Tag Archives: digital generation

Marketing and the digital generation – Part three of three

Competition for the attention of the digital generation is creating ever-greater collaboration between education’s marketing and digital technology services teams.

In the final blog in a trio of posts UCISA Executive member Paul Butler, Director of Information & Library Services at the University of Greenwich, predicts the next big game changers and expands on some of the insight on partnership offered in a related post by Greenwich University’s Chief Marketing Officer Iain Morrison.

THE RACE TO PERSONALISED DIGITAL ENVIRONMENTS HOTS UP

 

“We have a really good working relationship with marketing at Greenwich. We share, we trust and we work alongside each other from the top down,” says Paul.
“Web teams traditionally sit in marketing and there’s often a kind of a grey area in who owns the visual identity, the brand, the words. At Greenwich, the line in the sand is well-understood. The website and web team are part of both IT and marketing, which is unusual. Though the web team, Information & Library Services are the custodians, across the piste, of the platform, the brand and the visual identity. The content and its management, while policed by the central web team, is devolved and distributed into the faculties.”
“It took quite some time to achieve but there is now no mud-slinging about content or its quality. Everyone is essentially comfortable with what we have because everyone is pushing it in the same direction.”
“From a marketing perspective, there are three or four big areas of change in how we use digital communications and the technology we employ compared to even five years ago. It all starts with the student life-cycle journey and the decision to apply and come here.”
“These days it is like a sports car race between leading marques — we are ahead of some universities in some elements but we know others will catch up quickly.
“Yes, we provide printed prospectuses and technology has enabled us to provide contextualised print. But the reality is that online technology has made researching universities through the printed page an irrelevant past-time.
“Instead, we’re using data to understand where our students come to us and using analytics and business intelligence to concentrate our student recruitment resources around a prioritised and ordered schools and location list.”
“In terms of the website, analytics have enabled us to present and re-order content based on explicit knowledge of how our students and the applicant demographic are consuming information — they are butterfly-like and want it fairly thin and fairly high level.”
“While the call to action techniques we use might be cruder than Amazon in technical terms, we are using analytics to inform how we pull people in and contextualise information in ways meaningful to prospective students.  Five years ago, the job of doing this simply didn’t exist. Now it’s part of my head digital manager’s role. This goes back to why there’s an effective relationship between marketing and IT. It’s not just between directors, it spans the teams across every level.”
“Again, the job of search optimisation didn’t exist two years ago, let alone five. Being visible is vital because marketing starts, and sometimes finishes, in that twinkling moment of the prospective student’s first Google search.”
“Visibility across social media is also hugely important and while our social media team is not within IT, we obviously support them because they are using platform’s we’ve provided and everything we do is tracked, assessed and measured. We’ve seen phenomenal growth in the amount of online chat with our recruitment team — particularly during clearing. While phone calls have decreased, we’ve gone from one person manning the chat system to 10.”
“One of the most important things in this space is customer relationship management (CRM) and we now have a full end-to-end system from first enquiry to registration — and with automated campaign management workflows.
“For the future, I think information from our web interaction tracking activity could be used to inform, on the fly, how and what information is presented to provide a highly personalised user experience based on matching small pieces of provided information to past profiles that then opitimise interaction to get to a particular goal.
“That’s something, at a student recruitment level, I think we’re on the cusp of being able to do and we may even be experimenting with it at Greenwich next year.
“Something else that could also be here in five years’ or so time is the concept of truly personalised learning. We’re nowhere near it yet but if a lot of learning involves digital systems, digital content, online lectures and journals and the like then student learning styles can be tracked and analysed. Certain traits may indicate a particular kind of learner and you can then optimise their journey through their learning experience.
“I think some interesting examples of this are not that far off.  The necessary big data analytics are certainly getting there — although I’ve yet to see the data science tools that will allow the kind of interpretation you need. It will also take some time for data to go through a number of cycles to identify the patterns of success needed for personalisation.”

