Jul 2016

Customer Relationship Management

Nanyang Business School (NBS) is Singapore’s oldest business school. It has the nation’s highest ranking MBA program (Source: The Economist).

NBS came to Happy Marketer for a solution to a simple question:

What if a local university could attract students from around the world, every year?

The Nanyang Technological University Business School (NBS) in Singapore has been ranked within the Financial Times’ Global Top 40 since 2009 (Source: Financial Times). Building a diverse student community is a key ingredient in NBS’s recipe for a unique MBA experience.

The University had brand visibility in some segments in the Asia Pacific region, but wanted to widen their brand’s reach and affinity outside Asia and over competitor MBA programs.

Another challenge was the lack of a unified system to nurture leads. Despite executing a variety of marketing campaigns and receiving a huge volume of leads, the University was missing out on prospective applicants because it was difficult for the sales team to identify and follow up with the right prospects. Individual salespeople conducted follow-ups in silos, using their own approach.

So NBS had a key campaign objective:

  • Increase the number of quality applications for the university’s MBA and EMBA programs

 What happens when digital marketing involves a personal touch?

Our data-driven marketing strategy helped NBS drive consistent results and foster a diverse student group. It involved the following elements:

  1. Developing campaigns such as search engine optimization, paid media, social media marketing and    email marketing.
  2. Merging many data sources to achieve a single customer view for the admissions staff to determine and attract the most relevant candidates.
  3. Personalizing and optimizing campaigns for different customer segments. For example, someone from Singapore needed no introduction to NBS but someone from Russia needed an introduction to both Singapore and NBS

 How did we build an effective Customer Relationship Management system in 6 steps?

In the education industry, the ‘simmering’ time for potential students to make application decisions can sometimes stretch to years. So it was critical to have a prospect education strategy tailored to each customer segment’s behavior and attributes. This is how we did it:

  • Identifying lead sources and creating a unified database: We used Salesforce to create a database of over 40,000 members with all lead sources identified.
  • Defining and segmenting personas: We segmented personas based on their GMAT scores, source and interactions with the University’s marketing collaterals.
  • Harnessing the power of alumni loyalty: We identified alumni in each target country and emailed them to refer their peers to NBS’s MBA or EMBA programs.  
  • Distributing content across digital channels: We used 7 channels spanning online (Gmail Sponsored Promotions), social (Twitter) and mobile (WhatsApp).
  • Lead scoring by measuring behavior and interaction: We scored leads based on their engagement with our content.
  • Creating a custom CRM reporting system: We developed custom dashboards for the sales team to report lead follow-ups and conversions.

Customer Relationship Management

 How did a single customer view lead to a better business cohort?

As a result of our CRM & Loyalty initiative, NBS saw the following positive metrics:

CRM Results

Our CRM & Loyalty Marketing campaign allowed NBS to reach out to its prospects across platforms and nudge them through relevant and compelling value propositions.

Most importantly, it aligned everyone involved in the admissions process, providing them 24/7 access to applicants’ real-time information.

The University’s teams (Sales, Marketing, Admissions etc.) could also now see which channel produced better results in particular countries and which audiences were clicking which ads to get to the website forms. They could measure each individual’s pathway from their first interaction with the website to the final admission.

This allowed NBS to personalize their conversations with students, address concerns faster and help move prospects down the application and acceptance journey. They could now constantly optimize their channels, segments and creatives to achieve their numerical and diversity goals.

At the end of it all, NBS managed to attract students from over 30 countries, building an all-round better business cohort!


Customer Relationship Management Services

Anupama Hedge