Analyze and prepare a report on 'marketing and competitive environment of a University Brand', the assessment requires you to prepare a marketing plan for same University Brand based on your analysis of 'marketing and competitive environment of a University Brand'.
The University Of Queensland (UQ) acquired its roots through the precedents in the Act of State Parliament in the year 1909 when it became the first university in the state. The official foundation of the university was realized in the month of April in 1910 where different appointments were associated with the gazette formation of the UQ Senate. The reputation of the University has been adequately complemented by the provision of education services in varying disciplines ranging from the basic streams of Arts, Engineering and Science to the contemporary disciplines (Achrol & Kotler, 2014).
The organization has also embarked on formidable development of professional careers of the students in the University apart from engaging in combined efforts for conducting research activities pertaining to the improvement of educational quality. The UQ is capable of providing different variety of programs thereby deriving substantial results in the reduction of competition in the existing scenarios (Anderson & He, 2015).
On the other hand, the competition from prominent universities such as the Sydney University and the University of Melbourne in the cities of Sydney and Melbourne is a potential concern that must be addressed by the University in advance to reduce the pitfalls that could be potentially observed in the strategic sustainability of the organization. Therefore the University has adopted considerable streamlining approaches for strategic management in order to accomplish reasonable opportunities of increasing popularity in the national as well as international markets.
The primary highlights to be noted in the case of UQ are also directed towards the increased focus of management, comprehensiveness of steps implemented in the management and the revisiting of core competencies (Berkowitz, 2016). The following sections in the report are intended to present a strategic marketing plan for the university wherein the competitor environment analysis and other analytical approaches such as value and brand positioning analysis and target market analysis. The specific details of the marketing plan would also be aligned with the evaluation of specific competitive and marketing mix strategies as well as media and budget allocation considerations for the marketing of the organization in the year 2018 (Bosomworth, 2015).
Market and demand assessment:
The education market of Australia could be primarily categorized into the four sectors which include secondary, primary, senior secondary and tertiary education. The primary and secondary education categories are inclusive of schooling while the tertiary education involved higher education as well as vocational training and education.
The consistent growth of the education industry in Australia over the years has been complemented adequately by the quality of education provided to the students (Brennan, 2014). The international demand for the education market in Australia is directly related to the increasing competition among universities that leads to the requirements of differentiating market positions in order to acquire strategic advantage.
The Australian education industry has depicted a formidable growth rate in the recent years with the maximum growth rate been noticed in the period from 2010 to 2015. Furthermore the period from 2010 tom 2015 was also reflective of the considerable increase in the number of enrolments along with a promising development in the recent three years (Burns & Bush, 2013).
The estimation of the demographics, target market analysis and segmentation could be associated with the identification of specific marketing strategies that can be implemented for the University of Queensland to address the increasing levels of competition encountered by the organization. The demand of the Australian market for international students has led to the recognition of Australia as a promising study destination among the students in the UK, France, the USA and Germany.
The reputation of UQ as one of the top 50 universities according to the Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers could also be accounted as a formidable determinant of the value of university in the existing market scenario. The other ranking indexes presented by Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the QS World University Rankings are also indicative of the reputation of the university among the wide array of international educational institutions (Chaffey, Smith & Smith, 2013). The specific increase in the number of students in the recent year by a proportion of 4.4% alongside a promising increase of 8.9% in the number of international students opting for higher education in Australia could be assumed as notable indicators of the market demand for higher education (Dubois, et al., 2013).
The estimation of demographic insights could also be helpful in drawing conclusive insights into the possible changes that can be included in the strategic marketing plan of the University of Queensland. The formidable element that must be addressed by the strategic marketing plan of the University of Queensland should be directed towards estimation of nationalities to which international students belong.
The major countries from where international education prospects are bright could be noticed in the countries of India, China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Republic of Korea. The percentage of international students belonging to these individual nationalities can be observed as 26.8% from China, 4.5% from the Republic of Korea, 4.2% from Malaysia, 10.2% from India and the estimated share of international students in Australia from Vietnam is 4.9% (Hayami & Kawagoe, 2016). The demand of the University has also been associated profoundly with the global research positioning alongside ensuring the selection of staff and fellows with appropriate qualifications in honorary disciplines.
Furthermore, the demand of the University of Queensland is validated on the grounds of the membership of the professors and staff of the university in significant Australian Learned Academics bodies such as ASSA, ATSE etc. The university has also depicted formidable growth in demand owing to the exponential pace of the growth of the institution and its explicit compliance to its mission and vision statement.
Segmentation and Target market:
Market segmentation is comprehensively based on the distinct types of segmentation such as geographic, demographic, behavioural and psychographic segmentation. The careful analysis of the segmentation strategies is required imperatively in case of the University owing to it massive size and the diverse customer base addressed by the organization.
The comprehensive analysis of the markets is helpful for determining the specific markets to be targeted as well as the approaches intended to target the markets. Demographic segmentation in case of the University of Queensland would be aligned with the requirement of focus on the students belonging to the age group ranging from lower education till Masters level certification in particular branches of disciplinary studies facilitated by the institute (Hays, Page & Buhalis, 2013).