Key take-outs:

  • Use analytics and business intelligence to focus communication and resources

  • Consider how CRM can support effective processes end-to-end

  • Digital technology can support a personalised user experience

 

UCISA welcomes blog contributions and comment responses to blog posts from all members. If you would like to contribute a new perspective or opinion on a current topic of interest, simply contact UCISA’s marketing manager Manjit Ghattaura via manjit.ghattaura@it.ox.ac.uk

 

The views expressed on UCISA blogs are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect those of UCISA.

Marketing and the digital generation – Part two of three

Competition for the attention of the digital generation is generating even greater collaboration between university and college marketing and IT teams.

In the second of our series of three blogs on the topic, Iain G. Morrison, Chief Marketing Officer at the University of Greenwich, offers his views on a productive approach to partnership while UCISA Executive Committee member Paul Butler adds insight on how to achieve the best possible partnership.

 

PUTTING THE HUMAN DIMENSION INTO THE MARKETING TECHNOLOGY EQUATION

 

“You’ll very often hear people working in marketing, and even in other roles in HE, talking about digital first or mobile first. Whatever the fashionable term of the day — it’s human first,” says Iain G. Morrison. “However brands evolve and change, I think that unless you put human needs first you risk failure.”
“In my view, brands that succeed have a single uniting factor in common and that is an absolutely relentless focus on their respective customers and prospects. If you have that relentless focus, then everything else naturally comes second — whether that is digital, mobile or other priorities to improve the customer experience.”
“For me, it’s people first always. I think particularly in the space of student recruitment which is a life choice for students and young people. It can be daunting. It can be exciting. You can run through a whole gamut of emotions whatever age you are when coming, or thinking about coming, to university.”
“That’s why meeting emotional needs as well as helping toward a future career is so important.”
“While it happens in many other industries, I think close collaboration in terms of marketing and IT in this sector is key. There should be an aligned business strategy that looks at where the business is and where it needs to get to. Marketing, IT, and other stakeholders then work together to review, plan and deliver that through a shared roadmap. “
Paul Butler, Greenwich’s Director of Information & Library Services and a UCISA Executive Committee member, agrees: “I think it’s important to make sure that your entire organisational model for professional services is pitched at the right level.
I meet with our marketing director regularly and we share and have trust – having that ability to have those day-to-day safe, trust-based conversations outside the formality of committees but within the same reporting structure, makes for a healthy and productive relationship. It’s the same healthy rapport from top to bottom within all levels of marketing and IT services,” says Paul.
Iain continues the theme: “It often works best when project teams are created, as we are doing here at the University of Greenwich. Workstreams are identified within the overarching business strategy; and collaborative multipurpose teams are then formed. One I’m leading at the moment brings together various elements of marketing with our IT team so we can move our website on significantly.
“Likewise, we’re not working in silos but as a single team when it comes to other aspects of our digital transformation. Helping drive projects forward successfully comes from working together.
“One of the common themes that runs through a successful collaboration of this kind is communication. In the early days, teams probably need to over-communicate because marketing and IT still tend to speak slightly different languages.
“If you over-communicate, collaborate and work together from the perspective of the user with a relentless focus on improving the customer experience, I don’t think you can go far wrong.”
“However, IT has started to move away from the traditional gamekeeper role around infrastructure and protection. They are moving much more into the delivery of the customer experience and facilitating growth. So, now it’s about communicating to ensure we’re all on the same page and all understand what’s coming next.
“Personally, I’m making an effort to actually learn more about IT’s barriers and challenges. If you can understand where someone is coming from and fully understand their perspective, it makes for better collaboration.”

Key take-outs:

  • Whatever platform you are using, focus first on the customer needs of students in a human way

  • Consider how organisational structures can foster a positive and co-operative culture

  • Learn to talk the same language or over-communicate until you are on the same page

 

UCISA welcomes blog contributions and comment responses to blog posts from all members. If you would like to contribute a new perspective or opinion on a current topic of interest, simply contact UCISA’s marketing manager Manjit Ghattaura via manjit.ghattaura@it.ox.ac.uk

 

The views expressed on UCISA blogs are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect those of UCISA.

Marketing and the digital generation – Part one of three

Competition for the attention of the digital generation is generating even greater collaboration between university and college marketing and IT teams.

