SPARK Deakin’s Accelerator Program

SPARK Deakin’s
Accelerator Program

SPARK Deakin’s Accelerator Program

By the end of its first year, SPARK Deakin’s Accelerator Program for startups was in serious danger of being suspended due to lack of applications of quality candidates. Conscious Agency quickly understood the issue and ideated a plan based on their FunnelLogic™ approach which ended up exceeding expectations, even in the midst of uncertain times such as the global Covid-19 pandemic and its domination across all media and conversations.

SPARK Deakin is a program powered by Deakin University, the Australian public university with the highest student satisfaction in Victoria and a progressive and open-minded institution.

The program started in 2015 as an entrepreneurial experiential and startup initiative design mu ed for students, staff, and alumni with a strong focus on building connections within the entrepreneurial community.

SPARK Deakin’s current focus is connecting the outside business community with the university and helping startups grow. SPARK has developed the Accelerator Program to help enterprises get funding, connections, mentorship and expertise while also being supported with a co-working space. Since its foundation, it has managed to engage more than 9,000 people at their regular events.

Supporting 38 startups, and founders, collectively they have generated more than $3.3 million in revenues. At least 108 industry partners have participated to deliver innovative learning and a total of 87 founders have been empowered.

SPARK’s regular events include workshops, talks and panels discussions and inspiring programs. They are aimed at providing knowledge and community connections with the ultimate goal of taking participants’ ideas to the next level. They also offer tailored advice through mentoring sessions.

By the end of its first year, SPARK Deakin’s Accelerator Program for startups was in serious danger of being suspended due to lack of applications of quality candidates. Conscious Agency quickly understood the issue and ideated a plan based on their FunnelLogic™ approach which ended up exceeding expectations, even in the midst of uncertain times such as the global Covid-19 pandemic and its domination across all media and conversations.

SPARK Deakin is a program powered by Deakin University, the Australian public university with the highest student satisfaction in Victoria and a progressive and open-minded institution.

The program started in 2015 as an entrepreneurial experiential and startup initiative design mu ed for students, staff, and alumni with a strong focus on building connections within the entrepreneurial community.

SPARK Deakin’s current focus is connecting the outside business community with the university and helping startups grow. SPARK has developed the Accelerator Program to help enterprises get funding, connections, mentorship and expertise while also being supported with a co-working space. Since its foundation, it has managed to engage more than 9,000 people at their regular events.

Supporting 38 startups, and founders, collectively they have generated more than $3.3 million in revenues. At least 108 industry partners have participated to deliver innovative learning and a total of 87 founders have been empowered.

SPARK’s regular events include workshops, talks and panels discussions and inspiring programs. They are aimed at providing knowledge and community connections with the ultimate goal of taking participants’ ideas to the next level. They also offer tailored advice through mentoring sessions.

Too little time & no solution in sight

When they came to Conscious Agency (CA), the recruitment for the Accelerator Program had been running for almost a year but had only hit 32 applications out of a target of 100 applications. That situation was urgent because if they did not get more quality applications in the next two weeks, SPARK’s Accelerator would not go ahead.

Besides applying for the program, quality applicant projects needed to have at least one member who was from Deakin University and they must have a running startup or the idea of a startup that was suitable for the program.

They didn’t know how to resolve this challenge, especially in such a short space of time. They reached out to their network of incubators, accelerators and entrepreneurs for help, when they found someone that had been taught previously through one of Thomas W. Green’s growth hacking courses. He instantly knew that Tom, who was the co-founder of Conscious Agency, would be the right person to call.

Too little time & no solution in sight

When they came to Conscious Agency (CA), the recruitment for the Accelerator Program had been running for almost a year but had only hit 32 applications out of a target of 100 applications. That situation was urgent because if they did not get more quality applications in the next two weeks, SPARK’s Accelerator would not go ahead.

Besides applying for the program, quality applicant projects needed to have at least one member who was from Deakin University and they must have a running startup or the idea of a startup that was suitable for the program.

They didn’t know how to resolve this challenge, especially in such a short space of time. They reached out to their network of incubators, accelerators and entrepreneurs for help, when they found someone that had been taught previously through one of Thomas W. Green’s growth hacking courses. He instantly knew that Tom, who was the co-founder of Conscious Agency, would be the right person to call.

