Personalisation - Is It Time For Schools To Get Personal With Their Marketing
Whilst personalisation won't be a new word to school marketers, it is not one that many (if any) can say they have been fully able to embrace.
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 certainly true is that schools can no longer afford simply 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.
To date, I don't think I've met a school that doesn't want to increase the likelihood of a purchase with their marketing, nor one that doesn't already recognise that this is achieved through greater engagement. 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. Don't take our 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 within an article like this you could place a sound effect, 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 very people that make up those statistics above - they are real life people that live and breathe digital.
Secondly, 90%, yes nine zero percent of consumers are willing to share their behavioral data if in doing so that leads to a better experience. This can also be written the other way, in that 71% of consumers feel frustrated if their experience is impersonal. Yes, we're actually 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 is 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%, and efficiency of marketing spend 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 simple, yet it is far from impossible - even with the small teams that school marketing departments have at their disposal.
What I should also mention at this juncture, is that effective personalisation is not really putting a persons name at the top of an email, or inserting their child's name into the prospectus or website. Real personalisation, or personalisation 2.0 as it is sometimes referred, can only be achieved by first gaining a deep rooted understanding of how your customers behave online, what they need and what they don't need as part of their digital experience, and designing journeys to suit. Then through the use of real-time data, tailoring that experience further so you are communicating 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 life, not only what they want, but what they need and have become accustomed to. That's without even thinking about the value that might come from admissions knowing so much more about the likes, dislikes and behaviors of the prospective parents they are talking with. Certainly, 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 school website, or you would like to learn more on how personalisation could benefit your school, get in touch or download our eBook.