Notes & Notations

...and other disparate thoughts

Drupal Entities

What is an Entity?

  • A Drupal object that represent an object within the problem/business domain
  • Consists of : database tables, php code 

Where do Entities come from?

  • You discover, define, and refine the objects within the business/problem domain by working with the client (iterative process; use diagramming methodologies (ORM), sometimes driven by legacy data (already existing)
  • You use specific Drupal Hooks to define the database tables and to make them visible Views
  • You use the Entity API contributed module to obtain out-of the box CRUD

Why use them?

  • Entities provide a clean an d functional way to map real-world objects within the business/problem domain to objects that can be manipulated by code and persisited in a database
  • You do not have to forcea a mapping form the real-world to built-in Contey Types, whci Druapl provides, when that mapping is inapporpriated
  • Foreaample, a Donation does not map cleanly to any of the Durpal built-in Entities, (such as node, user, taxonomy)
  • Use of Entities facilitates writing correct, maintainable code

When to use them?

  • When you need to rpovide a clean an dunctional way to map real-world objects within the business/problem domain to bo
  • When you need to use legacy data

How to use Them? Take these Steps

  1. Discover, define, and refine
  2. Determine if you want to be able to add fields later on via the CCK mdule
  3. Create a Drupal Module that implements these HOOKS
    • HOOK_schema to create the physical database tables
    • HOOK_uninstall
    • HOOK_entity_info
    • HOOK_entity_property_info to integrate views

Drupal. @Uchicago, .Edu


  • Everybody wants a website and they want it now. Nobody has enough moneey
  • Sometimes saying “no” is not good enough. We need to figure out a way to provide options. A FREEE option, ideally.
  • We had an existing “template” solution, but it was not scalable and it was epensive
  • Support capacity is limited

Solution - Templatron:

  • Simple, multisite installation of a single Drupal 7 core
  • Minimal custom contrib modules
  • Each site is a clone of a “base” site, and shares common functionality
  • All themes and modules are shared in /sites/all/modules

After 1.5 years, nearly 150 lives sites, Requests for 4-5 new sites each week

What Makes it Work?

#1 - Features

  • Content types
  • Views
  • Strongarm variables
  • Other configuration (WYSIWYG, text formats, permissions)
  • Features are shared by all in /sites/all/modules

#2 - Drush

  • Applying core/module updates
  • Rolling out new features
  • Updating existing features
  • General maintenance

#3 - Simplicity and Consistency

  • Simple roles, no workflow, only basic functionality
  • It just works and support requests are minimal
  • Site-to-site customization is discouraged

Ongoing Challenges

  • Maintenance tasks take time
  • Single point of failure for a growing number of sites
  • Features

Key Modules

  • features
  • ldap
  • role_delegation
  • role_export
  • strongarm


  • Attributes for Mapping

DrupalCamp Chicago 2012: The Real Value Of Open Source

Microsoft get’s open source. In fact, Drupal now runs on Microsoft Stack (IIS and Azure). The new generation of Microsoft business management has grown up in an age where open source was prevalent and this has contributed to the shift. “Linux is a transformational technology”

  • Drupal is a tool making tool!
  • Drupal passes the truck test (if your lead developer get’s hit by a truck….)

The worlds largest open source projects:

  • Linux, KDE Apache, Drupal, Eclipse, Perl+CPAN, Mozilla+Addons, Gnome

Opens Source offers the same ecosystem that traditional commercial software

Drupal and Open Source deliver

  • Innovation
    • Invest in your team and your vision
    • Be the manufacturer AND the user
  • Cost savings
    • Speed via reuse
    • No license fees
    • Better, not cheaper
  • Risk mitigation
    • You own the bricks
    • You understand it

The four freedoms of Opens Source Software: The Free Software Definition (wikipedia)

  • Use it - for anything, anywhere, forever
  • Study it - understand what you are using
  • Modify it - fix it, make it better
  • Share it - redistribute, sell, give back

A solution to a social problem or a practical approach? Both 

Open Source » Drupal » Collaboration » Community » Innovation

Favorite Quote:

Drupal is a social experiment!

