These activities included a range of what the procurement organizations referred to as "electronic" -- rather than live -- outreach and marketing vehicles including active PR campaigns (leveraging campus media), e-mails through university newsletters, direct e-mails and surveys. The team also attempted to lighten things up by having contests (e.g., name the product) and even providing modest prizes to winners. Procurement leadership also created online quizzes for existing users to test their knowledge and keep them engaged. For example, the team distributed a test to quiz users on the capabilities of a new product roll-out/upgrade. In this endeavor, they found that they were able to increase participation by linking quizzes to online information sources with the right answers, guiding users to where correct answers could be found.
Throughout these education, outreach and training efforts, Stanford's procurement organization took away a number of key lessons. First, they came to realize the importance of using multiple methods to reach users. Second, they observed the importance of marketing directly to those who place orders. And third, they continually measured the results of different programs, rebalancing their portfolio outreach approach based on what was working and what was not. As an example, the team found that prizes did drive adoption (e.g., during a launch of a new program, the procurement organization drew a random winner every hour, 30 winners in total. with the catch that you were only entered into the drawing if you placed an order in the system).
- Jason Busch