Improving Deakin University's current applicant experience for a student first approach to conversion.

Integration and Automation of Applicant Portal System

In 2020 Deakin University partnered with Social Garden to support them with the development of a strategy to ensure their new application portal successfully integrated with their CRM and Marketing Automation platforms – being Salesforce and Marketo.

The goals for this were to: 

  1. Ensure that the new Deakin application portal would integrate with Salesforce and Marketo in a way which would allow for effective personalised marketing automation.
  2. That marketing automation would take into account how far prospects had progressed through their applications.
  3. Cater to prospects who may have only one or multiple applications.
  4. Allow for one to one marketing which could be triggered by an individual prospect’s progress with one or multiple applications.
  5. To design a scalable automation solution that would work for the large number of courses offered to Deakin’s prospects.
  6. Increase the conversion of quality prospects by providing them timely relevant communications.

Social Garden’s certified experts provided a set of recommendations on their data so that Deakin could ensure the applicant process was implemented correctly.

How did we do it?

Our experts were provided access to Deakin’s Marketo and Salesforce instances, to analyse how each platform was set up and how they were integrated with one another – with a specific focus on how course applications would integrate from the application portal to Salesforce and into Marketo.

After running preliminary discovery workshops with Deakin’s internal experts and stakeholders, Social Garden’s technical team gained critical findings, insights and specific objectives to meet for this project. Social Garden then thoroughly reviewed Marketo and Salesforce in both production and sandbox environments and tested the front-end application portal to work out the best way to pass data from one system to another.

This provided Social Garden an understanding of the data flow, key conversion points and where optimisations could be made.

Social Garden then mapped out how the data should flow from one platform to another along with what data, process and trigger updates would be required to meet all of Deakin’s requirements.

Social Garden’s experts then provided tailored recommendations and strategy on how to implement the recommended solution to improve Deakin’s application experience and conversions with relevant timely communications for prospects.

“It’s about creating scalable solutions which unify all your marketing and sales efforts into one vision to truly deliver on all your business needs”

– Gabriel Mingorance, Solution Architect

How did we deliver it?

Current State Workshop

After the initial briefing session, the team at Social Garden ran a workshop to map out the current data flow between all systems. Using LucidChart our team of experts mapped the existing process and what the new application experience might look like, working with Deakin to ensure it was aligned to what was required.

Future State Workshop

After the Current State Workshop, a Future orientated blueprint was developed to detail the data flow that relates to clear, succinct and simple applicant steps. This included an overview of the Salesforce and Marketo efforts required to execute the strategy. Clear identification of the changes needed to be made, as- well as additional new features to improve the user journey such as velocity scripting were documented.


With the needs of Deakin in mind, Social Garden provided a set of recommendations for Deakin to action. This included a detailed future strategy process chart, supported by clear detailed documentation of each step in the process. This provide a clear blueprint for Deakin to execute against, so that they could integrate changes independently for long term success.

“The key to success in this project was ensuring early buy in and contribution from important stakeholders on both ends of the project through our initial discovery workshop. This enabled us to understand all aspects of the current state, which then informed the proposed solution.”

— Zoe Peters, Senior Account Manager

What some of the recommendations included.

Marketo Background Forms

These enables prospects activities to be tracked easily without interfering with the current registration or login process.

Munchkin and Mouseflow Tracking

Whenever an applicant registers or logs-in to the application portal. These tools allow you to natively track user actions to measure user experiences across application portals to allow for optimisations in the future. The key goal here is creating solutions.


In order to create a seamless flow of data – certain data from the application portal had to be changed to ensure we could accurately measure how far user had progressed through the application portal in order to receive the correct relevant communications.

Optimised Application Journey Nurture

We reworked the existing strategy for the application nurture to allow for a more dynamic user experience which allows each student to be on their own journey and be contacted at more appropriate cadence based on their behaviour.