Increasing and Cultivating Social Brand Engagement

Cultivating Social Engagement
  1. Understanding business goals
  2. Monitoring
  3. Being present for opportunities
  4. Understanding your audience
  5. Targeting right message to right people
  6. Embracing existing conversations, interests, news
  7. Leveraging data to find insights
  8. Focusing on content

Get in Your Audience’s Head

If you aren’t asking the following questions, youa aren’t thinking about your aduiences(s)

  • What are they taling about on their channels?
  • What are their motivations to interact with my brand?
  • What do they need as a social customer?
  • What do they want as a social customer?

A model for thinking about content

Use The 7 Whiteboard Sessions Whitepaper (Base)

Create: content that speaks to the interests, needs and emotions of your audience

  • blog post(s)
  • contributed to industry blogs
  • Facebook posts/ polls
  • Twitter posts/ polls
  • Webinar series

Curate: best in class content from news, commmunity members, industry sources

  • Ideas and feedback from audience
  • Quotes, advice from leaders
  • Pre-during-post content and live webinar

Conversate: by leveraging existing conversations, interest and memes

  • #SocialSpruce
  • Shared best ideas, feedback through corp. social channels

Create Shareable Content (Ask three questions)

  • Why would they engage?
  • Why would they share?
  • Why ______? (your brand)

Connect Around Passion Points

Leverage Paid, Owned and Earned

Benchmark Performance by Topic

  • Awareness
  • Engagement
  • Action

Primary Measurement Areas


  • Content impressions
  • Video views
  • Fan base/growth %


  • PTAT per post
  • Post level (likes, comments, shares, high authority shares, clicks/referral)

Don’t forget qualititative

  • Anything that creates business value, such as: (thought leadership, customer resolutions  customer insights/feedback, influencer relationships, SEO)


Noel-Levitz: Communication Plans, Technology, and Tracking—Giving Your University a Marketing Makeover

Goals of Marketing Team

  • Align with strategic initiatives
  • Create new communications plan
  • Incorporate new web platforms
  • Expand reach to include international students

Admissions-based, rather than university-wide marketing emphasis


  • Vendor
  • Goals
  • Examples
  • Demographics
  • Analytics
  • Evaluation

Why Vendors?

  • Increase Reach
  • Segment Marketing: Out of state and international markets
  • Generate Leads
  • Note: Identify your goal(s)

Lead Generation Process

  • Student lead received by vendor
  • Enter in into CRM
  • Enter Communication Flow

Online platform to engage with office

  • Chat (utilize current students)
  • Webinars (free and private)


  • What is NEIUs CRM?

Noel-Levitz: Connecting the Dots—Advanced Strategies for Interactive Marketing and Campaign Performance Management

Some new ideas for interactive marketing and methods for tracking campaign performance.

Measure your impact with e-mail and web analytics

"Content is KIng"

  • email
  • paid search advertising (ppc)
  • social media marketing

*With interactive marketing, landing pages rule the world


  • Liveball
  • Ion Interactive ROI Calculator - Research if it can be used for calculating GA Page Value
  • Honest Seduction (Book)
  • MarketingExperiments
  • Marketing Sherpa
  • SEOMoz
  • MarketingProfs
  • Online Marketing Connect
  • Marketo Inc.
  • WhichTestWon
  • IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau)
  • eMarketer

Micro-actions (funnel)

  • e-mail, ppc clicks, and online ad
  • Landing page conversion
  • Post-click engagement
  • Acquisition
  • Apply

What is a landing page?

  • A conversion focused page (a bridge to help a person consuming your interactive marketing to achieve a task or goal.
  • A landing page that matches the user needs to specific actions that can be taken to fill those needs

Things to think thru:

  • What do you want your landing page visitors to do?
  • Are your messages  credible?
  • Are your messages to honest?
  • Does your landing page artwork reinforce your story?
  • Do you make it easy to respond?
  • Are your calls-to-action confusing?
  • Are you delivering mixed messages
  • How’s your spelling?
  • Are your forms simplified?
  • Is content matched in e-mails or Ads and landing pages?

