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IHM Business School is the leading private business school in Sweden. With their pragmatic approach, where actual knowledge asked for by potential employers always have more weight than academic formalia, IHM creates the young business professionals of tomorrow.
The education market is in a tidal wave of fast change. The digital landscape has put everything on end as to what an education is in 2020. Where your physical presence in a classroom no longer is a must, your competitor can suddenly be located on another continent and your potential customers will look in entirely new media for inspiration and ideas on what to make of their career. With the gaze fixed firmly on the development ahead IHM approached Star Republic to create the Unified Commerce marketing department of tomorrow to enable e-commerce for the education market, and to make sure that their digital customer experience will move along an axis of constant improvement.
IHM’s vision is that all courses and education programs in the future are to be bought via their digital platforms. They have also clearly stated goals about how data should play a bigger part of their decision processes. IHM saw several impediments on that path ahead, and therefore decided to find a supplier that could provide services according to their needs.
When IHM first approached Star Republic they had just implemented their new e-commerce solution based on the Episerver platform in which we have an extensive knowledge and experience. The clients opinion was that the platform was lacking in some departments, both in terms of the actual visual experience of the site as well as in the basic, technical performance. The integrations toward the existing, underlying systems were not as stable as wanted and was the cause of pain points for the business department of IHM. But also, the opinion was that site did not properly reflect the values of IHM as a brand and did not fully do the premium offering of IHM justice. IHM simply wanted to better match the competitors in terms of attractiveness towards a new, digital and very demanding and fragmented target audience.
The rapidly changing education environment also poses a great challenge for the in-house marketing department at IHM. A part of the mission for Star Republic was to infuse the department with expertise knowledge within specific areas, in order to reach the Unified Commerce potential that is the ambition of the company.
- In Star Republic we've found a partner that can support us in multiple areas. With digital business as a foundation, they help us create customer value and smarter customer experiences. For us, Unified Commerce is all about meeting all customer needs at every touch point, and to exceed their expectations where it really matters.Peter Malmqvist, Marketing Director, IHM Business School
In order to get the best possible start, we made a thorough code transfer from the previous supplier to IHM, with a code check measuring both performance as well as the actual code quality with the leading code checking tools on the market. The deficiencies were then used when IHM produced specifications of actions that needed to be done on the site.
Beside just normal code quality, we also scanned the sites SEO performance as well as general tracking measurability. We found that the site was lacking in these terms, and therefor developed a 13-step program for implementing better tracking as well as changes to the actual way IHM was working with analytics and the understanding of the data produced.
In order to increase IHM’s ownership of their own data and digital marketing activities we also helped establish an inhouse function that would better analyze the outcome of different campaigns.
Today IHM and Star Republic have created a hybrid marketing department, where several members are employed by Star Republic but work as regular members of the inhouse team when needed. The ownership of the different business areas are still fully owned by the inhouse Brand/Program Managers as well as many parts of the everyday operations and production, but boosted with specialists from Star Republic.
In the first phases of our cooperation focus has been on improving the overall technical quality of ihm.se as well as setting up and identifying the necessary data points in order to analyze and be able to further increase the business value of every visitor to IHM.se.
In order to better visualize the daily activities on ihm.se as well as to have clear and better data to be used as a basis for decisions made in the management room, we set up the IHM Pulse dashboard - created with Plecto.
A creative team was placed at IHM HQ consisting of a copywriter, designer and data analyst, managed by both an e-commerce manager from Star Republic as well as management at IHM. Together they create content in a loop that goes from ad campaigns in social media and Adwords to landing pages and product descriptions on the product pages. Keeping ownership of the full loop gives IHM and us the possibility to be truly independent and self-improving. Working truly cross-functional at IHM HQ also gives us a level of insight into our clients’ business that otherwise would be impossible.
The IHM Pulse dashboard. Note that the actual data is dummy data.
Our cooperation is relatively new, but already we see that this joint effort is proving very effective. January 2020 traffic to ihm.se has increased with 30% compared with January 2019. Thanks to a collaborative oversight of IHMs advertising efforts as well as their landing pages, the day applications opened for the important YH courses we could see an increase of 227% from last year’s opening day.
That insight will be used in the upcoming steps of the project where we will start larger undertakings in terms of improving IHM.se as a whole. As of now the improvements of the actual website have been directed inwards, improving the user experience to the administrators at IHM.
Now the time has come to work with the most important stakeholder of all - the potential customers. Going forward we hope to see a great improvement in the customer journey at IHM.se, both in terms of visual quality, overall UX as well as copywriting based on customer insights and their needs.
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