15139 Kuali Customer Case study logo


Marketing activity output 


Digital marketing spend 


Open rates

Marketo helps Kuali achieve depth and scale with enhanced multi-channel personalization and platform efficiencies 




Kuali provides a cloud-based software, enabling higher education institutions to streamline and simplify administrative processes so they can “spend less time on administration and more time on teaching, learning, and research.”

The Kuali Foundation was founded in 2005 as a non-profit focused on administrative systems. It became clear, however, that universities had an immediate need to address their complex administrative processes with open source software solutions. In order to accelerate software development, Kuali, Inc. was established in 2014. Today, top schools including Indiana University, Colorado State University and Clemson University rely on Kuali to streamline administration.

Ben Beck, Director of Marketing at Kuali, manages a team that oversees email marketing, nurture programs and digital advertisement. Kuali faces unique marketing challenges in the higher education space, including messaging to different types of educational programs and highly-varied stakeholders. Coupling this with the 4 different product lines they offer, Ben and his team needed to find a way to effectively establish a hyper-targeted and integrated multi-channel approach. This level of personalization and segmentation proved difficult to achieve with a previous marketing automation tool, which lacked openness and flexibility. They chose to migrate to Marketo for the superior integration with Salesforce and their extended marketing technology stack, allowing them to seamlessly execute relevant programs over email, web, events, and social. 


  • Establish a targeted and consistent multi-channel approach in order to “cut through the noise”
  • Maximize marketing’s efficiency and increase time to value on campaign output
  • Increase lead conversions and reduce search engine marketing spend with highly relevant ads 



Capitalizing on Efficiencies for Greater Scale

According to Ben, the biggest constraint and most valued resource to the marketing team is time. With a nimble team, time and resource management is even more vital to marketing’s success. “We operate very lean, every minute counts and every dollar is accounted for” explains Ben. Marketo helps dramatically optimize the team’s efficiencies. For example, campaign replication allows the them to automate repetitive tasks by easily cloning successful programs and tokening assets. This was not easily done on their previous solution due to the fact that campaign assets lived in separate parts of the platform. What this created was a time-consuming process of having to locate separate assets, individually edit them, and then tie them back together. Marketo has enabled the team to eliminate manual processes, resulting in a boost of marketing output by three- fold - in a fifth of the typical time.

The time saved with Marketo has also created opportunity to scale marketing across the customer lifecycle. With their prior solution, simple tasks took significant amounts of time to complete, limiting marketing’s ability to support customer success. Kuali’s customer success managers were using various email batch tools for follow-up, which allowed for little personalization. Today, 95% of customer support flows through Marketo. This has directly contributed to better customer follow-up, increased responsiveness, and overall improvement in customer satisfaction. 

"Time to value on Marketo has been tremendous, allowing us to triple our marketing output with the same amount of resources, what use to take 8-10 man hours to do, we can now do in 2 hours. The amount of time we save with Marketo has allowed us to expand our marketing output and support other vital parts of the organization.” 



Granular Segmentation for Event Management 

Event and webinar campaigns make up a significant portion of Kuali’s lead generation and nurture programs. Without a solution that provided robust filtering and granular segmentation, Ben and his team felt limited in their ability to properly define their audience and execute thorough attendee follow-up. This created a manual work-around process of having to use their CRM to define lists with the granularity they needed and then exporting that list to their marketing platform.

With Marketo’s advanced filters and layering logic, the “team can now define audience segments that are precise and accurate” within Marketo SmartLists. For example, in preparation for user conferences they now segment recipients based on factors such as role, location, and product interest. They can even layer these filters to achieve a deeper level of granularity without having to build lists in

their CRM – something not offered on their previous solution. Even more, Marketo’s out-of-the-box integration with their event management tool, Cvent allows the team to more seamlessly build out complete customer profiles and execute thorough follow-up based on event activity and attendee behavior (for example: booth visit, demo). 

The level of granularity – and therefore, personalization – they are now able to achieve has resulted in “increased engagement and open rates north of 40% and click through rates north of 10%”. Ben also shares that lead quality has improved substantially. In their first 3 months, the number of MQLs recycled by sales decreased by 15%. 

Targeted Ads Reduce Digital Marketing Cost 

Kuali has also adopted Marketo's ad network integrations to reach potential buyers across the web. With Marketo, they are able to create Facebook lookalike campaigns that target individuals that resemble buyers in specific customer segments with compelling messaging and then follow up on those leads with relevant nurture. The Kuali team has not only achieved a heightened level of multi-channel personalization – it also takes them a tenth of the time to create and deploy Facebook lookalike campaigns – which now connect seamlessly to their nurture processes through Marketo SmartLists.

More targeted ads and integrated multi-channel campaigns have improved conversion and return on investment. Using Marketo to target ads has also helped Kuali allocate their search marketing spend more efficiently, allowing them to decrease in overall cost-per-click by 75%.

With Marketo, we are able to achieve greater segmentation with ads. This is important to us because where we have potential buyers on Facebook, it is critical that we get an ad in front of them that is relevant and speaks to their needs in order to increase conversions and lead quality.