IDP Connect is a global name in the higher education space. Launched in 2019 as the B2B arm of UK-based Hotcourses group and Australian institution, IDP; IDP Connect now has more than 100 employees across the UK, Canada, Australia and India. Its UK home brands include What Uni?, Complete University Guide and Postgraduate Search.
IDP Connect combines its human connections and experience with data-driven insights to match institutions and courses with the right students from around the world. Working primarily with students and their parents, the team provides the tools and information students need to navigate the requirements and paperwork of the application process for higher education and study abroad programmes.
Key Benefits To Working With Purple Square
A centralised approach to marketing automation
Purple Square was brought on board in 2019 to implement what was then IBM’s marketing automation platform for IDP Connect. The team’s skills, knowledge and ongoing support have helped IDP Connect to make the most of its technology investment, to navigate the path as an early adopter of the Acoustic Marketing Solutions Service platform and to roll out the software across the organisation.
“Our main priority at the start was finding a user-friendly marketing platform that could deliver our email campaigns, our SMS strategies and App notifications in one centralised place,” explained IDP Connect’s marketing automation manager Andreyna Rodriguez.
“We wanted all of our marketing capabilities in a single platform to allow us to target the right users via the right channels – as well as simplifying the reporting and implementation process. Purple Square helped make this happen, working with the team to tailor the solution to meet our needs.”
Acoustic’s platform, now called Marketing Cloud, allows IDP Connect to target students, parents and universities around the world through the most effective channels. As a result, its domestic portfolio has seen an average increase of 5% in terms of open rates and 4% increase in terms of click to open rates in the last year.
Since the initial implementation and training the team on the technology, Purple Square has taken on a more strategic role with IDP Connect. They are now considered to be an extension of the team, working together with Acoustic to advise and help IDP Connect shape their marketing technology platform to ensure it delivers and can support its evolving customer journey roadmap.
“We are in constant communication with Purple Square. They work hard to keep the pace with all the things we want. They understand what we do and work as part of our internal team to achieve the outcomes we need.”
Expanding the scope
Andreyna Rodriguez joined IDP Connect in 2021 to work in collaboration with a small team of Marketing Specialists to look after the email strategy for IDP Connect’s domestic and international portfolio, the B2C side of the business. With the focus primarily on social channels, the company had been failing to deliver the expected volume of emails for years, so increasing the total of emails sent per month was a priority for the team. This new focus required a rethink and update to how the company would use their Acoustic platform.
“We wanted to bring a more omnichannel approach to our marketing strategy, so we needed to reconfigure the initial set-up of the database,” explained Rodriguez. “We also wanted to generate more traffic and improve the engagement with our users to better understand their journey and whether we were providing the right information and services for them.”
Purple Square supported IDP Connect’s development team through this process, working with Acoustic to ensure the databases were reconfigured and separated into the two portfolios IDP Connect needed to better target campaigns to its domestic and international customers.
“The combined effort of Purple Square, our developers and Acoustic made what could have been a complicated project a much easier process,” said Rodriguez.
The newly configured database has paved the way for revamping how IDP Connect uses Acoustic’s platform to engage with its audiences. Commercial email activity has contributed approximately 2.4% to IDP Connect’s total revenue, so every email counts.
Having used the same style on its automated programmes, transactional emails and monthly newsletters since 2016, it was time for a change. In the past year, IDP Connect has created over 100 new templates with Acoustic’s Composer tool without the need of intervention or support from their developer team, simplifying and speeding up the process.
IDP Connect’s marketing content now has a fresh, more professional look and feel that is aligned with the latest education industry trends. Since the revamp, its UK portfolio has seen an average increase of 5% in term of open rates and 4% increase in terms of click to open rates. Sessions for its key website also increased by 23%. In the last year, some of its international sites have also experienced significant changes in the level of engagement, conversions and traffic.
Adapting and influencing
As IDP Connect’s marketing strategy continues to evolve, Purple Square is working closely with them to support and communicate their changing needs to Acoustic, who in turn is developing and adapting their technology to deliver these requirements.
The successful partnership between IDP Connect, Purple Square and Acoustic is rooted in planning and regular, good communication. This is illustrated in the collaboration to improve Acoustic’s drag and drop user interface based on regular updates and feedback during the implementation of the beta version of the tool with IDP Connect.
“We felt we were contributing to building the tool as Acoustic was applying our comments and considerations,” said Rodriguez. “After the tool was released, we faced some bugs, which Purple Square escalated and Acoustic resolved in a short period of time. We are proud that our experience and feedback has influenced the product.”
This ongoing collaborative process and flexibility of the technology are both key reasons the marketing automation team continues to work with Acoustic and Purple Square: “They have considered our feedback in different areas such as reporting, template production, survey, SMS, and App integration and we value when our needs are taken on board.”
“For us, working hand in hand with Purple Square and Acoustic has been another element of our success – something we’ve sometimes taken for granted,” Rodriguez continued,
“There is a lot of experience from their end working with similar industries and they are always willing to provide the extra support in order to reach deadlines and help us achieve our overall business goals.”
Next steps – refining the customer journey
Currently, the customer journeys for IDP Connect’s international and domestic portfolios are a work in progress. They ultimate goal is to extend students’ customer journeys with IDP Connect, engaging them earlier in the selection process and continuing to work with them for longer. While this is still an internal discussion, accessing, segmenting and acting on the right data lies at the root of formalising these journeys.
Purple Square and Acoustic look forward to working with IDP Connect to refine this process once they are ready to tackle this next step.