Building a seamless customer journey at Griffith Uni

Head of digital marketing talks through the student digital offerings and personalisation helping to improve the university's international standing

Leanne Towerzey
Leanne Towerzey

With 50,000 students studying more than 200 courses across five physical sites and one virtual campus, South East Queensland’s Griffith University is a large and complex organisation to manage.

For prospective students, navigating through such a complex organisation can present challenges, especially for school leavers who are only just starting to venture out into the world. So while Griffith University is ranked in the top 2 per cent of universities worldwide, head of digital marketing, Leanne Towerzey, is also proud of the university’s five-star rating for overall educational experience from the Good Universities Guide.

“Our customers are expecting a journey that is driven towards what they want and what they need, when they need it,” she tells CMO.

Much of Towerzey’s work is focused on ensuring students enjoy a seamless journey from the earliest point at which they start determining what and where they want to study. That requirement has seen the University working closely with the Australian-born digital experience platform company, Squiz, to deliver tailored experiences.

One of the key outcomes has been Griffith University’s myOrientation app. “The myOrientation app teaches students how they get support, and it gauges how they have progressed through the journey,” Towerzey says.

“The advantage of that for us is it gives us additional data points as well. We know if someone does the orientation activities, they are more likely to be successful at university.”

She highlights one of the most critical periods as being between when offers are made in November and when the student starts in March. “There is a long window where we can lose students or they change their minds, or they get a different offer, or go travelling,” she says. “So it is about keeping that engagement there as well.”

The personalisation journey

Griffith University also operates a personalised Student Portal, which acts as a one-stop shop for students by pulling in data relating to their enrolment, timetable and other points of engagement. Towerzey says this all aligns with one of the university’s selling points of being a supportive institution.

“Being able to capture those data points and jump in early to assist someone if they are struggling means we are more likely to guarantee their success and their graduation from the university,” she says.  “We wouldn’t have rated number one in student experience if that was the case. So the Student Portal and the myOrientation apps are about making sure that experience follows the whole way through the story.”

Much of that personalisation capability is provided by Squiz, with the two organisations working together since 2006. Towerzey says personalised digital capability has been especially important in 2020 when classes and orientation activities have had to be delivered online.

“One of the big selling points for a university is to get students on campus and see the facilities and where they will be studying, but we haven’t been able to do that this year,” she continues. “So everything had to go online. But we had everything in place that made it achievable and usable.”

The university ran online open day programs twice a week over a 12-week period and expanded them to include themed topics in study areas such as health and science. “The conversion numbers are great, and our domestic student numbers are up,” Towerzey says.

The next stage of activity will be to utilise data to support the concept of students as life-long learners.

“People are learning in different ways now - they are jumping in and doing that professional development,” Towerzey comments. “We are constantly looking at the journey, we are constantly improving it, and modifying it to ensure we are giving prospective and current students what they are after.

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