Personalisation - Is It Time For Schools To Get Personal With Their Marketing

Personalisation is not new to school marketers, but most cannot effectively deliver it. 

Whether this is because their school website provider lacks the knowledge to support it, or they don't have the platform to deliver it (perhaps both), what is undoubtedly true is that schools can no longer afford to ignore it.

Here are a few personalisation-related statistics from the wider World:

  • 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations.
  • 72% of consumers only engage in marketing messages that are customised to them and their specific interests.
  • 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand that provides personalised experiences.

I don't think I've met a school that doesn't understand the power of greater engagement to drive more conversions. However, what schools all too often fail to realise, is that the most effective way of them doing that is through delivering relevant, customised digital experiences. Please don't take my word for it; look back at the percentages above and arrive at your own conclusion.

Wait, we have a question from the back of the room—a person choosing to remain anonymous; but who is yet to be convinced? "Our parents aren't like other customers; they don't want us collecting their data".

If you could place a sound effect within an article like this, it would be the noise used for the wrong answer in family fortunes (you all know the noise). And it would play directly after each of those statements.

Firstly, the parents and students that choose your schools are the people that make up those statistics above - they are real-life people who live and breathe digital.

Secondly, 90% (ninety percent!) of consumers are willing to share their behavioural data if doing so leads to a better experience. Said another way, 71% of consumers feel frustrated if their experience is impersonal. Yes, we're annoying people if we don't personalise their experience.

Need more convincing? Well, maybe you'll listen to your peers.

  • 51% of marketers say that personalisation is their number one priority 
  • 79% of marketers in retail are investing in personalisation
  • 63% of all communications used in travel and hospitality are personalised
  • A massive 89% of digital businesses are investing in personalisation

Or perhaps the proof is in the results. With personalisation shown to increase visitor engagement and improve customer experience by 55% respectively, improve brand perception by 33%, and increase overall conversion by 51%, the cost of sale can be reduced (which is just as relevant to a school as it is to a business) by up to 50%. The efficiency of marketing spending increased by between 10-30%.

"Enough," I hear you say, "I'm convinced - personalisation needs to become a priority." (Even the one at the back of the room has gone quiet.) But that leads us to the all-important question of how a school can effectively integrate personalisation into their marketing efforts. The answer to that question is neither quick nor straightforward, yet it is far from impossible - even with the small teams that school marketing departments have at their disposal.

At this juncture, I should also mention that effective personalisation is not putting a person's name at the top of an email or inserting their child's name into the prospectus or website. Real personalisation, or "Personalisation 2.0", can only be achieved by first gaining a deep-rooted understanding of how your customers behave online, what they need and don't need as part of their digital experience, and designing journeys to suit. Then through real-time data, tailoring that experience further, you communicate 1:1 across all devices.

In doing so, you give your customers who have grown used to Netflix-level personalisation in other areas of their lives not only what they want but what they need and have become accustomed to. (And I haven't even gone into the value that might come from admissions knowing so much more about prospective parents' likes, dislikes and behaviours!) Indeed, for those schools that can step up and embrace personalisation, the benefits are enormous, If not endless.

If you or your school is reviewing its website or would like to learn more about how personalisation could benefit your school, get in touch.

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