by Sarah Linington
, posted on 29 May '19

Headlines from our Spring 2019 Postgraduate Marketing Conference

For anyone who wasn’t at our Spring 2019 Postgraduate Marketing Conference in London, I've put together a short overview covering the breadth of topics from our fantastic speakers. Hope to see you at the next one in London on 12 May 2020.

"Teaching: Every lesson shapes a life" | Emily Vickers, Marketing Manager, National College of Teaching and Leadership (Department for Education) and Clare Hutchinson, Executive Strategy Director, Havas London

Clare and Emily talked us through this award-winning campaign for the Department of Education that strove to elevate the status of teaching, and harnessed the power of national strategy at a local level. They delved into the value of pre-campaign research to truly understand what messaging is required to reach the right audience, the communication channels used and why, as well as the impact so far.

"OFS and the postgraduate student landscape" | Emma Maskell, Head of Student Information and Engagement, Office for Students

Emma covered how the breadth of starting points and diversity of provision makes the decision-making process challenging for prospective PG students, which is exactly why the Office for Students is developing a strategy for Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG). The OfS intends to work with institutions to learn from best practice, plug information gaps and make current information provision clearer – watch this space.

"PhD student recruitment in a post-92 institution" | Charlotte Renwick, Associate Director of Student Recruitment and Marketing, Leeds Beckett University

Leeds Beckett sought to double the number of PhD students within a five-year period, with no additional budget. Charlotte explained how she is well on her way to achieving that target with a 20% increase on PhD student enrolment so far – through innovative internal and external PR campaigns, and a real focus on user needs and experience.

"Podcasting: Why you should do it, why you shouldn't do it and how you can make it work" | Dave Musson, HE Podcaster and Social Media Guru & Emily Elias from The Oxford Sparks Big Questions podcast

Dave and Emily reasoned that HE is the perfect match for podcasting; suggesting institutions use it to showcase specific expertise, take a deep dive into a particular subject, show off their campus atmosphere, or tap into careers and alumni experiences. Whilst that makes it sound simple, they also cautioned against wading in without a plan, or an exit strategy, and to definitely not expect podcasting to make your institution famous overnight!

"Scholarships - your new secret weapon" | Tom Allardyce, Head of Transnational Education, Northumbria University

Scholarships are a familiar recruitment strategy, but one with wasted potential; institutions can easily find themselves running the same old schemes with limited return on an often-substantial investment. Tom talked through how he revamped the scholarship offer at Northumbria and got creative with its promotion. The result was a 10% increase in conversions equating to an additional £1.2 million income for the university.

"International postgraduate students - who are they and what they go on to do" | Miranda Thomas, Assistant Director, External Affairs, Universities UK International

Miranda put everyone in the room on the spot with a quick fire (thankfully multiple-choice) quiz which gave great insight into the international postgraduate student cohort in the UK. This provided a refreshing break in the conference format, whilst encouraging attendees to reflect on their assumptions about international student recruitment and audiences.

"What matters most to Gen Z when they're thinking about postgraduate education?" | Alex Causton-Ronaldson, Lead Strategist - Education & Youth Marketing, Havas People

Alex defined Gen Z as savvy, hyper-informed consumers seeking immersive digital experiences, personalisation, and interactions that matter. His presentation explained just how important it is to build trust with this prospective audience through using a multi-layered approach to communications strategy to get the ‘stamp of approval’ from the next generation of postgraduates.

Our next conference will be taking place in London on Tuesday 12 May 2020. Our programme and speakers change for each event to reflect the higher education landscape. New for 2020, we will be running different streams so you can pick and choose the sessions that are most relevant to you. For more details, visit our event web page.