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The personalisation revolution of online education marketing

15 April, 2020 | by Michael Smolders and Peter Lawrence

Once an industry dominated by school leavers, tertiary education now sees diverse segments of people enrolling to study online. With students spanning generations and socio-demographics, from single parents to those who live in regional and remote areas, the opportunities to learn are almost endless, as new students readily access what was previously unimaginable. All people need is an internet connection.

And, as the advent of 5G connects more people with learning opportunities than ever before, there is growth right across the board.

But while online learning allows for a broader audience, marketing strategies are increasingly focused on communicating to the individual, assisted by emerging technology solutions.

Personalisation is vital in today’s digital age

As marketers, we cultivate a culture of innovation by keeping an ear to the ground for emerging technologies to improve how we operate.

OES was one of the first in APAC to integrate Salesforce and Google Analytics in 2019. The integration has allowed us to increase the effectiveness of our digital marketing by precisely segmenting our audience and using sophisticated algorithms to communicate specific messages to the desired demographic, at the right time.

Traditional market segmentation remains relevant to connect with audiences, but automation and emerging digital options are providing innovative solutions for how to refine each and every message that target segments receive.

As higher education institutions seek alternative revenue streams and vie for share of market in an increasingly crowded online space, personalised marketing for online education has never been more important.  By casting the net wide to capture entire cohorts of potential students but refining and tailoring each message and interaction in the digital sphere, we are seeing an increase in lead generations and an improved cost per lead.

Real-time results driving innovation across the sector

Not only have digital advancements changed the way we communicate with our audience, but they’re also transforming the way marketers measure the success of campaigns, and in turn, the way a campaign is run.

Traditionally, as advertisers using predominately broadcast channels, our ability to know who was sitting on the other side of the television was limited. With limited visibility to know who was seeing our message, let alone resonating with it, our measure of success was very loosely defined.

Digital marketing allows us to follow every interaction with our partner’s brand, and dissect it using advanced metrics which measure return on investment.

This has spurred appetite for tangible, measurable results from broadcast channels, setting the scene for data measurement at a more granular level. Buying advertising space on catch-up television has become increasingly popular in overseas markets due to the ability to choose specific audiences and target the right demographics – a trend that has well and truly hit Australian shores.

In a recent campaign for one of our partner brands, we signed on as a telecast sponsor of one of Australia’s premier sporting events to utilise the broadcaster’s cross platform strategy. Using multiple channels, including broadcast, online and catch-up television we were able to reach an engaged cohort of prospective students who may be looking to undertake further study. Through the partnership we were able to serve targeted messages about our partner’s courses to an engaged audience of prospective students.

Increased measurability of cross platform campaigns means our marketing teams are working more effectively to respond to results.  Real time monitoring of campaigns means real time reactions. If a campaign isn’t gaining traction or producing the desired results, changing direction or tact has never been easier.

The marketer’s journey towards greater personalisation

Innovations in marketing have changed the way we as marketers develop, communicate and respond throughout campaigns. The fast-paced nature of the industry today and the magnitude of data available, alongside individual student requirements across large demographics, has seen and will continue to see the industry focus in on tailored, personal communication to deliver results.

In thinking about the future, innovations in digital technologies and automation are only set to increase the level of personalisation marketers can deliver to their audience. Through these technologies, we can begin to engage in one on one conversations with individuals and create relevant and targeted messages based on the way users interact with services and products online.