It takes a lot of hard work and coordination to maintain strong on-campus channels of communication, but the payoff — a loyal customer base, timely adoptions and ensuring that your store is a vital part of your school’s ecosystem — is definitely worth it. The staff of Titan Shops at California State University-Fullerton have their campus outreach down to a science, with the results to prove it.“Our current strategy has been in place for three years," Director Kim Ball said. "It’s been really successful — because of our faculty connections, we had 85% of our adoptions turned in by the campus due date for this term. And our average is about 68% on time.”
While many college stores set up departmental visits or sit down periodically with administration and faculty to discuss relevant issues like adoptions, course materials options and student savings, Titan Shops takes it a step further with a detailed, multi-part approach.“Our full time staff is assigned to one of four teams,” Ball said. “The teams cover faculty, athletics and alumni, academics and students, and are comprised of one senior manager as the team leader, with three to four others from different departments in supporting roles.
“They’re required to make a certain amount of visits to their targets per year,” she continued. “For example, this past year, our goal was 360 visits — we actually made 475 visits throughout the year.”
In addition to the regular visits from staff members, Titan Shops offers monetary incentives to faculty who submit their adoptions on time. The Textbook Requisition Rewards program has been in place since 1999 and has issued over $1 million in scholarship funds and credit towards in-store purchases.In order to further enhance communication on campus, a new position was created this year: Campus Engagement Specialist. According to Ball, one of the primary functions of his role will be to educate faculty about the different types of available course materials and the impact each option could have on students.
To develop a stronger network, Ball says the most important factor is finding something relevant to the target. “You just have to put yourself out there and begin the conversation. To start with, you could go to anyone on campus you’ve already spoken with or emailed and let them know about a program or service your store offers. Go over the booklist and make sure they know what their options are.”