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There's so much focus on using Eloqua externally I was curious to see if anyone has had any experience using it internally, if so what type of campaigns, segments etc ...?

This week I attended the Alliance14 Conference. The conference was held in Las Vegas. I’m not a gambler, but I do enjoy watching high stakes gambling.  As I walked through the MGM Grand I stopped by to watch a game of roulette. The man playing placed a $1,000 bet. And he lost.

Amazing isn’t it?  The idea of betting a $1,000 on the spin of a wheel?  It did get me thinking about the number of higher ed institutions who are willing to make a similar gamble with their student, alumni, and donor communications.  Communications have changed dramatically, yet many organizations are hesitant about adjusting their communication strategies.

Here’s how I selected a college in 1998. I looked at a big book of schools. I browsed pamphlets touting their diversity, and I sorted through hundreds of pieces of mail.  I weighed the pros and cons of each school.  I filled out paper applications, printed off my essays, gathered my transcripts and mailed in everything along with a check.

Then I received it! My acceptance letter!  I then received a series of letters about orientation, a note regarding my dorm assignment, and a phone call from my resident advisor.   And that was sufficient, back then.  But let’s take a look at how university engagement has evolved over time.

College discovery included resources like books, letters, and brochures.  Now prospective students consult websites and social media as well.  Campus tours were always in person, as opposed to the virtual tour options that exist today.  Selection was influenced by immediate family and close friends.  Today the sphere of influence now includes a vast extended social network. College applications have shifted from paper to electronic. Student engagement is no longer limited to chalking on the sidewalk and bulletin boards.  Students now rely on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

And universities aren’t just facing a change in communication channels. The pressure to demonstrate results is on the rise.  You need to capture and analyze metrics that matter.  You need to better understand engagement programs, events, and tour data.  And need you need to make smarter business decisions based on this information. With tools like marketing automation you can capture this information.  You can capture the digital body language and the in-person engagement. You can demonstrate results, identify areas of opportunity, and better engage your audience.  An audience that is growing in complexity.

They’re also facing an evolution in audience segmentation.  It’s not just “Students and Prospective Students”.   Segmentation now looks something like this:  Current students (both individually and student groups), alumni, faculty and staff, donors with a connection, donors without a connection, sports fans, people interested in research, prospective undergraduate students, prospective graduate students, prospective faculty members and news media to name a few.  Marketing automation can capture this segmentation and reduce the complexity of communications.

Universities must develop loyalty.  It’s what drives new student interest, current student engagement which drives increased academic performance and graduation rates, and increased contributions from alumni. This loyalty can be driven by a 1:1 relationship to effectively engage with these segments.  And beyond that, communications need to deepen segmentation and focus on the individual.

By using marketing automation you can deliver that personalized content to that individual, understand and manage their preferences, and define metrics that will guide your institution’s discussion around loyalty.

Student recruitment and alumni fundraising campaigns need to reach the individual.  They need to contain sentiment and that’s challenging to do with a batch and blast mentality.  Campaigns, and content creation, need be relevant, promote the university brand, and be automated.


Let’s look at 2 case studies.

Indiana University engages its students in content creation.  Everyday students upload proposed blogs to the University content management system, Compendium.  The content director simply logs into the system, reviews and edits blogs for branding, grammar, etc and then publishes the blogs.  IU generates hundreds of posts, in the voice of the student, every year, and with little work.

When I spoke with a student at St. Joe's she explained that their content is driven both by students and faculty.

“At St Joe's I would say it goes 60% faculty, 40% students, but the student generated content is by far more effective.”

College recruitment is gradually going paperless; In the 4 year leading up to college selection, a student receives hundreds (maybe thousands) of college emails. This presents a challenge to recruiting universities because they only have a subject line to grab a student’s attention. Some schools still rely on obscure subject lines ("ABC college is the best"), and some are downright creepy ("Marilyn, ABC College needs you") but somewhere in between those lies a creative opportunity for an attention-getting subject line.  The goal of these recruitment emails should also shift from the hard sell “Apply Now” to a more nurture-centric message. It should encourage prospective students to visit the website, or engage with a social account.  And the digital body language of an individual should determine which communications they receive.  Marketing automation can capture this digital body language, and automate nurturing, recruiting, and fundraising communications.  

