in their mind linkedin was going to have access to our main CRM/Alumni Database.

    We presented the feature as providing a way for alumni to update their information but staff were divided on who actually owned the alumni information, Duke or the alumni themselves?

    Finally, after we’d met a few times over months, I shared a document before our next meeting, in it I compared career history for 2 dozen alumni: what Duke knows and what is in Linkedin.

    You can guess which one was better 

    For most alumni we knew maybe 2-3 jobs, and only had fields in our CRM for title, employer, start date and end date.

    Finally we had achieved sign off to include this feature
  • To show you a very simplified timeline,

    We began in 2012, spent time looking at off the shelf products to replace Harris Connect (now owned by iModules)

    We then hired a vendor and got to work, and launched in February of this year
  • Here is our homepage and a call out to the re-alignment of our office from undergrad focused to all alumni.

    In fact, the signed in part of the site: the alumni directory, profile, and groups, has replaced all other directories at Duke save for our business school. Once we have student profiles in the site, our business school will turn off their directory at which point there will be a single Duke alumni directory

    Notice also we have a prominent CTA, or call to action, for profile updating
  • One of the core pieces of the site, the directory, has filters similar to what you’d see in Linkedin, with the addition of Duke data.

    We update this area about every month, so it actually looks different now from when I took this screenshot

    In fact, in early October we will be opening up this directory to all students at Duke. Allowing them to search and contact alumni through the site. The students won’t see alumni phone or email address, instead, they’ll have a contact form they can use.
  • Here is the profile.

    You can see that I am on the Professional tab, About has family and Duke degree and student information, MyDuke covers current alumni activities.

    When we launched we had the Linkedin import button only within the professional tab. Usage was modest, so we decided to duplicate in what we call the hero area, as you can see it below the green button. Usage doubled once we made that change on the site

    Now I am going to walk you through the import experience
  • Here is what I see after clicking the import button, being asked to authorize with Linkedin
  • After successfully authorizing, I then see what is going to be imported.

    This area was particularly challenging to design because of one thing: we already have a record for every alum and in most cases one or more jobs for them. Some of these jobs are actually tied to matching gifts.

  • We also knew that offering options in this process, match one job to another, make a choice etc was going to put friction into the process,

    So we went with a default ‘Remove’ for the Duke information, again back to our limited study of 2 dozen alumni but also our anecdotal experience

    No one has complained about this yet.
  • Next we let the alum import a photo
  • And then you can see information on the professional tab of my profile after I’ve imported.

    Our Alumni Database (CRM) didn’t even have a summary field prior to this…

    Now for some outcomes
  • We use a measurement model promoted by Avinash Kaushik who is the Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google and writes the blog Occam’s Razor.

    It’s a three part measurement : User acquisition, User Behaviors, and Outcomes.

    We have registered around 8% of our target market segment since 2/22 mostly through organic traffic

    We are Targeting 25% by June 30, 2017
  • Step two, behaviors

    Around one third of alumni that sign in to the site edit something in their profile. We measure a lot in this area,
  • Step theree is outcomes

    We built the site to drive event registration, volunteer sign up, data collection, and donations
    Some of these areas are more easily measured than others, data collection being one of the easier ones.

    Thanks to the Linkedin import we collect around 4.5 ‘new’ jobs per import on average AND have more than doubled average number of new jobs added each week compared to our old site
  • Vs. the scientific method whereupon the problem is defined and a solution is arrived upon careful investigations. Design thinking is iterative and exploratory and ambiguous.