Queen Mary wanted to increase lead generation and improve conversion of prospective students to generate incremental revenue. A key aspect of this was implementing automated communications throughout the student recruitment journey, making communications more effective and efficient and ensuring prospects are receiving the right information at each stage of their journey.
After carrying out an audit on the existing system it was concluded it was fundamentally fit for purpose however it had no longevity and had little potential for significantly increasing overall functional performance of recruitment nurturing and conversion activity. With this in mind our recommendation was to procure a Marketing Automations Platform (MAP) to help augment their marketing automation.
Key benefits of this project were:
- Improve conversion ratios – across the enquiry to enrolment process
- Incremental revenue – this would enable us to recruit more students
- Reduction of man hours through manual processes and reporting
- Better allocation of resource across marketing communications
- More relevant and timely communications based on prospective students needs
Time To Market
- Increased ability to respond rapidly to internal and external events e.g. post event comms
Best Practice Process
- It enables CRM and marketing automation process to be established, reviewed and evolved
Solution & Delivery
As part of the vendor selection process our input was purely from a technical consultancy perspective making sure we provided non-bias input and helped form a structured framework for selecting of the correct platform. At Hunterlodge we follow a technology agnostic approach meaning we select the right platform for the client rather than moulding the client around the tech. With this in mind we handled the vendor selection process as follows:
Specification & Scope
Defined core considerations and detailed requirements to be used in the vendor selection process:
- CRM Integration – the client had plans to kick off a CRM migration project in the future and was not part of this project due to budge constraints – with this in mind CRM integration capabilities within the MAP was a key aspect of the selection process to make sure we were future proofing the overall MarTech Stack.
- SITS Integration – the MAP had to be able to integrate seamlessly with SITS (student record system).
- Usability – it was important that the MAP was intuitive and easy to use so that users can take ownership and responsibility for its implementation and evolution.
- Training / Learning Resources – ensured users of the MAP had the necessary knowledge/training/support to utilise functionality effectively.
- Future Proofing – ensured the selected platform was robust and scalable to handle future enhancements (i.e. CRM integration). This is to ensure longevity of the platform.
- Features & Functionality – to ensure the platform had all the features needed to meet client’s requirements we used a detailed scorecard. This contained capabilities, features and functionality used to score the platform against.
Discovery & Shortlist
As part of the discovery stage we assessed a range of platforms at a high level on whether they were fit as a potential vendor based on the following:
Features & Functionality
SLA & Support
Based on our findings we recommended 4 platforms to take to the shortlist stage.
All short listed vendors were supplied with a specification and brief. They were asked to run a demo of their platform, running through a few scenarios with an opportunity for us to ask technical questions. Alongside the demo the vendors were also asked to submit written submissions for specific scenarios.
Review & Selection
Once all information had been gathered from all vendors the scorecards and written submissions were evaluated by the review panel and supplied to the client procurement team. They were then able to make a selection based on the scoring criteria and start the procurement process.
Hunterlodge took ownership and responsibility of onboarding to the new platform on behalf of QMUL. Once procurement was ready we were given access to the platform and started the onboarding process making sure we liaised directed with QMUL’s IT team and the vendor accordingly. The onboarding processing involved setting up:
Email Sender Domain
Single Sign-On (SSO)
Data Privacy & Consent
Roles & Permissions
QMUL supplied a full audit of all existing comms – this was reviewed by Hunterlodge to map out the student journey against the full marketing funnel. Workshops were run to make sure we understood the existing setup and areas potential areas to build on.
Once the full student journey was mapped out we were able to map all the data points against all the different comms – this was fundamental to identifying the data schema needed to drive automations. One of the other benefits of fully visualising the student journey was to easily highlight gaps in the journey and therefore feed into our recommendations to enhance the student journey.
This stage was purely focused on building the student journey within HubSpot and was made up of core components that were key for the marketing automation to work as expected.
- Data Schema – setup of custom data-objects to house and drive the marketing automations.
- Data Integration – supporting QMUL’s IT team who were responsible for the API integration of data from CRM and SITS into HubSpot.
- Data Management – setup of workflows for data management (i.e. unsubscribe mechanism, consent management, lifecycle role etc).
- Email Templates & Asset Management – setup a framework to manage email templates design and assets in HubSpot. Migration of email templates and imagery from legacy system to HubSpot.
- Workflow – setup workflows to fully orchestra the student journey based on data points.
- Testing – devised a thorough test plan to unit test all aspects of the setup (i.e. data integration, workflow etc).
- Training – ran training sessions work different users groups on how to use the new platform.
In order to make sure the project was delivered on time and that all issues were address or escalated accordingly we put together a detailed project plan and held regular status meetings with key stakeholders to make sure all deliverables were on track. The project was initially estimated to take 12 weeks from platform procurement to go-live. We were still able to deliver the project on agreed delivery dates even though the project was on hold for a while due to the procurement process – this just meant we were working against a tighter project plan.
- Sending out more relevant and timely comms across the enquiry to enrolment process.
- 99 email comms have been setup throughout the student journey to be triggered automatically.
- Robust automation setup – allowing automation processes to be established.
- Increased client ability to rapidly go to market with new comms.
- Maintained open/click rates (this was a lift and shift project from a content perspective next phase would be to look at email optimisation).
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