Jun 2016

Education Marketing Expert

About our digital hero

Emily “Education Marketing Expert” Han

Emily is an education marketing expert that we can all be inspired by, having spent over four years increasing enrolment at leading education institutions like GEMS World Academy and Kaplan.


You might be surprised to know that Emily was not always involved in education marketing. She also has extensive experience in the banking industry. Now that’s a true superhero – multifaceted and wearing several hats!


Emily’s heroic feats

  • Former head of marketing & enrolment at GEMS World Academy: Doubled the institution’s intake in just a year
  • Marketing director at Kaplan Singapore: Oversaw the institution’s marketing and communications strategy
  • Marketing manager, Asia Pacific at Royal Bank of Scotland: Meticulously managed top-tier hospitality events and marketing strategies for the bank


Education Marketing Lessons from Emily

1. What prompted your career transition from the finance industry to education?

I am a strong believer in the power of education to transform lives, as it did for me. Hence, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this industry.

2. Could you share marketing insights from your Citibank experience that you have applied to your role in education marketing?

Citibank runs like a well-oiled machine. In my roles in education marketing, I have mirrored the same strategic planning to ensure a cohesive marketing plan that propels the business forward.

3. How can international schools leverage digital marketing to gain an edge over local schools?  

Schools, local or international, need to focus on telling stories. If you look around, educators are making a difference every single day. The challenge for marketers is to glean those stories and communicate them to prospective students in a compelling way.

4. You doubled GEMS World Academy’s intake to 400 in just a year! How did you do it?

By building a strong team that was equally committed to helping expatriate parents find the right school for their children. It wasn’t just about marketing but involved every single team from Admissions to Academics, to ensure the delivery of a high standard of education.

5. School enrollment is about quality as much as quantity. How did you use inbound marketing to generate high-quality leads?

As a new school, we focused on content marketing through thought leadership by our educators, that have an average of 15 years of experience.

6. What education marketing strategies can re-engage cold leads?

The customer journey could span anything from one year to 3 weeks in our case. The secret to our success was building a strong CRM that allowed us to re-engage parents at different junctures of their journey, allowing us to speak directly to their point of need.

7. How did you use social media to build a diverse student cohort?

As an international school with more than 40 nationalities, it was important for us to be inclusive and celebrate diversity. Social media is a great enabler in connecting parents with the school and with one another.

8. When hiring a digital agency for education marketing, what are the top 3 things you look for?

In order of priority, I would say attitude, understanding of the industry, then skills. In my role at Kaplan, I was fortunate to work with the team at Happy Marketer, that had all 3 attributes. Their positive attitude helped us grow and overcome challenges together, which was very rewarding.

9. Marketing talent is generally attracted to consumer brands. How would you position education marketing as a career for promising marketers?

The gratification from seeing learners grow and apply the knowledge to their personal and professional lives. Education is not a product that is consumed, rather, it has the power to change our lives.  

10. What advice do you have for aspiring marketers in the education industry?

When the going gets tough, remember why you are in it in the first place.

Power up! Bonus round

1. If you were granted one superpower as a digital hero, what would it be and why?

I want to be able to evoke emotions. Because an emotional attachment to a brand or cause compels you to embrace it.

2. Since you studied in Australia, how has an international education influenced your approach to education marketing?
An international education opened my mind beyond just academics. It has helped me become more attuned to culture and how it affects marketing at an international level.  


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