Landing pages can have more than one page

  • All respondents are not the same: pre-conversion segmentation
  • Utilize escape hatches to not loose anyone who is not in your segmentation

Landing pages should be quick to create and easy to dispose

Measurements vs. Comparisons

  • Measurement are established benchmarks that are your own numbers
  • Make your landing pages into “islands” - Creative Campaign should correlate with landing page: One campaign per landing page or set-up google analytics to segment campaigns
  • Avoid pollution of dat

Testing vs Quality Assurance

  • Split A/B testing on conversion rate
  • Browser/ platform performance

Noel-Levitz: Maneuvering the Marketing Mix, Canadian Style

We need to do a marketing makeover. Based on this presentation we should focus on the following six elements:

  1. Understand your audience - Research and talk to new students. Get them in the room with some pizza and ask questions. Why do they come? How did they find out? What was the process?
  2. Figure out who you are - it’s okay to say ‘brand.’ Brand strategy—define value, attributes, consumer benefits
  3. The message matters - really think about what you want to say and how (i.e., idea, tone, format, etc.)
  4. Change it up - you shouldn’t be doing the same things you did 5 years ago
  5. Use the right tools and integrate them - this ensures success
  6. Test, track, and/or measure everything you can - you want to improve, right?

Some marketing ideas generated through this session:

  • Cinema
  • Internet Radio
  • Craigslist
  • Bathroom Ads
  • Digital Signage
  • Online Ad Networks (Social and Banner) - Use a company to manage your online ad buys
  • Transit Shelters - Students


  • Social Mention (Free)

Noel-Levitz: The Top Five Tips for Successfully Redeveloping the College Website

Choose Your Partners Carefully

Trust is key: To much at stake with an unknown entity

  • A website redevelopment project is a long-term project with many moving pieces
  • Pick a content management system that is robust
  • Experience is assessing and developing higher education websites is essential
  • Higher education websites have many stakeholders - your partner needs to understand the politics of the higher education institution
  • Higher education websites are large and complex
  • Higher education websites have multiple audiences with different needs

Do Your Homework Thoroughly

Sample Goals

  • Provides a research foundation for creating a strategic direction for the website
  • Improve the use of existing resources an pursue additional tools and resources to meet our site goals
  • Review team structure, roles and staffing

Web Opportunities Analysis

  • Studied the perceptions of internal and external audiences as well as our competitor websites
  • Stakeholders interviews
  • Prospective student user testing:
  • Current student usage and needs
  • Current site analytics

Evaluated current resources

  • Content Management System
  • Online forms, videos, calendar system

Evaluated current website using the following criteria

  • What are the benefits?
  • How do social media resources complement recruitment and branding efforts?

Five basic question asked by all prospective student users of your website

  • Do you have a program for me
  • Can I afford to attend or dind the right scholarship and aid options
  • Is the location righ for me? Can aI get classess to fit into my schedule
  • How do I enroll
  • Will I fit in to this schoool?

Create Your Plan Thoughtfully

  • Take advantage of availabel technology to improve the user experience
  • Improved search capabilities
  • Flexible site templates for multiple areas
  • Mobile device access
  • Video optimization -
  • Forms
  • Site checking software for links and compliance -

Maximize use of a content management system

  • User training and support
  • Writing for the Web Training
  • Worflow and approval processes
  • Page review and expiration plans **would be useful for current project

Improve information architecture

  • Reset main navigation usig collected data
  • Create site-wide nagivation and megamenus
  • Develop wireframes and conent maps

Improve Search Engine Optimization

  • SEO reports and blueprints
  • SEO training
  • Integration with content development for upper level pages

Develop new content on top-level pages and academic program pages

  • Create academic program templates and content through ongoing collaboration with faculty, department chairs and deans
  • Develop new feature content to convey sense of fit
  • Profiles of current students, alumni, staff and faculty

Communicate and Engage Internal Stakeholders Attentively

  • Communications and engagement throughout the process is essential for overall success

Noel-Levitz: Improve Yield and Enhance Your Brand Through Mobile Marketing and Social Media

Using the admission funnel as the framework for developing a digital media marketing plan for recruitment.

Loyola University Strategy

Integrate online/offline channels to improve yield at each stage of the conversion funnel

  • Awareness: request info
  • Engage: visit and apply
  • Accept and enroll
  • Develop brand advocates: alumni

Social/Mobile and the Student Lifcycle

  • Acquire
  • Develop
  • Retain and Expand
  • Retire

*Loyola University moved from fan page to group


  • Establish benchmark / measure
  • Fix your website to render on mobile: pages and forms
  • Integrate mobile into print: QR codes (video/story telling)
  • Improve conversion rates by adding a mobile call to action (URLs, QR Codes, SMS)
  • Mobile database building (collecting phone #s): phone number, opt-in.

