Re-thinking the marketing team structure for universities.

Murdoch University is a global university with its largest campus in Perth, Western Australia and a global footprint in Singapore, Myanmar and Dubai.

The university was facing increasing domestic competition from the four local universities in Perth, and a drastic reduction in international student enrolments due to COVID-19.


Snapshot of the issues:

  • Murdoch was facing increasing competition and was seeking new ways to drive market share growth
  • Disconnect within the marketing team was constraining performance
  • The marketing team had strengths in some stages of the marketing funnel and gaps in other areas such as acquisition marketing, conversion, CX and upsell
  • The university had undergone several reorganisations that had impacted the requirements of the marketing team
  • Implementing stronger brand governance was an ongoing process
  • There was an opportunity to bring about a more seamless approach across platforms and marketing
  • The workload was unevenly distributed across the senior marketing managers, creating burnout risk
  • There was a desire to cement the positioning of the marketing team internally as a strategic, value-adding, results-driven team
  • The Director M&C appointed Growth Generators to work with him to reimagine the marketing team structure in order to achieve the ambitious growth goals for the university.


The Brief
True to Murdoch’s reputation for always looking to do things differently, their Director of Marketing and Communications (Director M&C) Neil Cullingford, sought the opportunity to review their marketing team structure and capabilities.

Neil wanted to build a high-performance, modern marketing team that could support the university to achieve its significant growth ambitions, and appointed Growth Generators to help achieve this objective.


Our Approach
Working in tandem with the Director M&C, we implemented an adapted design-thinking approach to team remodelling to attack this challenge, with the project broken into 4 stages. Each stage consisted of different layers of engagement and analysis with the Director M&C including several workshops and supplementary analysis.


The Solution:

  • A new modern marketing team structure equipped with the roles, skills and capabilities to deliver growth for Murdoch
  • The team is composed of a typical communications team, and a creative production team; but where the new thinking prevailed is in the 3 teams based on the long and the short of it. This includes:
    • A Brand Team – that manages major campaigns, content marketing and social media
    • A Performance Marketing Team – that looks after pipeline and product – from optimising the website, to search to nurture communications that offer the right product to the right person at the right time
    • An Engagement Experience Team – that blends the ‘phygital’ experience comprised of the UX team and the events team to converge the physical and digital experiences into the best journey possible
  • As part of the new structure, new positions and capabilities were added in acquisition, complemented by new skills in UX, CX, digital and web management, marketing strategy and performance marketing
  • The new structure was designed to provide clarity of roles and responsibilities to reduce tension in the team and enable Murdoch to punch above its weight in terms of marketing results.


Bringing the web team into marketing
Growth Generators also designed and facilitated a workshop between the Director, Marketing and Communications, the Chief Operating Officer, and the Director, Digital to unpack the challenges occurring due to the web team being in a separate department from marketing.

As a result;

  • The COO agreed for the web team to change reporting lines into the marketing team
  • This streamlined the operations of managing the branding, content and functionality of the website and resulted in a better user experience for students.