Lone Star College–Montgomery realized that its usual strategies for retention and completion were not enough to meet its goals for improvement. College leadership encouraged exploration of the use of analytics as a tool for accelerating improvement. The result was the formation of a Data Team that began leveraging internal expertise in analytics, developed its members in predictive analytics tools and techniques, and eventually coalesced into a cross-disciplinary, cross-functional group that tackled specific issues with increasing nimbleness. From 2016-2018, the college saw the development of hundreds of interventions and culminated in the development of the Digital Marketing Intelligence Center (DMIC).
The DMIC, housed in the Office of Public Relations and Marketing Communications at LSC-Montgomery, is a creative suite enabling faculty, staff and students to monitor millions of online conversations about organizations, brands, products and services, in addition to the college’s social media channels and digital marketing campaigns. The center has six large display screens showcasing current data and conversations across the web, similar to a small network operations center. A graphic display summarizing social media content conveys sentiment, share of voice, trend information, geolocation data and more. In addition to marketing support, the center offers educational and research opportunities to faculty and students.
The DMIC plays a critical role in cross-disciplinary collaboration, merging predictive analytics and marketing to boost student engagement, success, recruitment and retention. In the center, staff utilize Microsoft Power BI, among a dozen other tools, to analyze current and past student data and determine likelihood to persist. Various campaigns are launched to targeted students, depending on specific demographics, GPA, living radius to campus, and likelihood to persist percentages. For campaigns, staff first identify target populations and segment for maximum return on investment. Nudges are mindful, short and personal and are sent via the mobile application push notification system, the college online portal, social media marketing, Google AdWords/Display, text, email and phone calls. Staff also have access to college specific data to pinpoint at-risk students hiding in plain sight and develop personalized predictions that are timely, accurate and actionable.
Cross functional teams continually monitor opportunities to improve services, intervene when students have challenges, prompt specific actions such as going to tutoring, applying for financial aid, and registering.