Marketing efforts at funnel stages

  • Top of Funnel: Radio and Mobile: new digital mediums, such as internet radio, deliver a broadband and mobile user experience
  • Middle of Funnel: video is social: YouTube Channel and Link to video in SMS re-engagement texts
  • Bottom of the funnel: Improve Yield Rates: Facebook engagement (Admission Acceptance Vide0s

Mobile Communications: Apply, Open House Registration

  • HTML E-mail and Social: ‘Like” button, Video, Social media icons, Blog link

Social Communications:

  • Once users ‘like’ your pages, re-engage them with and actionable form, 
  • say thank you

5 Actions to take todya

  • Be mobile friendly: optimize web sites and landing pages
  • Customize Facebook pages
  • Add social media icons and share-it-calls-to-action to websites, e-mails, and landing pages
  • Begin the database build: grow mobile opt ins
  • Create and share multichannel marketing calendar

Colorado Christian University Strategy

Top of Funnel: Use mobile to engage to engage at events

  • Get permission to engage students via SMS: opt-in on forms, cards, inquiries
  • Measure to Optimize: Segment to Sr. vs Jr. vs. other; What content works
  • Facebook Ads: Demographic and Geo-targeted
  • Establish goal for the ad: Awareness or Conversion?

Multichannel Marketing Roadmap: Phase 1—Walk \ Strategy, Roadmap, Capabilities

  • Channel Plan: Key Priorities: Facebook, Campus Tour, Recruiting Events, Website, Email, Direct Mail, TExt Message Marketing, Organic/paid search/online display, iPhone/Droid apps
  • Facebook: Customize Facebook page, 1 contest + 3 posts/ month; Facebook ad buys
  • Campus TourYouTube video; Ambassador script; mobile bar codes/ text messaging
  • Recruitment Events: Mobile web page, text message / QR code/ iPad app
  • Website (PC & Mobile): Home page; Email/mobile phone number sign-up page
  • Email: Fix to read on mobile phones; integrate
  • Direct Mail: Postcard mailing largely replace view book. Add QR cod/text call to action
  • Text Message Marketing: Push (1x/mo.) = Pull (ongoing) | Targeted messages: dinner time (parents exposure) and lunch time (the friends see it)
  • Organic/paid search/ online display: Re-marketing; Add mobile to paid search
  • iPhone/Droid apps: Pull: landing page on website; Push: 2-3/mo. app notifications

Content Calendar: Theme/Focus Q3,Q4,Q1, and Q2

  • Execute
  • Plan/ Develop
  • Measure

Noel-Levitz: Social Media—Information on a Hot, Tin Roof

Develop a Social Media Strategy

  • Keept it part of the communication plan
  • Ensure that flows naturally

Weekly Social Media Calendar: Work with PR

  • Every Friday prepare calendar for the following week
  • Admission events
  • University events

Track and Analyze Everything: Website and Facebook and Twitter
Google Analytics Link percentages, use to make an argument about what should be on the home page

  • Visitor Overview (2 year comparison) Using Social media vs Without: unique visitors; pages per visit; visit duration
  • Traffic Overview: referral and direct
  • Navigation Summary
  • Top Content
  • Facebook Analytics: Reach (engaged users)


Full Digital Campaign (Geo-Targeting: zip code specific): Facebook Ads

What is the difference between reach, impressions, and engaged?

How do you handle the weekends? Use Hootsuite and Facebook to schedule posts. Facebook now allows you to schedule posts directly without using a third-party solution.

Create a Class of Page

  • Launch November of each year
  • Push to all accepted students

Group vs. Page

  • Group provides greater control
  • Group creates community

*Photos on Friday are more effective


  • Crowdbooster to measure Twitter analytics


  • Create more video
  • Deliberate videos that are interesting garner more views

Social Media: Status

  • What is the impact on driving traffic to the website
  • Tap into “Friends of Fans” to grow reach/constituent base
  • Measure
  • Followers on Twitter are more likely to consume content

Impact on New Student Funnel

  • Measure Admission outcomes against website as primary source
  • Use social media referral as a segment

Future Steps:

  • Continue to expand ‘reach’
  • Improve and increase use of video in all social media platforms
  • Incorporate new technologies for automation and analysis into the on-going 6-month cycle