Sasha Peterson, CEO of TargetX, kicked off the 2017 TargetX Summit in Chicago, IL with a keynote address that outlined the agenda of the two-day conference that includes 58 different sessions, as well as revealed a bold new vision for the company.
To drive home the point that technology has rapidly changed our world, Peterson began with a video of a two-year-old child who is able to effortlessly navigate an iPad to play videos, listen to music, and Skype his grandpa based on simple prompts from his mother. Baby Chase is the Class of 2033.
What are campuses doing to be prepared for the Class of 2033? Is education fixed in its ways or future-focused? These are the questions Peterson posed to the audience members filled with higher education leaders.
Historically, higher education has been known to lag behind other industries in the adoption of innovative technology use, slowly moving through three “revolutions.” The first was the move to paperless. Then, to a basic CRM, and, more recently, to a shared platform that finally broke down department silos with the aid of the cloud. Now, higher education technology is on the cusp of another revolution; TargetX plans to lead it, says Peterson.
All three of the earlier revolutions had one thing in common, noted Peterson. They made life easier for those in the admissions offices doing the outreach. However, the future will demand that the student be at the center. It will require “you-centric” approaches, or a YOUser revolution, for institutions to remain relevant in a rapidly changing market where consumers can split the bill via text, track food orders on a smart watch, or talk to their TVs.
The new TargetX will partner with its customers to help them challenge the status quo and be competitive for the “you-centric” generations, building on early YOUser-centric innovations like the mobile-first application and Schools App.
Sixty-seven percent of students complete part of their application on their phone; yet, TargetX is the only company to offer a completely student-first, mobile-first online application. Peterson says, “That’s a first step, but not part of an experience. As part of our new approach, we are going to think about how to create a cohesive, seamless experience for students all the way through. We need to make the student feel like they are part of a lifelong, engaged relationship with their campus.”
Peterson encouraged the audience to “push us harder and we will push you harder.” He cautioned to not do so would result in higher costs for recruitment and retention. Even more costly, institutions will “risk irrelevance” if they do not innovate and personalize.
As part of the new vision for TargetX— in which the company will move from providing student lifecycle solutions to student delight solutions—the company has launched a rebrand and refresh of its website.