Colleges now encourage prospective and current students to follow their twitter pages.  St Joseph's asked recently accepted students (class of 2018) to tweet a picture of them with their acceptance letters, and they retweeted all of the pictures to associate an extremely positive affect with getting accepted.

Twitter also has easily accessible "insider" resources when looking at schools.

“@SJUProbs, @SJUBetch. These twitter accounts give you the inside scoop on what you can really expect when you go to a particular school, so I knew exactly how bad the cafeteria food would be before I even tried it. Finding resources like these were probably my most valuable digital tool when I was making my ultimate decision. Also, every semester for one day, the SJU twitter account is "taken over" by current students who answer any questions prospective undergrads would have regarding the school.”

At some schools, if you tweet the dining hall about wanting a certain dish or certain ice cream they'll have it the next day!

Social media tools can capture social engagement and enter a student, parent, alumni, or donor into an appropriate communication channel delivering relevant content and information.

Many universities posts pictures of pretty spots on campus, exciting school events, and admissions open houses.

“SJU benefited HUGELY because as a part of their summer freshman orientation program, there is a surprisingly "cool" black light dance with glow paint and an amazing DJ. A lot of the incoming freshmen took these insane photos and videos during the black light dance and so all of their high school friends saw the posts and even went so far as to comment that St. Joes looks like a lot of fun. This is great advertising for SJU because they aren't even the ones posting these videos; the students do it all themselves.”

Video is huge and continues to grow.  Video is a great way to demonstrate student life, and thanks to marketing automation, now more than ever it’s easier to track engagement with video and deliver relevant communications based on this engagement.

A lot of universities use social media as a platform to facilitate community development and engagement.  This is a great medium for people to ask questions about moving in, getting class schedules, etc, and some people even meet their roommates through the group.

“Our University of Maryland Baltimore County freshman class had a Facebook group so during summer we communicated with each other, we talked about books, what classes people were taking, professors, we even had older students give us advice about UMBC.”

But as with all digital channels, they’re only as good as the content delivered. 

When I spoke with a student at McGill University he said “They mostly post about research being conducted at the university and sometimes classroom changes. I don't really engage them with social media.  If they mentioned who was coming to speak every so often I'd be more interested in engaging. For example, the Queen's Canadian emissary came and spoke but no one knew she was coming until after she had spoken, and we all wished we had known”

Institutions like Harvard, DeVry, NIU, Kaplan, Ashworth, and Herzing are using these tactics, combined with marketing automation, to grow enrollment, increase retention and graduation rates, expand fundraising, and promote greater engagement.

It’s important to take a multi-channel marketing approach to your communications strategy.  You need to incorporate all channels (web, social, video, email, and personal communications) into the student journey. Remember to segment and target your communications, crowdsource relevant content, capture digital engagement, and automate the process.

Finally, bring all of those takeaways together to match communications with interests and preferences. This will ultimately enhance the student experience, increase loyalty, drive contributions, and drive enrollment.


Hi Everyone,


I was hoping my Topliner peers could share advice on what kind of templates you use for mobile friendly weekly newsletters. Your input on what you have found works well or recommendations for agencies that have designed your newsletter templates would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks for your help!

Lately, I have read a lot of great posts that got me thinking. Marilyn Cox produces content faster than I can spit up my ideas but I will try to match her speed light writing for once! As Modern Marketers, we talk a lot about how to use digital marketing tactics and CRM to manage customer life cycles. We are no longer talking in terms of B2B, B2C or B2G, we have moved to the H2H (Human to Human) age.


