Try to imagine how hard it is to create relevant experiences for more than 1 million undergraduate and graduate students with distinct needs. That’s what Kroton Educacional, one of the largest Brazilian companies in the education sector, is tasked with.
From the time high school students first seek information about college-level courses on smartphones to the time they receive an online graduate degree, their journey develops in stages. Yet all of the stages do hold something in common: “The use of digital channels has become a crucial tool in the relationship between students and educators,” says Paulo de Tarso, vice president of continuing education at Kroton.
In an interview with CMO.com, de Tarso spoke about the role of technology in the educational journey and how artificial intelligence is already helping job-searching students.
CMO.com: How does digital transformation take place in a group like Kroton, which was founded more than 50 years ago?
de Tarso: We have approached the digital transformation challenge in two dimensions. The first is what we call “Go Digital.” It is how our clients—students—understand that the company delivers a digital solution. It all becomes tangible when these students visit our site or use our app, or in the way professors interact in the classroom and via digital platforms.
The other dimension refers to the way we transform ourselves as a company. It is our mindset, our culture. In other words, it is our way of thinking. We call it “Be Digital.” It is the way we have been organizing ourselves internally to promote the evolution of everything we offer. We are committed to creating a startup mindset within our company.
CMO.com: Is the consumer journey very different in the educational sector, especially if you take into account 1 million students with very distinct needs?
de Tarso: The journey in education is very segmented. First, the student must know we exist. Then, we have to convince people we are a good option as a provider of educational solutions. The third challenge is to make sure the student chooses us. Finally, once the student chooses us, will he or she have good things to say about us? We segment the journey in these stages because each of them has very different challenges. Then we create experiences for each of them.
To be successful, the experiences throughout the journey must be relevant. In the area of continuing education, students have their minds on the job market. The questions they ask are always: “What I learn here, will it help me in the market? Can I increase my income or become more competitive than before?” In this context, content lies at the core of everything we do.
CMO.com: Relevant content depends on data analysis. In other words, you have to know your target to deliver experiences.
de Tarso: It is the cornerstone of everything we do because we think about relevant content and segment the public according to the needs of each person. A few years ago, we realized that employers represented a valuable source of information to our students. We need to understand what these employers are looking for, what professional profiles, and what skills.
CMO.com: Listening to what employers have to say is important. But how can technology connect students to the job market?
de Tarso: We created a platform that is 100% digital, and we encourage all our schools and continuing education complexes to continuously talk to the market.
We developed a matchmaking algorithm that connects students to the job market based on the skills they have. Behind this platform, we have artificial intelligence at work to connect the best candidates with the right openings. The system always takes into account the particular characteristics of each region and market. This tool is an excellent example of how technology can help, and how it humanizes an educational and professional process.