Why APAC Unis Need CRMs For Higher Education Marketing

Posted by Tribal Group

As we approach mid-2023, the mood inside APAC universities has shifted. Although borders have reopened and international students are back on campus, new challenges are on the horizon. 

Amidst a looming global economic downturn, a competitive international market, and limited staffing resources, marketing and recruitment teams are ramping up campaigns to entice new students. 

But one way universities are rising to the challenge is with a powerful, purpose-built higher education CRM. 

So let’s start by exploring four areas university marketing teams should focus on in 2023 so that they can bring in new leads (and convert them).

The need for higher education CRMs

Customer Relationship Management software or CRMs are widely used by organisations to nurture leads, automate workflows, and deliver valuable insights. They’re an important marketing tool that can deliver personalised communications and more streamlined journeys to customers, while improving staff efficiency. 

But a CRM that’s built for higher education offers even more benefits than a generic CRM. Specific features like recruitment event management and integrated student management systems can minimise administrative tasks, enable better student experiences, and deliver cost savings. 

Introducing Tribal Student Marketing & Recruitment (SM&R) 

Tribal Student Marketing & Recruitment (SM&R) is a higher education CRM that allows universities to deliver marketing and recruitment campaigns (and gather insights) across every platform.  

Segmented and automated communications keep prospective students informed and engaged. On the back end, university recruitment and marketing teams can track enquiries, interactions, insights, and more. 

Want to learn more? Let’s take a closer look at eight of Tribal SM&R’s features — and how they can help you elevate your higher education marketing campaigns and recruitment processes. 

#1 Event Planning & Management

One of Tribal SM&R’s core capabilities is event planning and management, with an array of features designed specifically for virtual and on-site higher education events. These include: 

  • Event marketing campaigns – Deliver event marketing collateral and joining instructions to your targeted list of potential attendees via text, email, social media, and web channels 
  • Registration management – Accept online registrations or expressions of interest, sell tickets (with pricing variations, early bird, and volume discount capabilities), enable waitlists, manage attendees, and more 
  • Rich, event-specific functionality – Input details and unlock functionality depending on your event type, like session details, venues, subject matter, date/time, breakout sessions, exhibitor/sponsor packages, and more 
  • Stakeholder management – Manage all your event stakeholders, including attendees, VIPs, delegates, sponsors, speakers, press, and exhibitors 
  • ROI measurement – Understand the numbers behind each event with detailed cost, revenue, and attendee tracking 
  • Feedback & reporting – Conduct post-event feedback surveys and use detailed analytics generate reports 

Best of all, Tribal SM&R ensures any information on registrations, attendance, and interactions are integrated with your student records. So, whether you’re planning to run open days, welcome days, site visits, exhibitions, conferences, or online webinars, Tribal Student Marketing & Recruitment has you covered. 


Why are higher education recruitment events so important to get right? 

We’ve previously talked about international students’ dissatisfaction with online and virtual onboarding compared to face-to-face events. It’s clear that students want more in-person engagement, and in-person events can be an opportunity to change students’ perceptions based on their experiences.  

But with many potential recruits visiting multiple potential universities and campuses, prospective students are likely to receive multiple communications about various events over many weeks and months. Careful planning and communication for on-campus events is, therefore, critical. 


#2 Segmentation & Personalisation

You can use Tribal’s CRM to tag and segment contacts, allowing you to automatically personalise student journeys based on their demographics, actions, and any other meaningful characteristics. For example, you could create segments for: 

  • International (further segment by region) / Domestic  
  • Enquired / Applied / Offer Received / Offer Accepted / Offer Deferred / Offer Rejected 
  • Undergraduate / Postgraduate 
  • High School Student / Non-School Leaver 
  • Gender 
  • Faculties or Courses of Interest 
  • Admission Schemes 
  • Entry Pathways 
  • Communication Preferences 
  • Lead Source 
  • Events Attended 

Personalisation can help you deliver a positive student experience, right from the start. It allows you to deliver more relevant messages that are more likely to connect with your audience and lead to action.  

For example, you could create specific messages for your international students, based on the issues that come up in your student satisfaction data. Or you could use i-graduate’s 2022 International Student Barometer Report to discover issues that impact students’ decision making (like future career impact, qualification, and university reputation) and use these to create messages that are more likely to appeal to this audience. This type of personalisation can have a real impact, especially in regions like Australia, where international students make up a significant portion of the student population. 

tribal crm solution


#3 Omni-Channel Marketing 

Tribal’s higher education CRM also allows you to automate and personalise your marketing across multiple channels, including 

  • Email 
  • Text messages 
  • Push notifications 
  • Social media 

Omni-channel marketing allows you to reach potential students when and where they are most receptive. With all your key marketing channels connected to Tribal SM&R, you can tap into a flexible set up data sources to create and deliver on-brand, personalised experiences. 

