Data-driven student experiences.
RMIT University transforms its digital marketing through personalised, meaningful and timely communications.
Achieve a holistic view of website visitors to observe and understand their needs and provide relevant content
Communicate with audiences using their preferred channels with messages relevant to them
Gain the ability to map the entire user journey
Unify data collection, segmentation, and personalisation into one platform
33% of returning website visitors see personalised experiences
Increased click through rates by up to 30% by using data to make email messages relevant to recipients
Brought up to 200 personalised experiences live on the RMIT website
“At RMIT, we understand the importance of leveraging technology to offer life-changing experiences to our customers and provide them with the most relevant and timely information in a simple way. Adobe Experience Cloud is a perfect vehicle for us to offer such experiences at scale.”
Assistant Director, Acquisition & Audiences, RMIT
Building on a legacy of innovation
Students from across Australia and worldwide come to Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) to gain knowledge and life-changing experiences. It’s not surprising that RMIT places a high value on all information shared with students, recognising that the quality of information directly translates to better, more meaningful student experiences.
And, when it comes to information, RMIT knows it flows in both directions, with the university not only committed to delivering compelling information to students but also capturing data that can inform and improve every interaction with multiple audiences. For a university known for innovation, Chaminda Ranasinghe came along at just the right time. As the CXO of the university, he is passionate about connecting people with the information they need, exactly when they need it. Richa Mehta, Assistant Director of Acquisition, Campaigns, and Audiences at RMIT, was happy to join him on the university’s transformation journey.
With multiple varied audiences – including prospective students from across regions, current students, alumni, researchers, staff, and industry – the importance of offering digital experiences that appeal to many different audiences is paramount for the university. The university’s digital channels, a gateway for ongoing engagement between the university and current and prospective students, were identified early on as vital channels to transform information sharing and capture. RMIT’s data-driven marketing vision is to deliver timely, relevant, connected, and simple experiences across all audiences at scale.
Investing in the future
RMIT already had one of the top marketing technology solutions, Adobe Experience Cloud, to bring this vision to life. However, the biggest problem was the lack of adoption. There was a lack of trust amongst the execs and a lack of a vision and roadmap for the teams. The handful of teams that had adopted the applications used them independently of each other, making it challenging to gain a complete view of the impacts of each project to improve online experiences.
“RMIT leadership was so important to this culture change,” says Mehta. “Our CXO, Chaminda Ranasinghe, is an accomplished digital transformational leader. He was completely on board with using our existing Experience Cloud applications to rebuild our digital marketing program.”
Mehta and Ranasinghe drove a program to help RMIT maximise the value of the Experience Cloud solutions to provide an exceptional experience for RMIT’s website visitors. The program focused on educating staff on the nuances of what the Adobe products can do and set realistic expectations. Ensuring the program educated everyone, from the university’s top execs to the end users, was the key to making it successful.
After running an internal audit, they determined that they needed to take a fresh start to gain a holistic view of site visitors and mapping user journeys.
“We were very excited that one of the team was shortlisted as a top three global finalist for the Adobe Experience Maker Awards for RMIT’s market-leading Adobe implementation, showcasing that we are starting to get it right.”
Assistant Director, Acquisition & Audiences, RMIT
Finding success through education and engagement at all levels
RMIT assembled a modest team of developers and developed a step-by-step plan to reset the configurations and set up the Adobe stack following the best practise guidelines. The team knew that widespread adoption hinged on excitement about the products, so they created ‘quick-wins’ while focusing on their long-term goals. This created excitement within the team and showed how solutions like Adobe Target could help teams pinpoint how the Adobe stack could help improve micro-engagement with the university audiences.
Next, the digital marketing team set up a customised training for different RMIT teams. The training was a hit, with more than 175 end-users across the university completing the training. As more teams got involved, they started running showcases for teams as well as executives aimed at highlighting what teams were doing and how they were using data to better interact with prospects and other audiences, which helped re-establish trust and interest in Adobe solutions.
The team’s accomplishments didn’t go unnoticed. “We were very excited that one of the team was shortlisted as a top three global finalist for the Adobe Experience Maker Awards for RMIT’s market-leading Adobe implementation, showcasing that we are starting to get it right,” says Mehta.
Today, website visitors get a personalised experience starting at their first contact with RMIT’s site. For example, if a prospective student is looking into the university’s civil engineering program, that information is captured by Adobe Analytics. This data feeds into Adobe Audience Manager, which puts that student into a group targeting engineering student prospects. The next time that person visits the website, Adobe Target may serve up information inviting the student to browse engineering courses.
The university may also use Marketo Engage to send that person an invitation to attend events focused on showcasing what the civil engineering program has to offer. “All of this data helps us make sure that each website visitor gets the right message from RMIT,” said Mehta. “Because prospective students are much more interested in the targeted information we send them, we boosted click-through rates by up to 30%.”
Transformation at the right time
With COVID-19 suddenly forcing everything to go virtual, the most important event of the year for generating interest from prospective students, Open Day, suddenly became online-only across the country. Video lectures, virtual tours, and live experiences were available throughout the two-day event. Hundreds of faculty members also participated through live chat, eager to help answer prospective students’ questions.
By using the advanced capabilities with Experience Cloud, RMIT measured engagement along with information on which anonymous users browsed what content. Understanding what prospective students were viewing during Open Day gave the team a better idea of how they could reach out to different students and continue to build momentum.
Paid advertising was leveraged to reach out to prospects who registered for the event but didn’t attend the first day. RMIT also sent an email that targeted people who missed Day 1. This led to a significant uptick in participation for Day 2, reinforcing the effectiveness of targeted messaging.
Looking to the future
The RMIT team’s hard work is showing positive results, but there's more to do and the team is excited about what’s next as RMIT continues to maximise its use of Experience Cloud. In addition to Adobe integrations, the team is working to connect the offline data in Salesforce, its CRM system, with the digital data from Adobe Analytics using Adobe Launch.
“Students often can take up to 18 to 24 months to decide on a university,” explains Mehta. “It’s a big decision, so it’s not unusual for us to talk with students who won’t graduate from high school for another two years. While many students research universities online, students also take advantage of other activities. They might visit the campus, attend an event, or speak with university’s sales team. This offline data is stored in Salesforce and by connecting Salesforce with Experience Cloud we will get a well-rounded complete view of our audiences including both anonymous and known attributes.
“The secret to our success has been the way that everyone embraced the marketing vision, from top executives to front-line marketers,” continues Mehta. “At RMIT, we understand the importance of leveraging technology to offer life-changing experiences to our customers and provide them with the most relevant and timely information in a simple way. Adobe Experience Cloud is a perfect vehicle for us to offer such experiences at scale.”