The university must aim at grouping of distinct education groups which could enable the flexible determination of approaches to market the courses that are relevant for the target group. Demographic segmentation presents formidable outcomes in the form of opportunities such as higher market share through the increase in the number of students acquiring admissions in the university (Kerven, 2016). Behavioural and psychographic variables should be estimated profoundly in order to apprehend the areas where the organization could modify the marketing approaches in specific areas leading to the requirements for convincing the customers regarding the effectiveness and the new course offered by the institute.
Segmentation is followed by estimation of target market that should be specifically targeted by the university in order to obtain a broader market presence. While the presence of numerous marketing plans for attracting prospective students among the universities is imperative, the identification of a key target market becomes a complex pitfall for the managers of the university’s marketing strategies (Kerven, 2016).
Target marketing is associated with the selection of the specific market of international students in order to facilitate suitable results in terms of market share improvement. The different market segments are characterized by unique rates of response tendencies towards the services facilitated by the university.
The variety of opportunities that can be presented by the domain of higher education could be hard to select from. Therefore, the use of a PEST analysis of the higher education sector in Australia can be a noticeable improvement for the University of Queensland to determine the probabilities of the efficiency of its strategic marketing plans.
The analysis of the political, social, economic and technological factors in the environment could enables the university to gain considerable inferences pertaining to potential implications that can be associated with the target markets evaluated as feasible for the institute (Kozlenkova, Samaha & Palmatier, 2014).
These factors are generally responsible for positive as well as negative outcomes on the strategic position of an enterprise thereby impinging potential significance on the success of the marketing plan of the University of Queensland.
Political factors have been profoundly associated with impact on the domain of higher education. The governmental policies have also found to be implementing considerable effects on the dimension of higher education with the examples of ban on rise of under-graduate population leading to the increased costs of learning. The effectiveness of the governmental policies to promote the influx of international students could also be associated with the barriers faced by the domestic students to acquire favourable education in Australia.
Economic factors could also be associated with noticeable impact in context of higher education. The provision of government funding as well as decisions pertaining to the same can be considered as suitable promoters of higher education. However the concerns of corruption and malicious practices are indicative of the notable detriments that could be faced by the higher education sector in terms of the economic dimension of external environment (Kumar, 2015).
The decisions of higher education institutes to engage in investment on stationery, technology solutions and staff are also indicative of the plausible opportunities that could be acquired by universities.
The social dimension in higher education is largely associated with the considerable transformations that have been occurring in the case of education. One of the notable influences could be drawn in the form of demographic changes that could be directed towards the possible influences that could be observed in context of the enrolment of students in the higher education institutes.
One of the promising developments with respect to the social dimension in case of higher education sector is noted in the interaction of students on social media. The social interactions on the online platforms are accountable for the perception of the domain of higher education in Australia as well as the learning system (Lovelock & Patterson, 2015).
Technological factors can be assumed as noticeable concerns in the domain of higher education since the application of technological improvement has led to the acquisition of formidable opportunities for students to access educational services.
The promotion of initiatives for online enrolment of students is indicative of the noticeable improvement in terms of technology dimension of the business environment for the University of Queensland. However, critical gaps could be profoundly observed in context of the selection of technology which is reliant on the application of relevant ICT systems with the essential implications for security.
The competitor analysis in case of the University has to be directed towards the initial stages of its foundation when it was not subject to any sort of competition. However, the existing market analysis predicts that the evolution of other universities has led to the development of competitive intensity in the domain of higher education in Australia (Malhotra, Birks & Wills, 2013).
The universities which could be identified as major competitors of UQ include the University of Melbourne and the Sydney University owing to the expanse of operations of the initiatives across Australia. The increasing expansion of the competitors in Australia’s various locations alongside their cognizable reputation in the domain of higher education in Australia is reflective of the tough competition faced by the University of Queensland.
On the contrary, the University of Queensland is capable of addressing the competitive rivalry through the competences of its long term presence in the Australian education sector and its formidable positioning in the market with distinct competences that are unique to the institute (Malhotra, Birks & Wills, 2013). The emphasis of the University of Queensland on its core competences could be assumed as an integral entity of the marketing plan that can provide viable approaches to deal with the competitive intensities. The core competencies of the university have enabled the organization to obtain reasonable amounts of reputation in the higher education sector.
The specific strengths of the University of Queensland are vested in the student strength which involves around 51,000 students among which also include almost 14,000 international students. The University facilitates comprehensive courses in the domain of medicine, health and behavioural sciences, engineering, business, law, economics, social sciences and humanity.
The association of the university with institutes such as the Institute of Molecular Bioscience, Queensland Brain Institute and the Sustainable Minerals Institute could also be assumed as formidable strengths of the University of Queensland.
Weaknesses of the university are vested in the management of staff and students since the decisions of the university are always inclined in favour of the staff and students which have led to the instances of bad reputation for the organization. Furthermore, the negligence of the organization towards such incidents can be assumed as noticeable pitfalls for the University of Queensland (Rogers & Davidson, 2015).