#4 Centralised Image Library 

Using the right image for a campaign is much easier with Tribal SM&R’s centralised image library. This feature lets users upload images to one central location that’s available to all other CRM users. This is practical for a few reasons: 

  • You won’t end up with multiple copies or versions of image files in the database 
  • Users can be confident that images on the centralised library are already approved for use 
  • The marketing team can save time on hunting for images  

#5 Dynamic Student Journeys

Tribal SM&R also offers more advanced ways to use your segmentation and marketing channels. Inside the CRM, you can plan and execute complex student journeys with multiple steps, across multiple channels, with various communications, according to your segmentation and rules. Once designed, you can guide students through each step, from beginning to end — or enquiry to enrolment — and dynamically adapt the journey based on their actions and activities. 

With numerous pathways into studying at your institution, Tribal allows you to capture where students are at in their journey and respond accordingly. Simply plan your communications, segments, and rules ahead of time, and set your personalised lead nurturing on autopilot. 

For university marketing departments that need to engage and nurture thousands of leads each recruitment period, it’s the most efficient and effective way to get the job done. 

Tribal Customer, Tricia Finn, from the University of Waikato shared, “The visibility that it provides of where people are through their journey helps us target the right students at the right time.” 

What does the research say about student engagement? 

Student engagement is critical to success in the first year of university, so it’s important to get this right from the start. A study of first-year Australian university students found that self-efficacy, belonging, emotions, and wellbeing were all important pathways to student engagement. Meanwhile another study of Australian students found that institutional reputation, student wellbeing, transformative learning, self-efficacy, and self-esteem were largely determined by student expectations and involvement, which impacted student engagement. 


#6 Student Management System Integration 

As an education-focused CRM, Tribal is designed to integrate seamlessly with student management systems like SITS and Tribal ebs. This helps universities build and maintain a full 360° view of each student, from their initial point of contact to admissions — and even beyond.  

Universities can retain data from the entire student journey, building a more holistic view of prospective students and streamlining enrolment management. This can support better student engagement, playing a role in reducing student isolation — and the resulting risk of dropping out. 

Not only this, but it means that higher education providers can take a relationship making approach with each student, tapping into data insights and surveys to potentially build a long-term relationship that continues even after your students become alumni. 

#7 Detailed Recordkeeping

Tribal SM&R acts as a single source of truth for your student marketing and recruitment activities. It allows you to record each interaction with prospective students across online platforms and in-person — with information of every touchpoint captured centrally. Records include which staff each student spoke to, chatbot communications, school visits, events, emails, phone calls, and more.  

This detailed recordkeeping supports a cohesive approach to student communication, allowing your marketing, events, recruiting, and support staff to work together. And because Tribal’s CRM is made for the education industry, it also seamlessly integrates with student management systems for an even more streamlined experience. 

As a result, different teams can interact with the right students at the right time — all using the same tools and information. For example: 

  1. Events team captures the lead
  2. Marketing team sends emails to prospective student
  3. Recruitment team sends post-acceptance communications
  4. Student support communicates about ways to get in touch  

Best of all, because data is only entered once, it reduces the likelihood of error, increases data confidence, saves time, enables business process automation, and supports more detailed reporting. 

#8 Insight & Reporting

Tribal SM&R offers a range of insights into your marketing activities and outcomes — ideal for setting KPIs, monitoring progress, and understanding ROI. Marketing teams can view these analytics via the dashboards or generate reports. 

And, as we’ve already mentioned, because Tribal’s CRM covers the whole student journey, it gives you more detailed insights. For example, you can track how many prospects ended up enrolling after attending a specific event. Or you can look at the different marketing activities and whether they were associated with higher conversion rates. This gives you more informed data to work with when prioritising your future marketing and recruitment tactics. 

There’s so much you can do with more comprehensive data insights. Perhaps that data from the initial student journey could then be applied for targeted student intervention to help improve teaching and learning outcomes. And of course, to feed into predictive student analytics that target and improve student attrition in the first year and beyond. For instance, a study of one Australian university found that gender and Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank both significantly predicted academic performance, as well as other factors from previous education and demographics. 

Tribal customer, Tricia Finn from the University of Waikato shared, “The visibility of the dashboards and the views is really helpful… in the strategic sense of you know what’s happening with conversion, what the activities are that are leading to conversion and where do we put our effort because we know that we understand what works and what doesn’t.” 

Learn More

Interested in exploring Tribal Student Marketing & Recruitment for yourself? Contact Tribal to learn more or book a demo! 

In the meantime, you can check out some of our related content: 

Contact Tribal to discuss how we can help you upgrade your student experience. Or book a demo to explore our student marketing and recruitment solution. 

Looking for better student communication tools? Tribal offers powerful capabilities for more streamlined, relevant communication. 

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