Being transparent about the perks students will get at your institution

This week on Most Clicked, we talk about how the University of Northampton has pulled its 'student perks' into one place and how this can be an added benefit for prospective students.

The University of Northampton has pulled its “student perks” into one place. How is this still rare across the sector? Sure, some universities won’t have a lot of differentiating extras, but many do – why don’t they shout about them? Northampton offers a new laptop for incoming students, but also the chance to trade the tech for an accommodation discount. If that’s not enough, all student societies are free and students get full access to LinkedIn Learning. Individually, stuff like this may not move the decision needle, but listing everything together may just turn a few heads.

Nathan Monk
Hello, and welcome to this week’s Most Clicked. This week, we are looking at something interesting that’s been going on over at the University of Northampton. As ever joined by Kyle and Matt, Kyle, what are the University of Northampton doing that’s so interesting?

Kyle Campbell
It caught my eye because it’s a really quite basic thing that they’re doing. And I think a lot of other unis could just well steal is the wrong word. Take inspiration from. And so what they’ve done is they’ve pulled together all the benefits and all the great stuff that students get almost exclusively by studying with them, I’m sure some of these things are available at other universities. But the key thing is that they pulled it all together onto one web page. And I know that sounds really, really basic. But often universities offer students so many great things when they enrol or when they’re considering them as a choice. But they don’t have that information in one place. It’s often like here and there in different sort of areas of the website. But what this does is it leads to those kinds of key items at the tops like you get a laptop, which is nice. But the other thing they do, they say, Look, if you don’t need a laptop, because let’s face it, a lot of students already have the tech that they need in that respect. And they say, Well, you can take the money that you would have got for that laptop, and you can use it for like an accommodation discount, you know, so these are real tangible things. And even the stuff that students, probably most students now get a standard, like subscriptions to lynda.com, via LinkedIn as I think it’s called lynda.com now, is it called LinkedIn learning? So you know, this, this is listed on the page as a benefit of becoming a student with them. But I imagine most students get that because it comes as part of that Microsoft offer, doesn’t it? But listing it, that’s what they’ve done and that’s why it’s different. So having a page like this on your website, if it’s a hard time decision making, it might come down to it, you know, often those are factors and it might not come down to like, you know, £600 accommodation discount, but it could.

Nathan Monk
I didn’t realise that LinkedIn learning stuff was all part of the 365 suite. And I think it kind of speaks to those people that just aren’t clued up about all of these sorts of things. And it feels like a subscription service, it feels quite a lifestyle to me, like join this, and you’ll get all of these extra things. And I see that from a lot of lifestyles, SAS products, you don’t see it from universities. And that’s crazy because there is the benefits that universities can give are so immense. But like you say, just bundling this together, it starts to feel almost a bit Silicon Valley. I see it in other parts of my personal life, like, I don’t know, my bank account comes with additional benefits and stuff now. And all these private sector companies are definitely jumping onto that bandwagon. So it’s really, really refreshing to see a university taking the bull by the horns and joining in that charge for sure.

Kyle Campbell
Yeah, you’re right. And, you know, on that subscription angle, Northampton aren’t doing this. But a lot of digital publishers now are grouping subscriptions from multiple publishers. So if you sign up to use this service, you’ll get subscriptions, like for example, New York Times plus five others that you would have to spend separately for in the past. And, you know, I don’t know what the university equivalent of that is, but even something like LinkedIn learning, you know, having used this it, it’s an incredible tool, you know, most professionals in higher education, they’ll have access to this tool, and I’ve used it before, like brush up on SEO stuff and all that and it’s all there, and actually have that as a student is a great additional resource to support General Studies and lectures really,

Nathan Monk
you know, it doesn’t it doesn’t feel contrived either. Looking at that page, it doesn’t feel forced. It doesn’t feel like they’ve looked at a subscription service and gone ah, we must copy this idea. It feels like a genuine extension of the university kind of process. So I love it. I’d love to see more universities, I’d actually like to see more universities push this as part of their kind of the core, ‘About Us’ sections on their websites and things like that. I think it’s going to come. But feels like it could become a really big part of the application and recruitment process.

Kyle Campbell
Yeah and I think about that one of the challenging aspects of university marketers is to actually have those differentiators isn’t it because, you can have a great campaign and all that and your messaging can be your differentiator, almost. But it is very difficult to differentiate some universities from each other and having that package of benefits could be something that you use to differentiate yourself. And the painful thing is that most universities probably have this but not many of them are using it as a tool, definitely not pulling it together as a meaningful package. Coventry University used to do it, I can’t remember what they used to call it. But they renamed it some sort of package as part of starting at the university, and they used to use that as a tactic.

Nathan Monk
The way that I kind of, why it resonates with me is, Matt and I do a lot of pitching work. And in pitching, if you don’t say it, it doesn’t exist. And it’s similar with this, I think, is that there are probably tonnes of universities that have this, it’s just not visible. And if it’s not visible to the student, then it doesn’t exist to the student. So even for the University of Northampton, they may have created a differentiator, just saying that they do this in a really publicly, visible way. And, I’m sure that there are other universities that do that. But there’s also a lot of care and attention that’s gone into this landing page, this sales page that they put together, and I think it’ll really pay off for them. I think they should be commended for that.

Kyle Campbell
And I’ll second that by saying, when I do this research and find these universities, I am vicious. And I mean, like on a page for like five seconds. And if something doesn’t grab me, I’m off to the next one. Yeah, I clearly have arrived here. And I found this reasonably easily. So yeah, fair play to them, and it’s really well done and it was easy to find.

Matt Lees
It begins to allude to the wider experience on offer as well, for me. One of the perks that stood out was free Sports and Societies, and even including all of the kits that might be needed to do so. What a cool thing to do. Last week, we talked about belonging, and actually, it begins to sell that wider experience, and you can get an understanding of the kind of experience you’re going to have at the university. Yeah, I love it. It’s really smart.

Nathan Monk
Yeah, really nice, great example, as well, Kyle, and it’s I think, as much as anything, you know, it’s the whole premise of Most Clicked right is that it is the most clicked items from your newsletter. So it’s nice to have some of that reassurance as well that other people in the sector also think that that’s a really cool idea. And that’s something that we perhaps don’t talk about enough on the show called Most Clicked. But yeah, I think it’s really cool that the sector is looking at this and I’m excited to see if others follow or what did you call it not, not steal? What was it?

Kyle Campbell
Take inspiration from

Nathan Monk
Take inspiration from, my go-to or is used to be liberate. I’m going to liberate. But yeah absolutely. All right. Well, thanks so much once again, Kyle, Matt, been a pleasure. If you have enjoyed today’s show, please consider dropping us a like maybe even a subscribe as well if you feel like it. We’ll be back next Monday. 9 am Until then, see you

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Elliott Barnicle

Lead Designer