Client Stories

A student-first marketing blueprint for global education recruitment



  • Help international education recruitment leader, Study Group, make a major shift from ‘push’ to ‘pull’ marketing to align with students’ needs and their decision-making journey – further establishing itself as a strategic marketer with a multi-channel, digital recruitment strategy.
  • Support Study Group teams with this shift, to increase numbers of international students choosing courses at its own centres and partner universities.
  • Propose how personalised marketing could be realised on a global scale.



  • Extensive research and analysis of global student audience and market trends, Study Group’s practices plus a full content audit and 40 stakeholder interviews, including global marketing and sales teams.
  • Produced and secured buy-in for a set of recommendations, which we then developed into a marketing blueprint, as well as additional support, tools and guidelines to help Study Group effectively implement this new student-first approach.
  • We used our Storytagger framework to tailor a story capture process for global teams to amplify the student experience with engaging personal stories.





  • Enabled Study Group to put students at the forefront of its long-term marketing focus and develop effective digital practices.
  • Increase in engagement and student advocacy as a result of mapping marketing to student journey.
  • Global marketing teams use our country-specific production calendars aligned to student journey timelines to guide marketing cycles.
  • A story matrix covering whole education journey supports video-led marketing activity.
  • Our source market research enables creation of hyper-localised campaigns demonstrating a student-first experience.
Reporting directly to our senior management team, LearnerLab helped us understand and frame the strategy for this seismic shift in how our sector builds relationships with students.
Tony Lee, Digital Marketing Director, Study Group


Background and project aims
Study Group is a global operation providing international students with a pathway to university degree courses abroad via its own higher education and language courses as well as through partnerships with over 50 universities in the UK, US and ANZ. With 72% of prospective international students citing mobile functionality on university websites as important and over 40% using social media to find information before making an enquiry, Study Group needed to implement a new digital, student-first approach to drive new enrolments.
Our brief was to help Study Group accelerate this dramatic shift from traditional ‘push’ methods (static brochures etc.) to a dynamic, multi-channel approach by creating a Student-First Marketing Blueprint and supporting assets aligned to country-specific dates and student decision-making stages.
Recruiting over 70,000 students from 163 countries requires Study Group to deliver highly personalised digital marketing for learning across the globe.

Extensive desk research and over 40 stakeholder interviews gave us a detailed understanding of current global market trends, best practices, latest student intelligence as well as Study Group’s direction, data and marketing content material. After presenting initial recommendations, we worked with the Marketing Leadership team to refine these around the original key themes as well as new areas uncovered by our research.


With specific objectives agreed, we designed and developed the Student-First Marketing Blueprint and other core assets to support its implementation and guide new processes across Study Group’s teams.

The most comprehensive student journey map I’ve seen in student recruitment. This is a big step forward – it’s great work.
Alex Chevrolle,
Executive Director, Study Group

Student-First Marketing Blueprint

The Blueprint with recommendations across five key themes instigated the new ‘pull’ strategy.

Source Market Infographics

Key market fact sheets to enable hyper-localised campaigns and deliver highly-targeted student-first marketing collateral.

Student Journey and Marketing Tracker

Highly informative infographic, mapping detailed stages of the student journey to key marketing, sales and operational targets, stories and activity.

Story capture and production guide plus story matrix

A guide and process, based on Storytagger, to help teams capture engaging, authentic and relevant experiences from across the whole student journey.

Production and Publication Calendar

A simple planner to help marketing teams deliver student-first, localised marketing content at the right time, in the right format and through the right channels.


Creating impact quickly to generate organisational buy-in
The Student-First Marketing Blueprint has transformed Study Group’s approach, capitalising on agile digital marketing methods and tactical use of key, variable data and content. It means marketing teams can proactively appeal to decision makers and influencers (parents and agents as well as students) at key stages of the student journey to increase enrolment.

Effective resources to support internal development
The Production and Publication calendar, for example, makes it clear for source teams exactly when and how they should engage with students, with a clear timeline for each destination market.

Constantly simplifying the complex
Making a very complicated process simple through infographics and processes has delivered a practical, tangible outcome. Showing how marketing needs to change and its positive impact on sales has also helped to further unite the sales and marketing teams.

This is going to be a game-changer.

Paul Levett,
Chief Commercial Officer, Study Group


LearnerLab’s consultancy and research enabled the creation of a Marketing Blueprint that has formed the basis for Study Group’s new and on-going Student-First strategy. We were able to produce insights beyond the brief and produce a complete suite of support materials to help Study Group’s marketing and content teams engage more purposefully with prospective students. Our work has encouraged teams to adopt a Student-First mindset, with Study Group additionally enlisting our support to implement new processes and guidelines for a smooth transition.