Imagine waking up in the morning, walking right into the kitchen with your eyes still closed and turning on a few switches that would send a whole set of automated arms and machines whirring around preparing you fresh breakfast and coffee. We have all imagined this scenario growing up and also wondered if we will witness such technology in our lifetime. How convenient life would be and how different our day would be!
Automation tools have already had this impact on organisations across all industries. Workers are replaced by robotic arms at automobile manufacturing plants. Long lines of trails and packing devices have taken over the daily activities of food manufacturing and packaging industries. AI and bots are replacing engineers and entire departments in the Software and IT segments aiding efficiency, accuracy and transformation in growth. In this blog, we look at what automation means to education marketing, how it is impacting admissions and what are the tools that any institute should have in order to be in the race and evolve with their prospects.
Automation is rapidly spreading its wings reaching every corner of every industry aiding growth at the speed of light. Our factories now have the least human hands and our homes are filled with automated systems that give us the ability to control everything on our mobile devices sitting at our office desks. It has not spared the Education Industry as well. From virtual classrooms to advanced Cloud Campus Management systems. Automation is at the heart of any education technology today binding processes and analytics tighter than ever.
According to recent studies, marketing automation on average drives upto 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead.
Although Marketing automation is a yearteryear topic to most organisations today, with AI and more advanced tools taking the centre stage, automation tools are evolving rapidly. Education marketing automation is also pacing fast to catch up with the trends. Largely to beat the competition, connect to their prospects and survive the fast changing world around.
So is education marketing automation tool really required for you? How can it help a small educational institute or a B school to grow? What kind of a tool should a large university or group of colleges consider? First, let’s briefly understand marketing automation and why it is important.
Automating any repetitive or manual tasks like sending SMS or email periodically, triggering campaigns based on certain activity is marketing automation.
The first marketing automation tool launched as early as 1992. Today over 142,000 businesses including American Express, Intel, LinkedIn rely on it to run and monitor their marketing activities.
The education industry is not far behind. 64% of educational institutes reported using at least one CRM and 42% who do not have one are considering one.
So how does automation help admissions or marketing?
80% of marketing automation users saw an increase in the number of leads using marketing automation software, and 77% had an increase of conversions. 91% of marketing automation users agree it is “very important” to the overall success of their online marketing activities.
There are 3 core reasons why any institute – big or small should have a simple automation enabled CRM today,
- Increase in Qualified Leads
- Increase in sales productivity/ efficiency
- Reduction in marketing costs
In education, with admissions being an annual affair, most institutes have a multi-task role for counsellors and marketers taking on depending on the time of the year. The lack of education focused marketing tools has also been a major drawback for education marketers. Today however things are changing and more companies are focusing on education, developing advanced lead management systems and tools like online application form creators, or landing page generators etc.
Any institute engaging in active marketing with a focused spend in a variety of digital and offline campaigns plus having a team of counsellors or admissions representatives should have a powerful education marketing automation tool.
What should be the integral features of an admissions automation tool?
Here are some of the basic features,
- Structured workflow automation
- Lead nurturing
- Social media engagement tracking
- Lead capture automation
- Marketing campaign automation like segmentation, drip marketing etc
- Data analytics
- Campaign performance analytics like open rates, click rates, conversion rates on landing pages etc
- Triggered communication automation
- Marketing ROI measurement
One of the important aspects while choosing an admissions & marketing automation tool is understanding the organisation’s need for automation in depth. Many educational setups with over 1000 branches worldwide would require a much more complex system that can cater to all their variety of needs across the continents, not to mention the implementation and support concerns.
Most automation tools today consist of these basic features. Some of the advanced features include artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, IoT, mobility, advanced integrations, insights & recommendations, etc. If your CRM doesn’t empower you with these modern marketing tools then it’s time you review some new players in the market.
How to choose the right tool?
Higher Education marketing automation needs should be carefully reviewed in order to understand which type of automation is most needed for the organisation. Some tools provide extensive reports, analytics and insights. Such tools are highly sought after by large setups like group of colleges and universities that have a structured process and draw very high volumes of applications. Fast growing institutes should ideally look at tools that provide seamless end to end integration with a number of tools. This makes it easier for decision makers to get a birds eye view of the entire process at their fingertips and take strategic decisions.
Some of the major factors to consider are:
- Plug and play
- Ability of customisation
- Ability to adapt to newer technology or integrations
- Implementation and support
A strong and powerful automation tool can enable marketers and counselors to work smartly and efficiently. As organisations move towards hiring the best resources who are well versed in all aspects to take on the millennial generation of prospects, it is highly important to empower them with intelligent tools and technology.
With many colleges struggling to fill out the seats it is probably the best time to review the right tool for your organisation and move towards efficient and smart self driven tools. The advent of education focused marketing tools gives any educational setup today the advantage of tailored automation and analytics driven workflows that did not exist 5 years ago. In an industry where only the fittest will survive here on, it’s time to move with your audience and adapt to intelligent strategies aided by intelligent systems to ensure your survival and growth!