UCI increased enrollment by 1140+ students and increased revenue by $1M+ with GNW

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Increase in Revenue from Master’s Degree Programs


Increase in Student Enrollment Year-Over-Year


Increase in Email Open Rates and 8% Increase in CTR

About UCI

UCI Division of Continuing Education was established in 1962 and has served the lifelong learning and career development needs of individuals, organizations, and the community on a local, regional, and global scale.

UCI encountered an enrollment problem. Their existing digital recruitment efforts weren’t resulting in more students, but instead causing constant headaches for their staff. A lack of technology wasn’t the root of the problem, nor was their marketing message. They needed help identifying exactly what steps were needed to optimize their MarTech stack and create the efficiencies their team needed within their Marketo instance.

The Challenge:

Optimize a complicated MarTech stack and equip their team with needed tools, knowledge, and training to improve enrollment rates

UCI Division of Continuing Education’s Division of Continuing Education had a labor-intensive way of making mass edits across hundreds of emails and programs within Marketo. There were no global templates, making it inefficient and daunting just to make a simple change to an email or landing page, let alone multiple changes at once.

Since editing content was a nightmare, they couldn’t implement any personalization or even create messaging that aligned with a specific individual’s journey toward enrollment. The emails and landing pages were “dull” and outdated, lacking the information that potential students needed to know about their continuing education program offerings. This inability to deliver effective content was costing them email open rates and click-throughs which translated to a loss in revenue and declining enrollment numbers.

Their Marketing Program Managers (MPMs) were new to Marketo, so tasking them with an inefficient process resulted in lacking confidence among the team. They were hesitant to share new ideas and afraid of “breaking” the existing, yet inefficient process. Simple tasks like changing a landing page headline required help from the development team, causing a “log jam” in the process.

Marketo was not the only tool they needed help leveraging. They recently moved from their custom CRM to the Salesforce Higher Education Data Architecture (HEDA) model. It presented changes that their legacy departments had to quickly adjust to. This lack of understanding how Marketo and Salesforce communicated wasn’t allowing marketing departments to understand where their prospective students were in their journey toward enrollment.

Simple edits like changing the name of a contact at our organization used to be a nightmare, now it’s really simplified and standardized… we just make one global adjustment, which is amazing. This has been a lifesaver for someone like me who has 30-40 programs using these types of nurture emails.
Michelle Summers

Senior Marketing Manager
UCI Division of Continuing Education

The Solution:

Establishing an integrated system harnessing the power of templates, personalization, and segmentation.

GNW Consulting sat down with the UCI Division of Continuing Education teams to discover what processes were broken and brainstorm new ideas for improvement. By incorporating the Marketing Sensitivity Analysis into the discussion, GNW Consulting was able to quickly identify ineffective systems and create a customized plan for improvement and implementing recommended best practices.

The first step was setting up global templates for emails and landing pages. Creating a master library of templates by leveraging snippets in Marketo allowed users to edit any email and propagate changes to multiple copies in real time. This approach solved the existing inflexibility in their email creation process.

Existing content was not resonating with the correct audiences because the existing messaging was redundant, so we brainstormed with their team to create an enrollment funnel that allowed for the segmentation of people who expressed interest, but weren’t enrolling and the various reasons why.

By identifying that audience, GNW Consulting created a retargeting strategy. This allowed UCI Division of Continuing Education teams to craft campaigns that focused on all the different stages of the funnel ensuring that they could deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time.

After our MPM’s training, it was like they were no longer intimidated by the platform. I’ve had nothing but great feedback from everybody, they’re just really impressed with the new templates. These new capabilities not only allow them to create nice assets, but it has greatly improved their efficiency. Our team is no longer spending time flooding our web designer with minor HTML changes. Everything can be customized on the fly.
Michelle Summers
Senior Marketing Manager
UCI Division of Continuing Education

Our Process:


Optimize existing Marketo Integration, providing opportunities to leverage the
Salesforce Higher Education Data Architecture (HEDA) model.


Establish communication between legacy systems and new tools in a fully efficient way that enable marketing and sales teams to achieve success.


Implement a lead scoring model that could effectively inform their revenue cycle, identify new opportunities to ensure optimal ROI.

Improving Design Standards & Form Best Practices

Streamlining their process quickly raised a lot of questions about how they could improve their emails and landing pages. Since they didn’t have a developer on staff, we were able to quickly fill that gap by revamping their landing page CSS, improving form styles across their website to adhere to best practices and refreshing their email templates for a better look and feel.

JHFoster’s previous process required a minimum of 5 hours to create simple newsletters and emails. It was clunky and required coding. Our developer quickly coded new templates that followed best-practice standards and a streamlined design approach. Our new solution allowed them to create impressive landing pages, emails and newsletters in just under 30 minutes.

I would just have to say in general that working with GNW Consulting, it’s been amazing, because I know we wouldn’t be able to be where we are today! This was a very involved process and we didn’t even have any idea how to start this, so it was just amazing to see that we’re going beyond what is expected of a marketing department in academia.
Michelle Summers

Senior Marketing Manager
UCI Division of Continuing Education

The Results:

Increased email performance, optimized Marketo-Salesforce integration, and increased revenue across campus.

Being able to solve for the problem of attribution and engagement has allowed UCI Division of Continuing Education to bridge the gap between enrollment and marketing efforts. Using new data has helped with comparative enrollment metrics to gauge effectiveness across email campaigns.

Leveraging Marketo snippets, we were able to improve the overall design of the email to optimize all communications and yield higher conversion and open rates. Snippets have allowed teams to create complex emails that include features such as testimonial videos, personalized creative content, and direct contact information. 

It’s been about 2 years since the integration, during this time UCI Division of Continuing Education has relied heavily on GNW Consulting to navigate the process and ensure that they were bridging the gap between marketing and IT. The optimization has allowed them to effectively grab what they need from the system and leave what they don’t untouched.

This integrated approach has effectively put prospective students at the center of all marketing and personalization delivery efforts. It has empowered the MPMs to focus on the goal of providing exceptional service and information to prospects at any stage of their journey toward enrollment.

“Our ‘little’ UCI Division of Continuing Education has gained a really strong reputation of being at the forefront of digital marketing technology and automation,” says Michelle. “So much to the extent that just within our own campus, we’re taking on projects and generating revenue for other schools and programs.”

From pharmacology and engineering to the law schools, word got out that the UCI Division of Continuing Education knows how to leverage Marketo and Salesforce to not just generate leads, but also nurture them, track their application processes and generate revenue to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.


Email Sequence Open Rate


Email Sequence Click Rate


Click-to-Open Ratio
(8% improvement)

Because we’re able to do this with great success, word just keeps getting out. We get all these inquiries about how we can help with their program. Our strategic communications unit has even asked for our help. It’s not lost on me that this is the big marketing communications unit and they’re asking us for help. We helped them create a multi-tiered email that was similar to a survey going out to a really prestigious, wealthy group of donors.
Michelle Summers
Senior Marketing Manager
UCI Division of Continuing Education

Leading the Pack

Success from the program across the UCI Division of Continuing Education campus grabbed the attention of Adobe. Michelle Summers was tasked with helping other education systems, like UCLA, get started with Marketo and to scale the success and best practices learned from GNW Consulting.

“I’m also just really flattered that adobe wants me to help encourage those relationships, but at the same time, I feel flattered that UCLA is seeking me out for help with their Marketo platform because they’re not doing the things that we’re doing –they’re just sending very basic emails,” says Michelle.

GNW Consulting’s partnership with UCI Division of Continuing Education continues today. We’re excited to advise them as they implement more personalization and scale their success across various campuses and departments.

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