Session highlights

You may not appeal to everybody. But the key is to be true to yourself, and open, and not to sell people something that isn’t you.” Linda O’Neill, International Marketing Manager, University of Dundee 

  • What should institutions be trying to do with their digital marketing? Vasso Koutsos of the University of Auckland said there should be focus on “creating connection” and allowing students to choose how they digest content. The university has been having some success with peer networks and personalised content. She added it is also crucial to listen to your data, and to be “relevant and responsive”.
  • Grok Global’s Head of Global Marketing Gemma Goodbourn said it is vital to localise your messaging, and that this is about more than just translating it. This may involve different messaging and different platforms. Grok Global’s Julie Hsu added that institutions should always be A/B Testing, tweaking their messaging, and talking to the in-country recruiters who are hearing from parents and young people every day.
  • Panellists discussed the value of alumni and students in sharing an “authentic” voice. Vasso Koutsos said that they are “your best advocates for demonstrating the student experience”. They may also be able to help provide a better connection, when local needs and trends are constantly evolving. Linda O’Neill of the University of Dundee added that they weren’t just talking about the quality of the courses. She said that universities should offer “a package” of experiences, and it was important to talk about the lifestyle as well. 

Session summary

With the majority of fly-in fly-out recruitment on hold, institutions have pivoted budgets to digital and faced challenges in getting their marketing efforts to achieve the desired results. Reaching audiences online has become easier – but reaching the right audience has become harder. More than ever, the number of enrolments achieved has a closer correlation with your digital marketing strategy.

What are you doing to cut through to your target audience? Can you articulate your unique offering in a way that makes sense in the local context? Are you able to demonstrate what sets you apart from your competitors? How do you build an authentic, credible voice? And how do you convert an initial interest in your institution into an inquiry, an application and, ultimately, an enrolment?

This session will explore how international teams should adapt their marketing strategies to engage today’s students, and practical examples to consider. 


Chair: Gemma Goodbourn, Head of Global Marketing, Grok Global, Malaysia

Julie Hu, Southeast Asia Marketing Manager, Grok Global Services, Malaysia

Vasso Koutsos, Digital Transformation Accelerator, International Office, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Ray Priest, Director of International APAC, University of the West of England, Thailand

Linda O'Neill, International Marketing Manager, University of Dundee, UK