Marketing Plan of Master of management online program
Маrkеting Рlаn for Маstеrs оf Mаnаgеmеnt Оnlinе Рrоgrаm, Latrobe University
Table of Contents
4Situation Analysis and Product Description
4Internal Environment Scanning and Analysis
5Target Market Segments
5Communication and Marketing Strategies
6Degree of Competitiveness, Product Pricing and Distribution Channels
Маrkеting Рlаn for Маstеrs оf Mаnаgеmеnt Оnlinе Рrоgrаm, Latrobe University
This paper provides an analysis of the marketing of the newly launched online Masters of Management by Latrobe University, and compares the program with offers from four other universities in Australia. The paper found that all the four competitors offer a similar online program and that there is stiff competition for students. Compared to its rival universities, Latrobe University has a reputation for excellence, and is positioned strategically as a leading research centre in Australia. Latrobe University online program is priced competitively, which is a good match for the macro-economic trends in the education sector. The university uses different strategies and mediums to market this program and recruit students. These strategies include campus visits, print and electronic adverts and social media marketing.
Distance education is a form of learning in which the instructor and learner are separated by place and time, and is one of the fastest growing and popular systems of educating in many universities. Due to rapid improvements in communication and information technologies, universities are offering different media-based courses regardless of the students’ locations or geographic constraints. Although the way in which this new form of education is delivered differs from university to university, majority of distance learning programs rely on technologies that have been tested for reliability, efficiency and cost effectiveness. Such learning programs are particularly helpful for learners who are not geographically or physically able to obtain the traditional classroom based education (Cheng 2010, p. 179-181).
Across the world, distance education has grown remarkably over the past two decades. As a cost effective alternative to traditional education, the objective of distance learning is to complement curriculum enrichment, battle illiteracy and foster opportunities for economic prosperity using non-traditional learning techniques (Rantz 2002, p. 456). In Australia and other developed countries, distance learning is gradually becoming a vital component of university curriculum. With the number of distance-learning programs offered by Australian universities expanding, there is intense competition among these institutions to provide the best programs and attract as many students as possible (Tricker, Rangecroft, Long & Gilroy 2001, p. 165-177). In this competitive environment, the most important consideration for the institutions offering online education is to develop innovative marketing strategies to differentiate their service. Indeed, many Australian universities have stepped up their marketing campaigns in an effort to showcase their capabilities and competitiveness with regard to the various program as they offer. The paper that follows provides a marketing analysis of the newly launched online Master of Management program in Latrobe University and compares it with four competitors in Australia.
Situation Analysis and Product Description
Latrobe University offers undergraduate, post graduate and research programs. It thus operates in the education sector, which is one of the most diverse industries in Australia. In Australia, higher education is offered mostly by universities and gets government support in the form of policies, programs and funding. Drivers of change in the Australian higher education sector include increased demand for university education, competition to attract more students, the requirement to enroll students from diverse backgrounds and the need to meet changing demands by employers and students.
As of 2015, Latrobe University had a student population of 37000, out of which 9000 were pursuing postgraduate degree programs. The university’s oldest and main campus is located in Melbourne. It has two other campuses located in the cities of Albury-Wodonga and Bendigo. In addition, the university offers online education through a system called distance learning. One of the courses offered through this online system (which is the product in this marketing plan) is Masters of Management. This is a postgraduate degree degree program awarded to students after completing a two-year graduate program in business management. The program provides foundational training in business management and specialized training in leadership and organizational management. The online system is specially designed to enable students learn through cutting-edge case studies in industry, and get the opportunity to take part in enrichment programs such as company symposiums (Latrobe University, n.d).
The most important segment of the target market for the online masters program is the university graduates. Each year, more than 250, 000 students graduate with undergraduate degrees from Australian universities. This number has been growing gradually in the past but appear to have stagnated in recent years. There are forty public universities in Australia and a few private universities. Leading industry players include the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne, the Australian national university and the University of Queensland. These universities are ranked highly in international standards, and have positioned themselves as premier institutions of higher learning in Australia. Latrobe University is strengthened by its position as a leading university in the state of Victoria and its state-of-art campuses that foster a robust community and personalized education.
Internal Environment Scanning and Analysis
Latrobe University’s mission objective is to foster a culture of student learning at all academic levels. In this regard, the university endeavors to support student’s personal growth and success in learning at all levels through collaborative and innovative course programs, resources and services. To achieve this objective, the university has developed a pool of highly qualified staff and faculty who strive to create opportunities for the university to be locally and internationally competitive. Its vision for students is to enable them develop critical thinking skills, and to become effective and ethical leaders in the community. The university’s campuses offer innovative and market-oriented undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
Being a public university, La Trobe is funded by the Australian government through a grant scheme and a loan program. The university does not publish its financial information because it is not a profit making organization. The university owns the premises upon which its campuses are built and the facilities there on. Its human resources include the faculties and support staff who perform administrative and material duties. The university offers training and development opportunities to make its human resources more competitive and high performing. The institution treats its human resources as strategic assets and thus employees are highly motivated (Latrobe University, n.d).
Target Market Segments
There are three major target segments for Latrobe University’s online Masters of Management program. The first segment consists of graduate students who want to pursue postgraduate degree in management and related business courses. There are about 1 million university students in Australia. Over 200, 000 of them are pursuing postgraduate degree programs in various fields. Thus, the large number of graduates provides a rich target market for Latrobe’s online Masters of Management programs. This target market can be reached through graduate fairs as well as print and electronic promotion. The second category of target market comprise of students transferring from community colleges and abroad. In recent years, Australia has witnessed a surge in the number of students transferring from foreign universities and community colleges. Most of these transfers are due to job requirements and thus the students are a potential target for online courses (Gonzalez, Stewart & Robinson 2003, p. 132).
