Our client is a public university based with over 17,000 students. It provides vocationally-relevant, accredited and professionally recognised education.
What they needed
More than ever before, universities are looking for new ways to remain an attractive and affordable option for prospective students. The higher education system is going through considerable change – tuition fees are rising and government funding is decreasing. As tuition fees rise, prospective students are also becoming more driven by employability and career prospects as a measure of value for money when selecting study options.
Within this climate, other funding routes – such as employer sponsored study or higher level apprenticeships – are increasingly important revenue streams for universities, and our client wanted to leverage their position as a vocationally-focussed institution to adapt to this changing market landscape before their competitors.
We initially began working with our client after winning a contract through an open tender process, and have since gone on to extend our relationship across three different departments. A key driver for our client is improving interdepartmental collaboration when working with business – to realise the full potential of every business relationship.
What we did
We initially worked on a project to promote Innovate UK funded Knowledge Transfer Partnerships. The project is part-funded but still requires substantial financial and resource commitments over a period of several years from participating businesses – our focus was therefore on identifying businesses which may have a potentially suitable project. We built and nurtured a warm lead pipeline, engaging with multiple decision makers across organisations to understand their business objectives and understand what relevant projects they could have. Our campaign was so successful in generating sales opportunities for the team that it has been temporarily paused to allow the team to service the clients we generated.
We have since gone on to work with five different teams across three departments within the university – this includes Business & Enterprise, Employer Sponsored Study and the Employability. Each department has their own data, their own marketing strategies, and their own links to businesses. Previously, this data had been held very separately; however, they wanted to fully leverage these business relationships by sharing information to allow cross-selling between departments. Our client approached us to help facilitate this cross-functional coordination and so they could better fulfil their business potential.
Our client also wanted to increase proactive engagement within individual departments, as well as improving way information was shared between departments. For example, in the Employer Sponsored Study department, the data was used for invoicing purposes only. Whilst these businesses were paying for the students’ tuition fees, the university had not previously built a direct relationship with the businesses. Within the Employability team, businesses were able to register themselves to post jobs on the university’s employment portal, but the team had not proactively engagement with businesses to promote their services. By cleansing the data, we facilitated a broader business transformation process – providing the information the teams needed to put more proactive business engagement processes in place in future.
In each case, we analysed the data already held by the individual department, and found ways to improve and enhance its quality. We used a range of technical cleansing techniques, including de-duplication, PAF matching and data appending, to archive outdated records and source new details. We also extended the scope of the marketing databases by modelling the profile of businesses they worked with already and purchasing additional data which mirrored this. We then contacted businesses directly to map in additional contact details and to understand their areas of interest. As well as immediately generating new leads, this provided the foundation for future marketing efforts. The enhanced and updated databases could be used for marketing within each department, and provided data in a format that could be shared between teams, enabling departments to cross-sell between them and facilitating better interdepartmental working.
Our market insights were also invaluable for driving marketing strategy development. For example, understanding the process by which most employers select study options for employees enabled them to develop processes for targeting businesses effectively. We also drew up a series of segmentation criteria to allow them to target their prospect base with the right communications, and fed back details of the services and qualifications proving most popular.
What we achieved
From initially winning the tender to work on a very specific telemarketing campaign, we have worked across the university and have been at the heart of their plans for increasing revenue from business. Across the time we’ve worked with our client, we have generated over 600 leads and cleansed over 8,000 records for five teams across three different departments. By providing vastly enhanced marketing databases, we have facilitated a broader business transformation in the way departments communicate with businesses, and in how they share information with each other.