In an effort to extend their reach to prospective students and do more with ever diminishing budgets, Australian universities are discovering the benefits of Marketing Automation as a core communication tool to help manage the complexities of the student lifecycle.
Why Marketing Automation?
At its core, marketing automation is a communication tool. However, unlike email marketing platforms and their batch and blast approach, marketing automation empowers higher education marketers to deliver a tailored and personalised message to students throughout their journey and relationship with a university.
The Student Journey
In the diagram below, we’ve outlined in red the core journey a student takes as they embark on their choice of a university or similar body. The challenge represented in this process is the changing nature of the ways and methods you can engage with a prospective student.
The Data Challenge
One of the key challenges facing marketers today is data and the need to create a single view of the student across multiple data sources. In order for marketing automation to deliver the level of personalisation and content you’ll develop, a single source of truth must be identified.
That single source is generally best played by a platform like Oracle Service Cloud (RightNow), a CRM, or even an ERP, depending on the size of your university.
When your marketing automation platform integrates with your content marketing platform and your CRM, that’s where the magic begins. When the marketing team has access to live profile data from the CRM, then you can begin to personalise your communications and tailor them based on unique student profiles or personas.
It’s been my experience that when marketers move from an email marketing platform like e.g. MailChimp or something similar, it takes some time for a shift in thinking and behaviour on behalf of the marketer.
The shift in thinking comes as marketers begin to realise how easy it is to tailor communications to contacts based on either personas, profile data or in the case of higher education, student course details.
The other indicator is when the effort is made to develop personas and then the realisation comes that trying to execute a contact marketing strategy with an email marketing platform is onerous, if not next to impossible.