One area of high cost for any organization continues to reside in the employee pool. This segment seems somehow largely untapped. How do you take care of your best assets and retain them while keeping the cost down when possible? Marilyn wrote a great article about it here already: How to Drive Financial Services Recruitment Results. I totally agree with her, if you are already profiling your customers, why not apply similar concepts to manage your employee pool? I will take a slightly different approach here because my background is in the healthcare industry and I will only add a few additional suggestions. There are plenty of creative ways to motivate individuals and teams alike. Take it beyond the newsletter, the on-boarding campaign and the sales enablement strategies. It is certainly easier said than done but opportunities are huge. So here are just a couple of ideas:


1 - We agree here, you should develop an employee profile. You don't need to know much initially, but build along the way on their preferences through simple questions/polls/games. For example: Do you own a bike, a kayak, a tennis racket, a golf club, none of the above? What sport to you like best? What languages do you speak? What are your favorite foods?


2 - Reward programs targeting results are not limited to sales. If your organization offers health insurance, there is a huge push to reduce healthcare costs through better health management. The higher the risk of your employee population, the higher the premium, absenteeism, and stress on team members to only mention a few. Knowing your employees, what gets them moving and what gets them engaged in their own health can not only improve employee satisfaction and retention but can significantly impact your bottom line. Even if you don't offer health insurance. While large corporations have access to 3rd party vendors to handle their health and wellness reward programs, smaller organizations need to be proactive in health management and find ways to handle it on their own. So you can leverage your MA with a wide variety of campaigns such as business units fitness contests, health tips, healthy recipes based on profile preferences etc.


3 - Tie your health and wellness programs with charities you support if any. Most employees feel good about helping others. Your customers will love you for it too. Make it social with recognition of teams/individuals on their achievements. It puts a face behind the brand, it makes your organization more approachable.


4 - Tie it with your CRM/ERM and you have the opportunity to measure the impact on your the employee cost over time. It may be a slow process initially, but the benefits can be huge. You can not only help your employees stay or get healthy, but you foster a culture of support, healthy habits, and competitiveness in a fun way.


5 - A little birthday wish is always nice. Send your employees an eCard! Why not include a reminder or 2 of some key health and wellness yearly checkups? Only if they are due for them though: no need to tell a non-smoker to quit, or send a mammo reminder to a 50 yo male employee. You can do the same with work anniversaries.


6 - Measure everything of course. Analyze and modify. Work with your Finance department, HR, Benefits folks to measure results and communicate ROI. Don't be afraid to ask your health insurance providers for ideas. A lot of times, they have tools and messages you can use to make it easier on you.


Bottom line, if you treat your employees as well as you treat your customers, you build a power machine.

As you may have read in our blog this week, we have officially opened our Call for Speakers for the Modern Marketing Experience Europe (formerly known as Eloqua Experience Europe), which will take place in London at the end of October. The Modern Marketing Experience conference offers an unprecedented opportunity to gain insights from experts in marketing automation, social marketing, content marketing. It's also a great opportunity for you to strut your stuff and share your expertise with the Modern Marketing community.

Why should you speak at the Modern Marketing Experience Europe? Here's what some of last year's amazing speakers had to say about the experience:

jennifer.lim and mark.graham, PayPal:

Speaking at Eloqua Experience provided a great opportunity to take stock and acknowledge the progress that we at PayPal had made. This is so easy to forget. We are, all of us, learning.  Everyone’s at a different stage with Eloqua but everyone wants to do better. It’s wonderful to be able to share and return something back to the community.

daniele, Iron Mountain:

I felt it was a great opportunity to showcase ourselves and present the results we achieved. It was really exciting and a huge challenge for me.

Ceri Jones, Basware:

It was a great opportunity to benchmark our progress, share insights with peers and meet new contacts, all of whom are using Eloqua to enable key business change in their organization.

Mark Plant, Micro Focus:

I got to network with fellow speakers via conference call prior to the event, meet them face to face and also meet up with a wider Eloqua network afterwards. The audience I addressed were genuinely interested in what I’d said – and were very keen to delve into murkier depths afterwards over a coffee.

Kim Yeatman, Thomson Reuters:

Presenting your work to an industry audience forces you to shape your work into a coherent story. We have driven more change in our organisation by re-using the same story.


We would love to have you join us in London to share your thought leadership and showcase the innovative work going on at your company. Submit your proposal to speak at the Modern Marketing Experience Europe here

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