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Analysis of Marketing Management of La Trobe University’s Online Master of Management programme

  • Category:
    Marketing
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  • Level:
    Masters
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Analysis of Marketing Management of La Trobe University’s Online Master of Management programme

Analysis of Marketing Management of La Trobe University’s Online Master of Management programme

Introduction

Education ranks among the top priority issues for the Australians. Because of this, the country’s literacy rate stands at 96%, which is among the highest in the world(Aussie Educator 2016). However, the technological advancements witnessed over the last few decades has resulted in the emergence of the Internet that has now made it possible for universities to introduce online learning mode that allows students to take their lessons online, wherever they are without necessarily having to be present in class (Online Study Australia 2016). Because of the increased demand for distance learning mode among Aussies, Australia’s La Trobe University, is one of the universities that have introduced online learning mode to cater for the students that are looking for flexible learning environment. To make this possible and to benefit from it, the university recently launched the Online Master of Management programme at its Melbourne Campus. This report analyzes the marketing program of La Trobe University’s online Master of Management programme with a view of understanding its effectiveness.

Industry Background

Australia’s education sector has undergone a lot of transformation in the recent past. In particular, online education has taken shape in the country with a large number of Australians embracing distance learning as their preferred mode of learning (Ross 2014). The growth in online education is catalyzed by internet proliferation as more and more Australians are now connected to the internet in their homes, offices and have portable technologies, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops that enable them to access the internet anywhere they are without any problem and this makes online learning easy for Australians. A recent study by IBISWorld (2016) found that online education is one of the most thriving industries in Australia that is driven by technology. According to IBISWorld report, online education generated about $2,254 million in revenue during 2007/2008 financial year. The revenue generated by Australia’s online education industry increased to $2,848.4 million in 2009 while the industry’s gross product was estimated at $1,390 million during the same year (Aussie Educator 2016). Because more Australians continue to embrace online education, it is projected that the revenue generated by the industry would reach $8,265 million by 2017/2018 (Ross 2014).

According to industry analysts, the growth of Australia’s online education industry has been boosted by the fact that Australian consumers are accepting the concept in large numbers. The IBISWorld (2016) projected that the industry will grow by an average of 9.4% per annum through to 2017/2018 and that the growth would be driven by increased internet availability coupled with increased availability of diverse online training courses. Additionally, the growth of the industry is projected to be driven by the fact that online learning provides people with flexibility and convenience something that appeal to most people. Additionally, IBISWorld (2016) study shows that online education is being embraced even by Australians residing in rural areas. As at the end of 2016, the industry had about 23 universities offering online about 207 online courses.
Ross (2014) study found that, out of the 207 online courses, 65 of these courses (31%) are taught exclusively online. Additionally, Smith (2015) study discovered that the majority of the online courses (90%) are from postgraduate level.

Competitor Analysis

Online education is a thriving education sector in Australia today. The increased demand for online learning among Australians has made most universities and colleges in Australia to introduce online programmes to cater for this trend. In 2009, there were about 20 universities and colleges that offered online education programs that La Trobe University will have to compete with for the market share (Smith 2015). However, the top three leading universities offering online Masters in Management that that La Trobe University will compete with for the market share in Australia include Charles Sturt University (22,300 online students), University of Southern Queensland (18,000 online students) and University of New England (16,400 online students) (Online Study Australia 2016). This implies that, for La Trobe University to succeed in grabbing enough market shares for its Masters of Management, the university must adopt an aggressive and effective marketing plan for its products and services.

Customer Analysis

Online education is increasingly being embraced by most Australians. Although the majority of customers that have embraced the online education are from the urban centers, studies show that there has been an increased trend of people from rural areas also embracing this mode of learning in Australia. This learning mode is embraced by many because of the flexibility and convenience associated with online education (Ross 2014). Most people who take online education in Australia say that they prefer online learning to traditional learning mode because online learning provides them with the opportunity to work, attend to their families and study without difficulty. Additionally, for most customers, online education is relatively cheaper compared attending classes, a situation that allows even low-income earners to pursue higher education. Currently, Austria has most than 1 million local students that take their classes online (Aussie Educator 2016). Additionally, the Australian online education industry attracts more than 450,000 international students drawn from about 200 nations across the world (Online Study Australia 2016).

