Digital marketing forum at the University of Helsinki

Today, I had the pleasure of participating the digital marketing forum at the University of Helsinki. Our university aims to improve the customer experience management (student and potential student experiences, employee experiences as well as company-government relationship experiences) with the digital activities. Digital transformation in any university is a complex process that involves multiple parties. This transformation is complex process in business but even more complex within universities that are governed by the government.

Digital marketing forum was open Susanna Rautio who is leading the digital transformation. She highlighted the experiences and their role in digital activities. Rautio used metaphor of a hook when thinking about the experiences. Perhaps, hook is too brutal associated with whale hunting and many fishermen use a net instead. Depends on the size of the net and the location what type of fish you will get.

Digimarkkinoinnin foorumi.jpg

After insightful presentation of Susanna, Ossi Lindroos from Solita presented the Digital Transformation Roadmap which focused on the various aspects companies and service providers face when digitizing their business and marketing activities. He highlighted the different degrees of change firms and industries are undergoing due to Uber, AirBnB, Alibaba and business model innovation (not his words but the digital transformation is usually linked to radical rethinking of business models). In many cases audience nodded their head when Ossi presented different views on digital transformation.

Besides, Solita, Finnish company Voitto is helping University of Helsinki in the Digital Transformation process. Sari Haavisto CEO of Voitto confirmed that they have been heavily involved in crafting the Visit Finland project Visit Finland and their campaigns which have yielded considerable revenues for those in Finnish tourism industry. Co-branding with Finnair has been on the most visible campaigns. Voitto and their different representatives at the forum highlighted the omnichannel integration and implementation issues with various digital channels to tailor optimum customer experience is a big challenge that needs to be addressed with individualized KPIs in mind.

After the “company” speeches the digital marketing forum continued with University of Helsinki representatives giving talks from digitization of “communication” and “marketing” functions. Also student recruitment services presented their views. Indeed we have to be “customer” focused but focusing too much on the customer and their needs creates marketing myopia. Balance between customer focus and “Steve Jobs marketing” referring to doing what the company knows best, is needed.

To summarize, the three hours of digital jargon talk, many were thinking where’s the beef? How I can use digital marketing in my work (program leader, student acquisition, communications etc.) ? and the answers are difficult to give. It depends… on the contingencies.

Based on the digital marketing forum many things are changing and they are. But if it ain’t broken don’t fix it – goes with university marketing activities as well Not everything is changing – something is of course.  Many of the today’s pedagogical tools still work well – not everything has to be in the digital “format”. Yes, we need to recruit the best students and researchers and acquire funding and digital marketing can help in this but it is not the silver bullet.




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