In the first of a series of three blog posts focusing on the benefits of partnership, UCISA Executive member Adrian Ellison, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor and Chief Information Officer at the University of West London, outlines some of the trends and future opportunities along with insights from UWL Marketing colleague Susan Vittery.

 

DIGITAL NEEDS TO WORK FROM THE STUDENT PERSPECTIVE

“IT at UWL has always had a strong, close-knit relationship with marketing,” says Adrian. “In fact, we’re almost co-located as there is only a glass partition between the two teams.”
“In terms of both student recruitment and the support for the overall student experience, I think it’s imperative that marketing is engaged with technology development projects such as CRM and our student record system, right from the outset.
“When it comes to student recruitment, there is a genuine market out there and it is a buyers’ market. It is real competition — which is why clever intelligent marketing is so important.
“Students are definitely shopping around. They are looking for quick, compelling information. We recently invested in a whole raft of course-based videos because students don’t want to read the equivalent of a prospectus each time. Real engaging content, delivered by course tutors and students already on the course, has had a huge impact. This includes an 11% increase in page views of our clearing and home page once they were mobile-optimised. Marketing and IT are currently co-leading a project to continue the latest phase of developing our website.
“For me, the key is getting students involved. If you are building a website to recruit 18-24 year-olds you want to make sure you’ve got that age group offering input. We have students in our working groups to help us refine things, not only in terms of design and functionality but also in terms of the tone of content and how it is framed.”
“You have to move with the times. Technology is pervasive now, it’s the basis of how everything works and we are talking to young people that don’t know another way of doing things. Digital content needs to be integrated, easy-to-use, mobile and written from the student perspective. We’re trying to embed that into everything we do.
“One big influence, both in recruitment and supporting the student experience, is in use of data and analytics. Universities have amassed lots of data about students but we’re never really used it properly. We were more concerned with complying with HESA statutory reports than we were in looking at the value of that data to us. Now it is about joining these systems up and harnessing the power of this huge amount of data and seeing where we can put some machine intelligence behind it.
“For example, we have an online chat system supporting the student recruitment process on our website. There is no reason why 90% of questions can’t be answered by a robot with only the more complex needing to go to a person. There would be a better experience for applicants as they could get more questions answered more effectively and 24/7.
“More importantly, we could use big data and machine learning to learn more about our students to then help us deliver better support going forward. A learning analytics system has been in place at UWL for over a year now and is really beginning to show that we’re having an impact — it’s looking at our attainment data, attendance, looking at our VLE data and then harnessing it to be able to start predicting things about potential student outcomes. That means we can start making interventions much, much earlier.
“Digital content needs to be integrated, easy-to-use, mobile and written from the student perspective. We’re trying to embed that into everything we do.”
Susan Vittery, Head of Digital and Web at UWL, finds close proximity and cross-departmental working vital: “What marketing brings to the table is an understanding of our users and what will engage them while IT has the expertise in establishing infrastructures and systems that are sustainable. As marketing becomes more and more based around technology and digital, we are working together on projects more, regardless of line management structures.
“However, having moved from times when we had little technology to a time when we have a lot, I think the challenge is not so much about the platform as getting the content right and understanding the audiences. Whether you’re doing that in print or via webinars or social media, the key is speaking in the right way and making sure you are engaging with issues the audience is interested in.
“I also think you shouldn’t try to be everything to everybody. There are so many platforms now and that’s something that’s both a challenge and an opportunity for all education institutions. Spreading yourself across all of them might be less effective than making informed choices about where your user groups are looking and where you can best engage with them.”

Key take-outs:

  • Involve students in outreach content and platform discussions.

  • Consider how data can be used proactively to improve the student experience.

  • Make informed choices and limit platform use to what works for your target audiences.

  • Use the power of data and machine learning to improve the support offered to students and ultimately their outcomes

 

UCISA welcomes blog contributions and comment responses to blog posts from all members. If you would like to contribute a new perspective or opinion on a current topic of interest, simply contact UCISA’s marketing manager Manjit Ghattaura via manjit.ghattaura@it.ox.ac.uk

 

The views expressed on UCISA blogs are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect those of UCISA.