Segmentation, Targeting & Positioning

Market Segmentation

Market segmentation is critical for any organization since it enables an organization to understand its market better with regards to their needs and preferences and how best to serve them (Kotler and Keller 2015, p. 584). Accordingly, La Trobe University has segmented its market to enable it serve them better. The first market segment for the University for its Online Masters of Management is the working people looking for flexible education program. The second target market is the international students seeking to take a Masters of Management online from their homes without necessarily having to travel to Australia (La Trobe University 2016). The other segment of the market for La Trobe University is students seeking supplementary online studies without necessarily having to attend physical classes.

Target Market

The market for La Trobe University with its recently launched online Masters of Management is the working people looking to advance their education through flexible education schedule. Currently, the majority of Australians are working and do not always have enough time to attend classes after long day of work. As such, La Trobe University introduced the online Masters of Management to cater for these classes of people by enabling them to work and take their studies online at the comfort of their homes, offices and even on the move since distance learning mode allows students flexibility when it comes to learning (La Trobe University 2016). The other target market for La Trobe University with its Masters of Management program is the people seeking management or leadership position. According to the university’s website, its online Masters of Management equip students with the management and leadership skills that are necessary for the modern day organizations.

Positioning

La Trobe University has positioned itself as a premier business and research institution.

Marketing Strategy

Product is one of the key elements of the marketing mix that any institution that hopes to succeed must take into consideration. In this respect, Kotler and Keller (2015, p. 579) suggests that the products and services offered needs to be of quality for them to be accepted by the targeted consumers in the market and to gain a competitive advantage. La Trobe University main product is the Masters Degree program that is offered by the university. For purposes of meeting the diverse needs of customers, the online Masters of Management is offered full-time or as supplemental. This gives students with the opportunity to choose the mode of online that suits their schedule. Students pursuing Masters of Management at La Trobe University are provided with detailed, simplified and easy to understand learning materials that are uploaded at the students distance learning portal, where they can log in and access the materials at their convenience (La Trobe University 2016). The university also has 24/7 online support services where students in need of assistance can get help from the lecturers or the university.

Price is a fundamental marketing mix element that influences consumers purchasing decision (Jayachandran 2007, p. 42). Kotler and Keller (2015, 500) states that, “an increasing number of companies now base their price on the customer’s perceived value.” Because most consumers of education programs are highly price sensitive, it is critical for a company to charge tuition fees that take into consideration the price needs of the consumers. Therefore, to attract price sensitive students seeking higher education in Australia, La Trobe University has ensured that it charges tuition fees at relatively low prices compared to its main competitors. According to the information available on the university’s website, La Trobe University charges only AUD$24,730 for local students and AUD$28,460 for international students pursuing a Masters of Management at the university (La Trobe University 2016). This price is relatively lower compared to its main rivals namely Charles Sturt University, University of Southern Queensland and University of New England that charges higher tuition fees for the same course. Charging a lower price compared to major competitors is likely to give La Trobe University a competitive edge over its rivals as it is expected to make the university more appealing to price sensitive students in Australia who are looking for quality online education at a lower cost.

Place is a marketing mix element that denotes how an organization makes the products or services available to the customers. Govindarajan (2007, p. 23) suggested that an organization should ensure that services or products are made easily available for customers by ensuring that they do not incur a lot of cost or time to access the products or services. Accordingly, La Trobe University intends to make its online Masters of Management easily accessible to the customers by providing free internet services for on-campus students (La Trobe University 2016). This has ensured that teachers and professors utilize the internet services as a tool for their regular coursework. The provision of free internet services for on-campus students has also helped La Trobe University distance learning students interact and hold discussions easily and cheaply. La Trobe University also plans to provide all its students registered for Masters of Management with portable Tablets or Laptops that will enable them to take their students anywhere even when on the move (La Trobe University 2016). Additionally, to promote effective learning and interaction between the lecturers and the distance learning students, La Trobe University hopes to introduce virtual learning in which distance learning students would be able to interact with lecturers virtually from any part of the world, where they may. These strategies are effective as they not only make distance learning interesting, but also easily accessible for the learners.

