In an increasingly complex, diverse and fast moving sector we are constantly looking for new ways to gather up-to-date, relevant and engaging insight into our target markets.
Together with the publisher of Prolific North we discussed the possibility of launching a series of round table events targeting high profile organisations across key vertical sectors that fit within our strategic service offering. The first of these events ran a couple of weeks ago when we sponsored our first of three Prolific North round table events in conversation with senior contacts in the Higher Education (HE) sector.
We invited one of our technical partners, Acquia, to join in the conversation and to bring their expertise, their value and their global understanding of the specific sectors and the online customer journey to help shape the sessions.
It was an attempt to try something new, something different, for us to listen and learn from experts in their field and it was compelling.
The audience, made up of senior marketing and digital management at the some of the UK's top Higher Education (HE) establishments, met to discuss the personalisation of content in their context and what impact it had or was having on their organisation.
Prolific North have already provided a round up of individual comment from the panel here, which makes interesting reading.
But I wanted to look at the key outtakes from our perspective.
The key learning for us resonates across most market sectors at the moment - who owns ‘the complete customer journey’. As with most businesses and organisations at their size and scale, the customer journey is a complex and difficult one to navigate and therefore no one person, or team or department has total control over it - and they need to!
In the HE sector, marketing definitely ‘own’ the prospect and recruitment journey, but once a student begins life in college that ownership shifts to the university and/or the faculty, (or individual college or school) and when they leave university their ‘ownership’ gets passed to 'alumni'.
No one department or system or function has a single view of a student throughout this journey - and therefore no one knows the lifetime value of a student to their college or university.
Everyone accepts that undergraduate recruitment is the core function of marketing within the HE sector, but just imagine how much more powerful the marketing could be if they had a single view of a student from 17 to 27 or even 37, and then the ability to personalise and construct content relevant to that segment on an ongoing basis.
As was discussed at the event, the lifetime value of student alumni is a huge opportunity for education establishments and one they are all grappling with at the moment given the pressure on costs and budgets throughout the public sector. Although with measurement of such communications still not quite as scientific and robust it will be a while before anyone cracks this particular nut.
In conclusion it was a fantastic event to be involved in, listening to leading industry marketers share similar issues and opportunities. And for us to gain specific insight into the challenges faced by the education sector was invaluable, especially as it relates to our business and the clear comparisons with other sectors
The second round table will take place in July and focus on the sports industry and the role of digital in fan engagement. So if you would like to join the conversation please get in touch.