#LEAwards 2020 highlight: How INSEAD cut through online noise with a one-stop hub

INSEAD is known for its degree programmes targeted at young, mid-career and senior professionals, with campuses in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Under the Global MBA Ranking 2017 by Financial Times, INSEAD was ranked first for the second consecutive year and interest in its programmes was at an all-time high. However, the graduate business school also recognized that this segment is becoming increasingly competitive. Hence, it took matters into its own hands and created a one-stop hub together with TMRW and TACHY titled “In The Know”. This saw TMRW notching a place as a finalist in the “Best Engagement Strategy – B2C” for MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s recent Loyalty & Engagement Awards 2020.

Challenge

INSEAD not only recognised that the industry was getting increasingly competitive, but also experienced decreasing click-through rates and spiraling costs of traditional forms of digital advertising, such as banner ads. This was a result of a decrease in online attention spans and consumers seeking answers to their questions instantaneously, as well as the usage of ad blockers.

Another issue INSEAD faced was that its existing content had been created for a short time and used for a specific purpose or campaign without longevity. Also, as with any global institution, the large amounts of information meant that navigating content could be as time-consuming and possibly a frustrating experience that result in prospects giving up.

Hence, INSEAD required a solution to engage potential prospects, increase brand awareness amongst pre-interest stage prospects and drive conversion rates within the funnel. The graduate business school also needed a solution which allowed it to adapt and upload content instantaneously to meet the changing demands for up-to-the-minute updates. While INSEAD had plenty of existing content, its content was spread across multiple touchpoints over numerous websites, often missing crucial call-to-actions.

Strategy

The main objective of “In The Know” was to offer prospective applicants with a hub that delivers relevant and searchable content; generate quality leads for INSEAD’s programmes; increase the reach of its brand awareness via social sharing of content; and develop an emotional connect with the brand. The latter is as opposed to offering factual information through the main website which comes across more like a brochure.

With most schools putting out factual information about their programmes and campuses, INSEAD honed in on a niche segment in the market. It decided to provide content on the broad topic of career development, offered in different formats to cater to online users’ varying consumption  preferences. These ranged from blogs and articles to slideshares, videos and podcasts, as well as testimonials.

This time, it ensured that its content was easily retrievable from a single platform instead of being buried within the sea of information available online. INSEAD turned to a content aggregation website that pulled together the strengths of INSEAD – thought leadership and personal experiences of current students related to the broad topic of career development. According to INSEAD, this one-stop content hub catered to every single reader regardless of the stage of their career or programme interest.

Execution

INSEAD worked with TMRW and TACHY to migrate its current content from various sources and platforms such as Wordpress and Drupal 7 to the new Drupal 8 platform. It ensured that the new platform was a content-first website, meaning that regardless the device, content delivery and user experience should not be undermined. INSEAD also ensured there was website security and that the platform was globally accessible, circumventing YouTube’s geographical restrictions.

The site’s functionality and user experience catered to three crucial areas – content retrieval, cross-content exploration, and content sharing across social media platforms.

1. Content retrieval

Content retrieval was done through the use of an intuitive search bar with topic suggestions based on learnings over time of past interactions with the site.

2. Content exploration

The new site allowed for cross-content exploration through the use of recommended articles calculated based on an intricate article tagging system.

3. Content sharing tools

Content sharing tools are also strategically positioned for easy accessibility without disrupting the user experience. For example, users are allowed to share curated quotes within articles via quick Twitter shares and these add to the social connectivity of the content.

Leads are also generated through the placement of relevant call-to-actions such as programme brochure downloads, the “Contact Us” tab or “Apply Now”. Additionally, INSEAD also developed a fully customized backend CMS to ensure varied internal stakeholders, both current and future, could easily access, edit, and upload content. Every tile, copy, and image on the website can be edited through the use of the edit function.

Results

In The Know was well-received by INSEAD alumni and prospective applicants, garnering 47,068 page with an average session duration of two and a half minutes. Between November 2018 to August 2019, In The Know had 15,933 users and 22,233 sessions. There was also growing global reach, with traffic coming from Singapore, US, France, UK, India and UAE, among others. INSEAD also witnessed 395 brochure downloads and counting, 95 shares on social media and 143 in-article tweets.