The third target market comprises of nontraditional students. These are mainly working class people, professionals and other groups who have limited time attending classes. There is a high demand for postgraduate management courses from Australia professionals as they seek to enhance their skills. Latrobe University has implemented a robust marketing campaign tailored to address the unique needs of these non-traditional students. The campaign emphasizes faculty support, convenience and guidance (Schapper & Mayson 2010, p. 642). Other target groups for this program include alumni, employers, parents and teachers. The number of customers (students) is hard to quantify since it changes from years to year. However, the frequency of purchase is once (students complete the program and do not come back for the same program). The main macro-environmental factor affecting these target groups is that changes in government policies may create risk that universities may be diverted way from local priorities (McLoughlin & Lee 2010, p. 29-31).
Communication and Marketing Strategies
Marketing communication is an important aspect of Latrobe University’s online Masters of Management program. The main objective of the university’s marketing communication plan is to provide potential customers (students) with information about the online program and the university. Generally, there are no major legal restrictions on promoting university programs in Australia. In this regard, Latrobe University has devised an elaborate marketing communication program consisting of high impact promotional mix variables. The first promotional mix is image building, which involves promotion of the university as an institution of quality education. This is done through creation of print, radio and television adverts. Different adverts are created to appeal to different target markets. The adverts are complemented by promotion, which involves media relations and public relations activities (O’Donoghue 2009, p. 46-51).
Another important promotional mix employed by the university is internal marketing. This communication strategy targets members of the university student fraternity as well as the faculties and subordinate staff. Many of the university’s employees have relatives or are themselves considering pursuing postgraduate degrees. Through internal marketing, the university offers information about financial aid, tuition and admission requirements. The third promotional mix is website and social media advertising. The university has developed an online portal, which offers comprehensive information about the online Masters of Management program. In addition, social media platforms are used to engage directly with potential, current and former students. Lastly, the university conducts visit programs, which serve as a meeting point for disseminating information and recruiting potential students (Latrobe University, n.d).
Degree of Competitiveness, Product Pricing and Distribution Channels and Porters Five Forces Analysis
Latrobe University competes with more than forty universities in its various academic programs. However, in the online Master of Management program, it competes with four major universities. These are the University of Queensland, RMIT University, Newcastle University and Deakin University. Latrobe University’s online program targets individuals seeking a career in leadership or business management. The objective of this course is to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to lead and manage enterprises across government, corporate and non-profit sectors. Students pursuing this course can specialize in project management or entrepreneurship. It is priced at $24730. Deakin University’s online Masters of Marketing program is designed to help students diversify skills in marketing and business management. The program is accredited by the marketing institute of Australia. Deakin University’s fees for this program averages $26, 000 (Deakin University, n.d). Newcastle University offers a similar program priced at $22,920. The program is designed to help students develop professional expertise in management, marketing and business leadership (University of Newcastle, n.d).
RMIT’s online Masters of Management program is designed to help aspiring and current managers looking to increase knowledge across all areas of business management. The university also targets budding entrepreneurs through this program and offers students an opportunity to engage with industry experts in the field of management. RMIT’s fee for the program is currently $40,150 (RMIT University, n.d). The university of Queensland’s online Masters of Management is a one-year full time (or two year part time) program designed to offer professionally oriented post graduate course to students seeking to advance their careers in executive management positions. The program combines theory and practice in broad areas of management including leadership, management and marketing. The program is priced at $15840 (Queensland University, n.d). Compared to other universities, Latrobe’s pricing for the online masters of management program is very competitive and a good match for the education sector’s macro-environmental trends. There is no information about each university’s market share with regard to the online program because enrolment statistics change from year to year (Waitere, Wright, Tremaine, Brown & Pause 2011, p. 205).
It can be noted that Latrobe University offers education services. Therefore, its products lack the attributes of traditional commercial commodities and services offered by organizations in other industries such as insurance, banking, retail or hospitality. Nonetheless, the university’s campuses and online platform provide a convenient distribution channel for the educational services. Currently, the university offers various academic programs at Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate levels. The Masters of Management program is a popular program offered at the university’s school of business. The current lifecycle stage of this program can be described as growth oriented since it has been in the market for a relatively short time (Ireland, Hoskisson & Hitt 2008, p. 52-53).
). Most universities in Australia are public and government funded. Two are international and one is privately owned.Stark 2006, 23-24Since the online Masters of Management program is offered by several universities, the degree of competitive rivalry is high and hence the bargaining power of customers (students) is relatively strong as they can switch to competitors easily. The threat of new market entrants is also high because of the large number of universities willing to offer new postgraduate programs. However, the threat of a new university setting up business is low because of the stringent regulatory requirements. The threat of substitute program is also high as students can pursue offline programs in related fields such as finance. Lastly, the bargaining power of suppliers is low because universities do not depend on external service providers (
Latrobe University’s online Masters of Management program is an innovative solutions with potential to help millions of students and professionals seeking to advance their careers in business management, marketing and entrepreneurship. The program is competitively priced to cater for the needs of students from diverse backgrounds. Although there is stiff competition from other universities for this program, Latrobe has distinguished itself through its innovative marketing strategies. Because online education places extra responsibilities on the part of students, it is recommended that the university encourages its online learners to be highly motivated and disciplined. In addition, the university should communicate the nature of commitment and responsibilities required from students to make the online program a success.
It is also recommended that the university reviews its online program regularly to take into account emerging trends in the market. Although technological advancements may be driving the growth and popularity of online education, it is the manner in which the instructional program is designed and marketed that influence the decision of the learners to adopt this form of learning. Therefore, Latrobe University should develop more innovative marketing communication techniques to attract many students. In particular, the university should offer attractive incentives to foreign students especially those from developing countries seeking foreign education in Australia.
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