University partners with Merkle Australia to transform marketing and boost enrolment
UTS is synonymous with technology and innovation. It’s the top-ranked university in Australia under 50 years old and one of the largest. It offers over 130 undergraduate and 210 postgraduate courses across traditional and emerging disciplines including architecture, design, engineering and science.
Maximising enrolment in these courses can be a challenge, particularly in the postgraduate space. While UTS has a strong reputation, a postgraduate degree is a significant undertaking. It may take some individuals two or three years to decide whether to invest their time and money into a degree.
UTS uses a mix of marketing channels to keep leads engaged throughout this time period. Until recently, however, its processes were very manual, and it relied on a number of different tools to manage individual communications and campaigns.
To increase its funnel and convert more leads, it needed to automate and personalise the customer journey across all channels.
A new way of working underpinned by Salesforce Marketing Cloud
UTS made the decision to implement Salesforce Marketing Cloud and approached Merkle Australia with a blueprint of what it wanted to achieve. It had developed the blueprint with another consulting firm but as the scope widened and costs escalated, it found itself re-evaluating partners.
Courtney Wooton, Audience Experience and Lifecycle Manager, Brand Strategy and Engagement at UTS, explained that the team had learned more about what would be required to fully leverage Marketing Cloud and implement their desired process.
“We needed a partner that would help us learn and grow as we scaled from implementation to adopting new ways of working,” said Wooton. “We were satisfied Merkle Australia's could fill this role with their expertise and experience with Marketing Cloud.”
Merkle Australia made improvements to the blueprint and worked with UTS to prioritise the capabilities to be delivered as part of a phased approach. Phase one, now complete, included the implementation of Marketing Cloud to engage postgraduate leads from awareness through to conversion.
Central to the success of the project was the creation of cross-channel journeys to support four key stages of the recruitment lifecycle: lead nurture and management, events, application and enrolment.
The automation and personalisation of these journeys required tight integration between Marketing Cloud and UTS’ existing systems, including its CRM, website and course information system.
The integration was carried out by Merkle Australia and UTS’s IT team and involved the development and testing of more than 30 integration interfaces.
Merkle Australia phased approach to the project ensured we got every piece right as we went along,” said Wooton. “There was also a really close collaboration between Merkle and a blended team on our side which included stakeholders from marketing and IT.”
The joint steering committee met weekly to review progress and completed detailed walk-throughs at each milestone. Wooton said the walk-throughs helped UTS see how the blueprint would play out in real life.
As the technical implementation progressed, Merkle Australia provided role-based training for the project team and users. It also provided training for senior stakeholders so they could understand the capability that was being built and how it would impact their teams. A play-book was developed to support internal training for additional users which included the central marketing team and individuals from within each faculty.
“There’s been really good knowledge transfer from Merkle Australia to the team and we’re continuing to build on that with on-site support,” said Wooton. “It gives us access to technical support when we need it but also advice on how to make improvements ourselves.”
Automated and tailored customer journeys generate new leads
Merkle Australia has helped UTS to transform marketing with the implementation of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and cross-channel journeys.
Communications are now automated with workflows and templates established for each stage of the recruitment lifecycle. It’s lifted the standard and consistency of communications and enabled faster responses to information requests.
Communications today are also tailored to each customer’s journey. With Marketing Cloud integrated with UTS’ CRM, the marketing team can trigger personalised communications based on an individual’s interests or where they are at in the decision process.
“By delivering the right information at the right time we’re able to generate more leads and keep them engaged,” said Wooton. “With the increase in automation, we can also spend more time analysing the customer journey and identify certain points where people are likely to disengage. We had no way of discovering those insights in the past.”
Merkle Australia is supporting UTS with this analysis as part of phase two of the project. Phase two also includes strategy and support to enhance and build on the capabilities already delivered to UTS.
“In addition to helping us execute the project from a technical perspective, it’s been valuable to have that fundamental expertise from Merkle Australia on Marketing Cloud and what it can do for our organisation,” said Wooton. “And from a project perspective, it’s really rewarding to have delivered on what we set out to achieve. We’re now in a great position to scale and maximise what we’ve built.”