Why I’m recommending Unibuddy to all my higher education friends

Kyle Campbell spent almost 7 years in the marketing team as Aston University, working across Digital Marketing and content. There, he implemented the Unibuddy platform. He recently moved to Nottingham Trent University as Senior Digital Solutions Manager, which is now using Unibuddy. He runs a consultancy service for Higher Education Marketing. 

In this blog, Kyle explains why he’s recommending Unibuddy. 

How much do you spend on out-of-home advertising? If you work for a large University, I’m guessing it’s quite a lot.

And out-of-home is great, because it:

  • raises general brand awareness
  • helps keep your customers in the consideration phase
  • makes you look good when your VC sees it on their way in to the office

Now, I’m not about to do an about-face and trash outdoor advertising. That would be short-sighted, impractical and everyone has heard it before. But wouldn’t it be great if your potential students could have an instant messenger conversation with the student on that billboard?

Unibuddy and authentic student conversations in Higher Education

Like a lot of marketers, I’ve been racking my brains about how to make out-of-home appeal to students who want things more personal, authentic and conversational.

This is especially true in higher education where our student audiences want a trusted source of information to make life-changing decisions.

So, imagine my delight when I came across the peer-to-peer student messaging platform, Unibuddy.

Here’s a tool that embeds easily into your website and enables prospective students and offer holders to have a chat with a student already studying on their course.

Wow. Isn’t that a novel idea?

It looks like the sector is catching up. To paraphrase marketing consultant Mark Schaefer, across multiple sectors customers are increasingly fulfilling the roles of marketers and now here’s a tailor-made platform to ride that wave and amplify the great work your students are already doing.

Set up, installation and training

It’s easy. It takes around ten minutes to induct an ambassador because they already:

  • know the product
  • how to use instant messenger
  • can empathise and connect with the prospect’s needs (it was them not too. long ago!)

Having been admin of Aston University’s Unibuddy account, I see great, subject-level conversations between prospects and current students every day. And yes, these are conversations that are ‘sealing the deal’ for applicants that otherwise would have missed out on that touchpoint.

From initial purchase to installation and people using the platform, it’s possible to have everything live within a week.

How many other marketing platforms are as fast to integrate and start benefitting from?

Work for admins and marketers

At the basic level, the only thing I have to do as a marketer is to keep track of conversations and occasionally troubleshoot admissions based questions. There’s more advanced stuff too, like the integration of the platform with your CRM system, communications and ensuring that content produced by students for Unibuddy’s blogging platform (built in) fits with strategy. But that’s another post.

For years I’ve been looking for a way to harness the great access universities have to their students. I can’t think of any other industry where employees and customers brush shoulders in the corridor every day! Shouldn’t we be better at harnessing that unique advantage?

We have moved beyond the image and quote, the short video testimonial and direct to camera monologue. Prospective students want to interact, they want to ask questions of the people experiencing the product and not be told how great the university is through the lens of a glossy course brochure.

They want to have a conversation with the students on your billboards.

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