Using marketing automation to increase student engagement and enrolments: Insights from the University of Canberra

Today’s international students have a vast amount of information about universities at their fingertips. This means it has never been more important for higher education institutions to find creative and meaningful ways to encourage students to apply and enrol.

For the University of Canberra, the answer to effective student engagement comes down to knowing and understanding student behaviour. Over the past 3 years, Canberra University has been using marketing automation and content to respond and connect with students at different stages in the student lifecycle.

By engaging with students based on behaviour, interests and demographics; the University of Canberra has been able to not only increase student engagement, but also reduce their overall costs.

Ahead of the 4th Annual International Student Recruitment and Marketing Summit 2017, Higher Ed IQ recently caught up with Kylie McKenzie, Deputy Director Marketing and Recruitment, University of Canberra, to find out the steps her team is taking to roll-out marketing automation as part of their overall international student recruitment and marketing strategy; and the lessons learned from their progress to date.

Introducing marketing automation: the vision

“In 2015 we realised we wanted to get involved in marketing automation, but we didn’t have the capacity to do it in-house. At that stage we hired an external company to help us with Marketing Automation and we were communicating and engaging with our prospective students through content that had nothing to do with our audience. While the concept was right, the execution wasn’t.

In 2016 we purchased a Marketing Automation platform called Marketo which allowed us to create the content ourselves. While we had a better sense of what we thought was ‘good’ content, we didn’t have a great bank of content to draw on. We were learning how to use the new system while producing the content at the same time, so the automation piece became lost.

However, we learned from that experience. Over the last 12 months we have strengthened our marketing automation strategy. We now have a staff member who is dedicated to marketing automation and the development of content. We are also employing students to write the content for us, because they know best how to engage our audience. We are also now in the process of integrating Marketing Automation with native advertising and an ad-remarking strategy and we are also entering the predictive modelling space as well.

Since taking this approach, we are on track and we’re starting to see some great numbers and results.”

To read the remainder of the article to find out more about the University of Canberra’s marketing automation journey, click here

Join Kylie at the 4th Annual International Student Recruitment and Marketing Summit 2017 where she will further explore:

  • The importance of developing content that focuses on customers’ needs
  • How predictive modelling is helping UC to understand customer journeys and enhance acquisition
  • Lessons learnt from implementing a marketing automation strategy at UC

For more information visit or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email




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