Promotion

Promotion is a marketing mix element denoting the strategies that a company uses to create its product or service awareness to its targeted customers and to persuade them to buy the products (Kotler and Keller 2015, p. 579). La Trobe University promotes its online Masters of Management using a variety of communication channels. First, the university use social media as a communication tool for promoting its academic programs, including the Masters of Management (La Trobe University 2016). Facebook is one of the social media platforms where the university promotes its Master of Management program (fig. 1). The Facebook account allows the university to not only reaches out to the local students in Australia, but also international students looking to study a Masters of Management in Australian universities online.

Figure 1: La Trobe University’s Facebook Account

Analysis of Marketing Management of La Trobe University’s Online Master of Management programme

Source:
https://www.facebook.com/latrobe/

La Trobe University also has a Twitter account, where it promotes its online courses. According to its twitter account, it emerges that La Trobe University has about 24,000 followers, 13,200 tweets and 2,598 likes (fig. 2). Through twitter, the university is able to inform its followers about the programs and the courses offered and any issue that people might want to know about the university.

Figure 2: La Trobe University’s Twitter Account

Analysis of Marketing Management of La Trobe University’s Online Master of Management programme 1

Source: https://twitter.com/latrobe?lang=en

The university also has Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram and LinkedIn social media accounts, where it promotes its courses, such as the recently launched online Masters of Management. Additionally, the university uses television, sponsorship, direct marketing, sales promotion, and billboards to market its courses to the people. Moreover, the university has a detailed and user-friendly website, where the institution promotes its online Masters of Management and other programs offered by the university (http://www.latrobe.edu.au/) (La Trobe University 2016). The websites provides details about the Masters of Management programme, requirements, fees and the benefits associated with studying the programme at La Trobe University. The use of integrated marketing communication (IMC) to promote the Masters of Management programme is effective and gives the university an edge over its rivals since the use of IMC will enable the institution to reach diverse audiences in different ways.

Conclusion

Australia experiences rapid growth in online education. The growth has been catalyzed by proliferation of the internet and increased availability of modern communication tools and the fact that people are embracing this learning mode in large numbers. Because of this trend, many universities have introduced online education programs to take advantage of the growth of the industry. La Trobe University is one such university that recently launched its online Masters of Management program. However, to succeed in this competitive online learning industry, the university has adopted a robust and effective marketing strategy that is likely to win for it the market and give it a competitive advantage over its competitors in the industry.

References

Aussie Educator 2016, Online education, viewed 23 August 2016
http://www.aussieeducator.org.au/education/specificareas/online.html

Govindarajan, M 2007, Marketing management. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd., London.

Jayachandran, S 2007, Marketing management. Excel Books India, Delhi.

IBISWorld 2016, Online education in Australia: Market research report, viewed 23 August 2016
http://www.ibisworld.com.au/industry/default.aspx?indid=1907

Kotler, P., & Keller, K. L 2015, Marketing management 15e. Pearson Education, Limited, New York.

La Trobe University 2016, Master of management online, viewed 23 August 2016 http://www.latrobe.edu.au/online/master-management?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=AlwaysOn_Online

Online Study Australia 2016, Online universities in Australia, viewed 23 August 2016
https://onlinestudyaustralia.com/best-accredited-universities-list/

Ross, J 2014, Online education on course for rapid growth, viewed 23 August 2016
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/online-education-on-course-for-rapid-growth/news-story/3224b7d53c55aaaf5c261b08666e1bf9

Smith, M 2015, E-Learning market grows in Australia, The Sidney Morning Herald 28 May, viewed 23 August 2016
https://www.td.org/Publications/Newsletters/Buzz/2015/05/E-Learning-Market-Grows-in-Australia