[Video] Marketing Automation for Higher Education


By: Christopher Tashjian Feb 27, 2017

Anthony Levato: Hello, my name is Anthony Levato, director of marketing here at Education Dynamics. I would like to thank you for joining me for another Spotlight Session, where I introduce you to speakers from the Conference on Adult Learner Enrollment Management – CALEM 2017. Joining me today, I have Isaac Moche, education partner, program manager at HubSpot. This year, Isaac’s session at CALEM titled “Maximizing the Effectiveness of Marketing Automation” will focus on actionable steps for schools to take to increase enrollment by creating compelling content, gathering the right data about prospective students, segmenting them properly, and sending the right message at the right time, so you can automate your way to increased enrollments. Thank you for taking the time to join me today, Isaac.

Isaac Moche: Thank you for having me. I’m really excited to talk about this and do this little interview here to let people have a better idea of what I’ll be talking about.

Anthony Levato: Great. Well, I’m sure our viewers want to learn more about your session at CALEM. So, a few questions for you. The first question I have: In your own words, would you define marketing automation for our viewers?

Isaac Moche: Certainly. So, the best definition that I’ve found of marketing automation actually comes from Scott Brinker. So, Scott Brinker runs the MarTech conference, he writes for Chiefmartec.com. He says that most marketing automation is actually experience-designed. I totally agree with him. I think it’s really easy to think of marketing automation as business process automation, but that really neglects that there’s actually a human on the other end of this. I think the people that we’re marketing and selling and hopefully are going to be applying to come to our school really deserve a more human  lens to thinking about marketing automation.

Anthony Levato: Great, yeah, so it’s more of a tool. People have to realize it’s a tool in your toolbox versus the entire thing. So, I have another question for you. Why is content so important when considering marketing automation?

Isaac Moche: I think content is the fuel for your entire marketing engine, not just automation, but for pretty much everything that you do. So, when you think about how people shop and buy in today’s world, that’s changed a lot. There’s this process of defining this problem that you have, exploring different potential solutions for that problem, and then picking a solution provider for that solution that you come up with. So, whether it’s a cost that won’t go away, or it’s deciding if, when, and then where to go to school, that decision requires input, and more often than not, that input is content, whether it’s a blog post, videos, social media, an email that’s sent through marketing automation that contains that content, whatever that is, the automation and the content that’s in there is the thing that is helping people make that decision.

Anthony Levato: That makes sense. That’s a good definition, one that I haven’t heard before. So, do you have any recommendations for how institutions should segment their database if they’re using an automation tool?

Isaac Moche: Yeah, I do. At this point, I’ve worked with thousands of businesses, schools, general businesses, and I think the trend is pretty much the same. So sticking with that theme of experience design. I really encourage companies to segment their database in three different ways or with three things in mind. And those things are based very much on what the user is going to be experiencing, right? Sticking with that theme of experience design. It’s segmenting by internal departments and functional groups; events, dates, and engagements; and activities and triggers that users do. So, I’ll break those down super quickly with some examples. That database, though, is going to be the center for all your marketing efforts, really like the brain, so segmentation really becomes an exercise in building the brain for your marketing. So take the part of internal departments and functional groups. So, let’s say that somebody fills out a “contact us” form on your website. How are you going to communicate with that person? Does that person go to marketing or sales or admissions? Then it goes to some other department, right? But, what about that application? How are you going to communicate? How are you going to report on the effectiveness of that follow-up? Should you show that person an entirely different website based on the fact that they’ve applied? Is there database or software somewhere else that needs to be updated? So, that one thing that might seem really simple as segmentation cascades into a bunch of different things, and so based on your internal setup, functional groups, who needs to know about what, who wants to report on what, that is really important in the segmentation that you do. The second thing that I mentioned was events, dates, engagement. So, if your business is running an open house or a trade show or let’s say somebody applied and they want to attend an event in person and learn a little bit more about that, you’re going to have those contacts segmented into a group based on that activity that they’ve taken, and that can be a great opportunity to tie that into lead nurturing, and nurture them toward that specific date. And then the last thing I’d recommend is segmenting your database according to activities and triggers that users do. So, I think this is where things get really interesting. Let’s say that somebody applies to your website, or that they view the application page and don’t actually apply, that’s somebody that’s raised their hand and said, “I’m interested in learning more,” or “I’m interested in potentially attending here, but I haven’t actually completed that process. I’m stuck somewhere in that buyer’s journey that we talked about earlier.” So, how could we use segmentation to do a couple things? To get a firm grasp on the number of people who are stuck in that process, to actively seek to drive that down by using marketing automation, and then also, how can they use conversions to improve that experience so that more people are doing it, right? So, you’re keeping track of it, you’re improving the number of people who apply through marketing automation, and then you’re also using conversions to try and bring that total number down so that you don’t even have to nurture them in the first place.

Anthony Levato: That’s a lot of great advice there, and especially as someone who uses automation in their job on a daily basis, segmentation is so important to make sure that you’re talking to the right person at the right time, if you really want to drive inquiries and conversions. My last question for you, Isaac: What are some of the tips you can provide to an institution considering marketing automation for the first time?

Isaac Moche: So, this will probably resonate with you since you do marketing automation a lot, but I say slow and steady. To be really, really overwhelming, to try and overhaul your entire business and automate as much of it as possible, it’s easy to dive in and then quickly really feel very overwhelmed. So, I talk to a lot of people who get really exasperated and they give up, so just remember, nobody transforms their business overnight. So, using those three suggestions above—internal department needs, events, triggers—just pick one thing that you think is going to have a business impact and try that. So, maybe you set up an automation sequence to get more people to attend an event they registered for, or maybe you automatically send out an email when somebody fills out a form so you can improve response time and hopefully increase engagement with people who already have applied. So, to just pick one thing and give it a shot. That’s my number one piece of advice.

Anthony Levato: It’s a good piece of advice, and as someone who uses HubSpot as well as used other automation tools, I can definitely attest that it’s best to start small, figure out what works, and kind of build off that.

Isaac Moche: Yep.

Anthony Levato: Well, I definitely want to thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for me today, Isaac, and I’m looking forward to hearing your entire presentation at CALEM on April 5th in Denver, Colorado. For anyone watching this, be sure to check out our website www.calemconference.org for a list of all 28 speakers presenting at CALEM 2017. Thanks again for taking the time today, Isaac.

Isaac Moche: Thanks for having me.

The Conference on Adult Learner Enrollment Management (CALEM 2017)