The FunnelLogic™ Methodology

Tom and the Conscious Agency team started to work right away. They immediately thought about the FunnelLogic™ methodology, which utilises a marketing and sales funnel which incorporates a growth engine.

The sales funnel -also called growth hacking funnel- is a framework that divides the purchase process into different parts to comprehend where to focus attention. At every stage, the customer assumes different roles, from explorer, to ambassador.

On the other hand, the set of strategies and steps organised to take a business to a new level is called the growth engine, where you can set manageable targets and test results to define what activities are useful to achieve a company’s goals.

The FunnelLogic™ Methodology

Tom and the Conscious Agency team started to work right away. They immediately thought about the FunnelLogic™ methodology, which utilises a marketing and sales funnel which incorporates a growth engine.

The sales funnel -also called growth hacking funnel- is a framework that divides the purchase process into different parts to comprehend where to focus attention. At every stage, the customer assumes different roles, from explorer, to ambassador.

On the other hand, the set of strategies and steps organised to take a business to a new level is called the growth engine, where you can set manageable targets and test results to define what activities are useful to achieve a company’s goals.

Growth Diagnostic

Fortunately, SPARK had a reasonably qualified email database which would turn out to be priceless to their success. CA’s team discovered during their diagnostic process that the client was inefficiently using their database. For example, they were not activating their prospective applicants, nor were they nurturing them correctly.

Growth Diagnostic

Fortunately, SPARK had a reasonably qualified email database which would turn out to be priceless to their success. CA’s team discovered during their diagnostic process that the client was inefficiently using their database. For example, they were not activating their prospective applicants, nor were they nurturing them correctly.

Social Media Campaign

After stopping the funnel from leaking, they started a countdown campaign across Facebook, GDN and LinkedIn. This fed any interest into a new highly evolved funnel that included conversion gateways (the stages in which visitors actually took the steps along the path to registration) and a systematic sales process.

Social Media Campaign

After stopping the funnel from leaking, they started a countdown campaign across Facebook, GDN and LinkedIn. This fed any interest into a new highly evolved funnel that included conversion gateways (the stages in which visitors actually took the steps along the path to registration) and a systematic sales process.

Marketing Automation

Consequently, everyone up who started the first step of the funnel was followed up with an automated communication to schedule a meeting with the SPARKS team, and then a manual phone call for those who didn’t schedule a meeting, there was no place to hide.

Marketing Automation

Consequently, everyone up who started the first step of the funnel was followed up with an automated communication to schedule a meeting with the SPARKS team, and then a manual phone call for those who didn’t schedule a meeting, there was no place to hide.

Retargeting and Email Nurturing

For those who didn’t sign up, CA used multi-level retargeting and customised email nurturing to speak directly to the audience and where they were “stuck” in the funnel. Each visitor was addressed individually with specific calls to actions to drive them to take the desired actions.

Retargeting and Email Nurturing

For those who didn’t sign up, CA used multi-level retargeting and customised email nurturing to speak directly to the audience and where they were “stuck” in the funnel. Each visitor was addressed individually with specific calls to actions to drive them to take the desired actions.

Marketing and Sales Funnel

Like any good challenge, this one ended up having unexpected obstacles thrown in the mix. First, the day the campaign was supposed to start, the Coronavirus pandemic broke, completely invading mass-media. Newspapers, TV shows and news sites didn’t talk about anything else. The fear dominated conversations.

However, the growth hacking funnel was tightly ideated, the marketing direct and penetrative and the follow up robust. Everything was turbo charged with behavioral psychology so that people were “programmed” to take the actions we wanted, even in the face of such fear, noise and distraction.

The project was set up and turned around in less than a week. The team worked round the clock and over the weekend to complete it. When it launched, there were 10 days until the application submission deadline. The Deakin team were advised to grant a further 10 day extension for all those affected by Covid-19 that were still stuck in the funnel to complete their applications.

This was made possible thanks to the visibility provided by the funnel and the robust follow up methodology, those running the program could see the number and stage of applicants who had almost completed but not finished.

Marketing and Sales Funnel

Like any good challenge, this one ended up having unexpected obstacles thrown in the mix. First, the day the campaign was supposed to start, the Coronavirus pandemic broke, completely invading mass-media. Newspapers, TV shows and news sites didn’t talk about anything else. The fear dominated conversations.

