A new approach to marketing the University

Simone Davies

I’ve had a busy first three months since starting my role at the University. It’s been great getting to know so many of you and I really appreciate the welcome and support that I’ve been given. As you probably know, my #1 priority is to increase the number of students applying to and joining the University for both undergraduate and postgraduate study from the UK, EU and overseas.

In terms of timing, undergraduate recruitment has taken precedence due to the fast approaching deadline – 15 January. A number of changes have been made, some of which are large scale – a multi-platform digital campaign – some smaller changes such as improvements to conversion communications and some still on the horizon including the introduction of an app and changes to future Open Days.

Underpinning that work has been the introduction of an interim Customer Relationship Management solution (Akero), which enables the University to better track its marketing campaigns and communicate more effectively and efficiently with future students. Work is still ongoing to integrate data from SITS into Akero and we expect this to be completed early January. We will then be able to deploy a comprehensive e-mail conversion campaign to offer holders as well as a direct mail campaign, which builds upon previous activity.

We have been pushing the boundaries of the brand and you will have seen cleaner, more impactful advertising and publications. Going forward this will be reflected on the website, with the most visited pages – ie the homepage and course pages – getting a new and refreshed look.

The marketing and publishing teams are working together to ensure that we take a digital-first/mobile-first approach to the way we market the University. Traditional media and publications still have a role to play but we are reviewing how that works in line with work around the student journey.

And the impact – it’s relatively early days but we are now tracking in line with our comparator set. However, applications are down and there is still a lot that needs to be done to improve the University’s recruitment position.

Once we know our applicant numbers conversion becomes critical to future success, and that requires a co-ordinated approach across the University – something which is beginning to take shape.

Our focus is now turning to postgraduate recruitment and we will be developing an integrated marketing campaign for PGT with clear messaging as to ‘Why Kent?’, which will be supported with new creative.

Whilst I have been steering the direction of travel, none of this would have been achieved without the hard work and support of the teams I manage and the teams I have been working with as well as a large number of individuals across the University.

Looking forward to 2020!

Simone Davies | Interim Director of Marketing


The refreshed approach to marketing forms a key part of our Kent 2025 strategy, which outlines how we transform lives through opportunity, discovery and community. We aim to empower students to find and shape their place in the world, and for academics to be free to explore and deepen our understanding of it. Find out more at Kent 2025.