• Increased service level to engage prospective students more effectively
  • Avoided prospective student alienation by consolidating marketing activity onto a single platform to control the quantity and quality of communications prospects receive
  • Measured the effectiveness of marketing initiatives against the goal of student enrollment
  • Eliminated costs from use of external vendors and support for marketing



Established in 1962, University of California, Irvine Extension (UCI Extension) offers courses and programs in 58 subject areas, totaling hundreds of class sections and tens of thousands of enrollments. Courses are delivered primarily online, with on-campus and employer site delivery throughout the U.S. and globally. The UCI Extension marketing group is responsible for engaging with prospective students and assisting them in identifying and enrolling in courses, using targeted marketing programs. A fully self-funded unit of the university, they need to ensure marketing efforts have a direct impact on student enrollment. Students enroll in courses individually, which means UCI Extension also has the challenge of needing to engage with students not just in their initial inquiry but also every quarter.

Prior to Marketo, UCI Extension used multiple tools for different campaigns. Prospective students captured from the school’s webpage went to one database while any transactional data such as course registration were housed separately. An outside vendor was used for nurture campaigns, but these did not tie into their other efforts, making it difficult to control the number of communications individuals received from the school. It was also difficult to change communications based on student behavior, such as a class registration. While the department executed multiple marketing activities, it was not possible to measure how many students in a particular course were generated by which marketing initiative. UCI Extension wanted to better understand the cost of new student acquisition and the effectiveness of its marketing programs. After considering several options, UCI Extension chose Marketo for its robust capabilities and analytics.


With Marketo, UCI Extension can access all prospective student activity in a single solution. This enables UCI Extension to build out smart programs that engage with students based on specific activities, such as a request for information about a specific program. The nurture stream updates automatically based on the student’s behaviors to ensure each student gets the most relevant information to his or her unique situation. In addition, because UCI Extension has access to all channel activities in a single platform, they can now work to understand exactly which of their marketing efforts best convert prospective students to enrolled students. Revenue can then be attributed to individual marketing activities so the school can adjust its marketing budget to obtain the highest return. Marketo is also used to channel prospective students from other activities, including massive open online courses (MOOCs) facilitated by the unit, which enroll tens of thousands of students globally, to bring interested students to UCI Extension for additional related studies.



Because UCI Extension has consolidated the tools and outside vendors used, the marketing team can be more efficient. Instead of managing communication limits on spreadsheets, UCI Extension uses Marketo to manage email communications to prospective students. The school has also eliminated the expense of third party vendors, and is using those dollars more efficiently to run nurture programs that drive enrollment. Using Marketo, UCI Extension is able to serve prospective students who are comparing courses and programs, including ensuring an outbound phone call is made to those students at the right time to support further conversation. UCI Extension uses Marketo for hundreds of campaigns and has developed landing pages and its website together to be easily used by tablets and mobile phones. This combination has resulted in a nearly three-fold increase in the number of enrollments received via mobile devices.