However, the growth hacking funnel was tightly ideated, the marketing direct and penetrative and the follow up robust. Everything was turbo charged with behavioral psychology so that people were “programmed” to take the actions we wanted, even in the face of such fear, noise and distraction.

The project was set up and turned around in less than a week. The team worked round the clock and over the weekend to complete it. When it launched, there were 10 days until the application submission deadline. The Deakin team were advised to grant a further 10 day extension for all those affected by Covid-19 that were still stuck in the funnel to complete their applications.

This was made possible thanks to the visibility provided by the funnel and the robust follow up methodology, those running the program could see the number and stage of applicants who had almost completed but not finished.

The results

The campaign was successful. Once in the tractor beam, applicants were destined to sign up. There would have been even more applications but the stringent criteria meant not all applications were eligible for the Accelerator Program.

This experience once again highlights that data is critical and therefore, (correct and accurate) measurement is key. Both the technology and the formulaic process need to be correctly established before meaningful data can be collected, which is critical to inform the design of the growth engine.

Of course, the Conscious Agency team felt they could have done better if they had been involved since the beginning of the project, or at least earlier. There were several technical constraints brought about by technical decisions that simply could not be undone/changed this late in the game. However, it was an amazing experience. Tom states:

“We did the best we could with the existing tech stack, with a couple of hacks to make the tech work. If we had been involved from the beginning we would have set the whole process up differently from the start as the data suggests SPARKS Deakin lost a considerable amount of eligible parties through the lack of robust tracking and rigorous follow up from the beginning (which is exactly what our FunnelLogic™ sets out to prevent)”.

This amazing engagement has helped SPARK Deakin build effective processes which they can replicate for future initiatives, and also improve their team capacity and skill set in growth hacking marketing strategies. Diletta Legowo, Marketing and Partnership Coordinator at SPARK Deakin, explains:

“SPARKS Deakin increased their application numbers by 400% and exceeded their original ideal target by 20%, something that had only seemed like an impossible dream before working with Thomas and the Conscious Agency team”.

Grow consciously, growth with us

Schedule a Consultation

The results

The campaign was successful. Once in the tractor beam, applicants were destined to sign up. There would have been even more applications but the stringent criteria meant not all applications were eligible for the Accelerator Program.

This experience once again highlights that data is critical and therefore, (correct and accurate) measurement is key. Both the technology and the formulaic process need to be correctly established before meaningful data can be collected, which is critical to inform the design of the growth engine.

Of course, the Conscious Agency team felt they could have done better if they had been involved since the beginning of the project, or at least earlier. There were several technical constraints brought about by technical decisions that simply could not be undone/changed this late in the game. However, it was an amazing experience. Tom states:

“We did the best we could with the existing tech stack, with a couple of hacks to make the tech work. If we had been involved from the beginning we would have set the whole process up differently from the start as the data suggests SPARKS Deakin lost a considerable amount of eligible parties through the lack of robust tracking and rigorous follow up from the beginning (which is exactly what our FunnelLogic™ sets out to prevent)”.

This amazing engagement has helped SPARK Deakin build effective processes which they can replicate for future initiatives, and also improve their team capacity and skill set in growth hacking marketing strategies. Diletta Legowo, Marketing and Partnership Coordinator at SPARK Deakin, explains:

“SPARKS Deakin increased their application numbers by 400% and exceeded their original ideal target by 20%, something that had only seemed like an impossible dream before working with Thomas and the Conscious Agency team”.

Grow consciously, growth with us

Schedule a Consultation
Logo Conscious Agency

Melbourne
551 Swanston St
Carlton, VIC 3055
Australia
GET DIRECTIONS →

Sydney
5 Martin Place
Carlton, NSW 0000
Australia
GET DIRECTIONS →

© Conscious Agency 2021. All rights reserved.

Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

CA_Logo

LinkedIn
Facebook
Twitter

Melbourne
551 Swanston St
Carlton, VIC 3055
Australia
GET DIRECTIONS →

Sydney
5 Martin Place
Carlton, NSW 0000
Australia
GET DIRECTIONS →

© Conscious Agency 2021. All rights reserved.

Privacy Policy | Terms of Use