The Austrade organised mission to FPP EduExpos in Latin America was quite successful, held 16 February to 13 April 2019. The mission featured a total of 26 Australian institutions engaging with almost 24,000 prospective students. Programs covered social media insights, details of the forthcoming digital campaign in LATAM, a visit to Google, and the introduction of a chatbot to handle routine student enquiries.
This was the fourth year in which the events featured Australian branded pavilions. Sao Paulo was added to the agenda for the first time, alongside Mexico City, Bogota, Lima and Santiago.
Thanks to an effective campaign by FPP featuring the Australia, the events attracted more than 23,000 pre-screened students over the five cities. Austrade delivered eDMs to more than 1,400 prospects in the region and distributed content promoting the fairs through Embassy and Study in Australia social channels in all five cities. Special rates were negotiated for Australian exhibitors, and market briefings were delivered to these exhibitors. This included insights on social media usage in Latin America and details of the forthcoming digital campaign in Latin America. Additionally, a visit was arranged to Google in Colombia, and an introduction was demonstrated for chatbots to handle routine student enquiries.
In Lima, the briefings included match-making meetings with local institutions and presentations by a number of local organisations, including the scholarship agency PRONABEC and BCP bank, which offers a low-interest loan for study in Australia.
Feedback from participating institutions about both the fairs, and the quality of Austrade’s services, was strong, with 67 per cent describing Austrade’s service as very good and 86 per cent saying they were likely to participate in the future.
Though the quality of attendance can vary from event to event and market to market, it is estimated that student fairs continue to constitute an important part of the marketing mix in Latin America. This would be alongside greater investment in digital, institutional and regional outreach, and strong relationships with education agents. Building trust is a necessary precursor to doing business in Latin America, making face to face an essential element of marketing. A major family investment like studying in Australia in particular, demands affirmation and that can be particularly effective when brought together under the national brand.