The different courses facilitated by the University alongside the appeal of the courses in context of pricing and academic appeal can be considered as opportunities to garner competitive advantage. The wide assortment of courses can be utilized as marketing spearheads for the organization and acquire beneficial outcomes in terms of market share improvement.
The threats that could be observed profoundly in the case of the University of Queensland can be associated with the competitive rivalry as well as abrupt changes in the legislative and regulatory frameworks implemented by the government for monitoring the domain of higher education (Rust & Huang, 2014). The competitive rivalry could be implicative of potential setbacks especially in terms of losing market share.
Value and brand positioning:
The positioning of the University of Queensland as a premier institute in Australia for higher education could be assumed as a preparatory phase for ensuring the effectiveness of strategic marketing plan. The old foundation of the institute is reflective of the possibilities for higher reputation among the Australian individuals thereby leading to formidable implications towards the increasing inclination among the students to obtain admission in the University.
The brand image of UQ is solely based on the value proposition offered by the institute in its services as well as the people and students could be able to observe the value proposition impacts (Samaha, Beck & Palmatier, 2014).
Furthermore, it is essential to ascertain the outcomes of value chain analysis that imply cognizable highlights into the flexible product life cycle leading to application of certain changes which could be directed towards the appropriate capitalization on the brand reputation of the university.
The positioning of the university is also reflective of the focus of the enterprise on development of career of the students who acquire admission in the University. The brand positioning of University of Queensland can be aptly perceived in the recognition of the university as one of the founding members of Go8 which is classified as a partnership of eight recognized universities for accomplishing research objectives pertaining to the topic of improving educational quality.
Marketing aim and promotion objectives:
The marketing aim of the University of Queensland must be directed towards promotion of the organization as an appealing destination for the international students opting for Australia as a destination for international studies. The promotion objectives would be largely illustrated as strategic communication objectives (Schulze, Schöler & Skiera, 2014).
The strategic goals could be defined explicitly for guiding the media source identification, resource allocation and possible recommendations for the functional implementation of marketing plan. The first promotion objective would be directed towards the promotion of academic excellence especially through the utilization of involved learners, innovation in the learning and teaching environment and the quality programs of the university.
The use of strategic programs and collaborations could be identified as another formidable implication for the realization of extent as well as the depth of the university’s efficiency in such cases. Another promotion objective could be observed in the case of securing financial and human resources that could induce higher performance especially through organization of management, fiscal and governance frameworks of the university.
Marketing mix strategies:
The moderation of the marketing mix in order to accomplish strategic advantage in case of the marketing plan of University of Queensland is a reliable entity associated with positive impacts on the outcomes of marketing strategies in the organization. Marketing mix comprises of the four specific elements of product, place, price and promotion. Therefore UQ has to understand that its product of multiple professional and academic courses in various disciplines has to be promoted among the international students (Schulze, Schöler & Skiera, 2014).
The place for provision of the product facilitated by the UQ could be observed in the campus locations of the university. Pricing is a major concern for the marketing professionals in the institute since the variations in pricing of courses for international students and domestic students has to be communicated explicitly in the marketing initiatives of the University. The promotion aspect of the marketing mix would be affecting the competitive advantage of the University of Queensland since the share of international students arriving in Australia for higher education must be targeted on the basis of psycho graphical, behavioural and demographic variations.
The competitive strategies that can be implemented by University of Queensland with respect to the strategic marketing plan for 2018 could be derived from the target marketing. The use of differentiation marketing could serve as an appropriate competitive strategy for the university that leads to derivation of specific marketing plans for the international as well as domestic students (Stelzner, 2013).
The categorization of target marketing into the distinct categories of concentrated marketing, differentiated marketing and orchestrated marketing allows plausible insights into the flexibility that can be realized in the target marketing approaches for the University of Queensland. The differentiated marketing approach could be directed towards development of unique strategies that could be used for preparation of unique marketing programs that can be applied for domestic and international markets (Tuten & Solomon, 2014).
Therefore the realization of competitive strategies could also leverage the inclusion of marketing mix evaluation and the concerns of market research in order to target specific demographics of users. The university could also implement competitive strategies in the form of partnerships between the industry and universities as well as acquiring the support of state and federal governments in terms of funding for its marketing activities.
Publications and advertising
Web and Electronic Communication
The implementation of the strategic marketing plan can be cognizably associated with the particular outcomes of increased recognition of the University of Queensland among the circle of international students. The explicit demarcation of the marketing plans for domestic and international students would be reflective of positive outcomes in the form of limited conflicts among scope of higher education for domestic and international students.
The conclusive evaluation of the distinct elements of marketing analysis in order to obtain comprehensive insights into the summary of market demand, marketing mix, external and internal environmental capabilities, competitors analysis, segmentation, targeting and brand positioning alongside the implications of value chain analysis. The critical reflection on the analysis facilitates cognizable interpretation of the viable measures that can be implemented for improving the existing scenario for the University of Queensland.
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