Using Virtual Reality as a tool to engage and recruit prospective international students

Emerging technologies have the potential to disrupt international recruitment and marketing as we know it, as students around the globe become more digitally and mobile-savvy.

As a result, education providers need to adapt and create more sophisticated experiences when targeting prospective international students.

For Monash University’s Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science, Virtual Reality (VR) is proving to be a great innovative tool to create a more engaging experience for students. Through the use of a VR video, students are able to completely immerse themselves in their environment; offering an authentic and compelling way to showcase their campus and faculties.

And while VR provides huge opportunities for universities to potentially boost international student numbers through a personalised experience, Monash is also using it as a tool to help international agent representatives differentiate their institution in a crowded marketplace.

“We were hoping for VR to be a great additional tool for students and parents to help them in their decision making process and to help them experience what the campus is like. It is also a great tool for agents to showcase the faculty and campus to prospective students. It’s not just about students, it’s also for our agents and career counsellors as well,” says Marlena Mende, Marketing Manager at the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science at Monash University.

While implementing VR into an international student recruitment and marketing strategy is not without its challenges, it is a great example of how new technological platforms can be used to engage, attract and retain international students in an evolving digital environment.

Ahead of the 4th Annual International Student Recruitment and Marketing Summit 2017, Higher Ed IQ caught up with Marlena to find out how her team went about integrating VR into their international recruitment and marketing strategy, the stakeholder buy-in process and how they are ensuring the experience they are creating resonates with the wants and needs of international students.

What are the core elements of your faculty’s overall international student marketing strategy?

There are a number of elements that are crucial to our Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science’s international recruitment and marketing strategy. Our entire strategy us based on quality research based on student feedback as well as what is occurring in other markets globally.

For example, we consider what channels our prospective students might use in different countries. What is used in China may be different to what is used in India. We also check that channels used typically in Australia to engage with students are available in the countries we are targeting.

It is important to understand what it is like in those different countries and what students are looking for. Once we have that understanding, we try to develop an approach based on the audience’s needs and geography.

Another big focus is developing really strong, relevant and engaging content. We are making sure we tailor our content to address what the audience is looking for and what stage they are at in their learning journey.

Another key project is to ensure we have a strong mobile focus through our marketing, given that our audience is predominantly young people. Students are very much on their mobiles, they are digitally savvy and we want to ensure we provide interactive and engaging experiences via this platform. Personalisation is a big part of this, as well as understanding the student journey and where they are at in the decision making process.

We want to be able to provide the right content at the right time to students. This also involves coordinating and working with other teams throughout the university and faculties to ensure we have the right messaging at the right time.”

What types of emerging technologies are you using in your marketing strategy to engage international students via digital platforms?

“Our focus is to connect with students via traditional channels, but also digital channels as well. For example, social media channels such as Facebook. Our aim is to provide insight into what the experience is like on campus. In order to achieve this, we are encouraging our current students to engage on our social platforms as well – so they supply content to make it more authentic. There are also some more exciting and emerging technologies we have recently engaged with as well, such as VR.”

To read more, download the full article with Marlena Mende here

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

  • Lessons learnt from developing and implementing virtual reality into a marketing strategy
  • Providing an immersive and unique experience that resonates with a target audience
  • A look into the possible future marketing implications of virtual reality and augmented reality

For more information visit https://intl-studentrecruitmentandmarketing.iqpc.com.au or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email enquire@iqpc.com.au

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