Re-thinking the marketing team structure for universities.

[Stage 2. Infrastructure | Team remodelling]

“The team remodelling approach that Growth Generators developed is brilliant. It helped us design an innovative team structure based on the latest marketing trends reconciled against our organisational context. Ty’s CMO and CMO Advisor experience enables him to bring fresh ideas to the table and challenge his clients to stretch their thinking.”
Neil Cullingford, Director Marketing and Communications, Murdoch University


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.

Specifically, the new marketing structure enabled the marketing team to:

   Adopt an adaptive approach to marketing and communications strategy and planning to respond effectively to change whilst driving continuous improvement
   Provide dedicated cross-team support for international marketing activities
   Strategically develop engaging content to build Murdoch’s narrative across audiences and channels and increase social media engagement
   Improve the management of the university website, including content, functionality and personalisation – with a newly refreshed website due in 2022
   Develop acquisition-focused product marketing campaigns that drove significant recruitment outcomes and helped join up the long and the short of it to provide a better CX journey
   Manage the brand positioning and associated communication style, including the roll-out of a new corporate identity and brand positioning
   Build the profile of the university and enhance its local and international reputation
   Increase the sophistication in how the marketing team operates and goes to market, due to re-orientating the team in the short framework with an acquisition focus
   Maintain Murdoch’s share of voice x share of attention, despite competitors significantly increasing their advertising
   Increase its capability to drive strong international enrolments when borders reopen in 2022 and beyond
   Since adopting the new structure, Murdoch has seen growth in key target audiences and is seeing early indications of stronger conversions.

I’m proud of the modern team structure that we implemented and the results speak for themselves.

I’m ready to remodel my marketing team