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case study

Attracting students using inbound: Inbound marketing case study

Going from nothing to a widespread and multi-faceted inbound marketing plan brings in £2.25m worth of results inside one year, for Newcastle University.

About the client


Going from nothing to a widespread and multi-faceted inbound marketing plan brings in £2.25m worth of results within one year.

Originally established as a pioneering medical school in 1834, Newcastle University is still pushing boundaries and helping shape the world we know today.

For example, there isn't a single computer game in the world that doesn't use lines of code that were made at Newcastle University. The New York Stock Exchange is run on their code too.

There are 27,000 students and 6,500 directly employed staff, all operating on the tight-knit, city-centre campus. Along with Newcastle United Football Club, Newcastle University is a vital organ that breathes life into this post-industrial, North Eastern city.

The University itself has a turnover of £500m+ and an economic impact of £1.1bn on the region each year.

But as the world has changed technologically and economically, so has the way universities now need to recruit their students. For the first time, historic universities, like Newcastle, can't be selective with applications. They need to compete to attract students.



Historically, it's been the case that students market themselves to universities, not the other way around.

More and more prospective students aren't taking what's on offer. They're choosing wisely and researching heavily.

Jude Browne, Director of Marketing, knew inbound marketing and HubSpot were the tools to keep Newcastle University ahead of the competition.

"It tells us whether the assumptions we've been making for a long time are actually correct."

She added, "We can understand, 'if we do this, it will have that impact.'"

However, she and her team had a four-fold challenge in front of them.

  1. Marketing for the first time from an inbound perspective.
  2. Reaching students earlier in their buyer's journey than anyone else.
  3. Be able to prove performance.
  4. And have student information feed into multiple teams and systems.



Newcastle needed to move quickly and at scale. So we allocated plenty of resource as the first job, which the client appreciated.

"We can now do things in this academic year that we could only dream of previously," says Alaric Pritchard, Student Journey Programme Manager at Newcastle University.

We planned and delivered nine different marketing campaigns in one year which were delivered using the HubSpot marketing platform. These were aimed mostly at international students.

We really tapped into the early stages of the buyer's journey for the first time.

We realised the first decision worth influencing was whether to study abroad and helping with all the pain points associated with making that decision.

We did it through written blogs and download content, videos for YouTube and paid social, organic social, email marketing and SEO.

Innovation Integration Image 2 functionality added in 2019 by Digital 22 for Newcastle University

"Avidly inherently understand that you are an extension of our team and an extension of us... it's really helped us move forward," said Jude.

We also set up HubSpot as the central point of the software stack to inform other tools and teams.

That meant results could be tracked and information passed along to other relevant teams. And there was plenty to pass on.

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