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Question:

Analyze the "Marketing and Competitive Environment" of a University Brand.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

Higher education in Australia has been by so far impacted by competition. The increase in competition in this sector calls for all learning institutions to review their marketing strategies (Bodlaj, 2012). The University of Melbourne is among the learning institutions that have realized there is the need to scrutinize the market and come up with better marketing strategies.

This university aims to be one among the finest universities in the world (Fromm & Garton, 2013). Growing esteem is its strategy for attaining high regard and for establishing a distinctive contribution to the society. The University seeks to meet the increasing demand for higher education through expanding to different parts of the country and investing in modern technology and innovation.

Background

The University of Melbourne which was formally known as Melbourne University is a public research university in Australia (Fromm & Garton, 2013). This institution was founded in 1853 and is located in Melbourne. To meet its motto of “To grow in the esteem of future generation,” this university has been offering different courses that match the current and future demand of the job market.

 

Market Summary

The Australian education market has grown and is estimated to continue growing in the future (Mustafa., 2015). This growth has been triggered by the increase in demand for post-secondary education. As time goes on, both the government and investors have realized that during this period of digital age, people have comprehended that the only way they get attain better jobs is through undergoing higher education. This factor is making investors to view this sector as one of the best for undertaking their businesses.

As a result of increased desire to invest in this sector, the government, local and international investors are entering the market to meet the demand which seems to be growing (Donald, 2015). The increase in learning institutions is making the market to become flooded, hence strengthening the level of competition.

Demand assessment

As time goes on, Australians are beginning to realize that one of the best ways of surviving in the competitive job market is through undergoing post-secondary school education (Donald, 2015) . This factor has made the demand for higher education to continue increasing each day. According to statistics, the number of Australians who have undergone higher education has been increasing and is expected to continue growing in the future.

However, some people are still experiencing difficulties in accessing higher education because of various issues like lack of finances. As a result of this issue, most of the learning institutions including the University of Melbourne have been using different strategies to ensure the disadvantaged students gets access to higher education (Doughty, 2013). Some of these strategies include using the best promotional tools and reducing prices.

Segmentation and Target market

The University of Melbourne has established different branches in Australia with the aim of making its services close to the potential students (Dainora, 2011). This institution mostly targets both local and international students. To succeed in its target market, the university has established more than 80 different study areas in Melbourne.

 


This institution provides opportunities for students from all backgrounds. To establish proper marketing and meet the expectations of its students, its management has segmented the target market into different divisions (Pauwels., 2014). These segments are divided based on various factors like the career starters, industry switchers, career accelerators, academic Wanderers and so forth. These segments assist the management in formulating strategies that can help in offering services which can lead to customer satisfaction.

Current marketing mix analysis

Regardless of operating in a competitive environment, this institution struggles to attain a competitive advantage through ensuring the consumers get services according to their expectations (Doughty, 2013).  The university has been ensuring it operates based on the 4ps (price, product, promotion, and place) of the marketing mix.

Current offer

This university offers different types of courses which are in line with the current and future job market (Luther, 2011). The University enables students to choose from various courses depending on their aspirations and qualifications. The courses offered include certificates, postgraduates, undergraduates and research bachelors.

Distribution

The University of Melbourne has made its products close to the consumer by opening various branches in different parts of Australia. The aim of establishing these branches is to bring services closer to its potential customers (Roslan, 2014). Its management seeks to continue investing in modern technology and innovation to ensure students gets a high-quality education. With the increase in demand for higher education, this University seeks to be more diverse, entrepreneurial and engaged in the provision of high-quality education for the local and international students.

Promotion

To survive in the competitive education market, University of Melbourne uses various promotional tools to attract both local and international students (Dainora, 2011). Unlike in the past where the management emphasized on using the press as its primary promotional tool, it has shifted to the use of social media to advertise its intakes, courses offered, branches and so forth.

The management has adapted the use of social media platforms because most of its target customers are youth and majority of them are on one or more social media platforms. Social media is also cheaper and enables the management to reach large number of audience in different parts of the world (Harden & Heyman, 2011). Apart from social media, this university uses other promotional tools like public relations, sponsorships, reward programs, and press releases.

Prices

Tuition Fee in this university is calculated per each unit taken. Fees for students are different because combinations of units vary from one student to the other (Zelimir, 2011). The Australian government is working to reduce university charges for the domestic students to ensure those who come from low-income families can access higher education.

 

PEST analysis

Political

Politics have a significant influence on the performance of this institution (Fromm & Garton, 2013). For example, government policies and political instability may have an impact on where students choose to pursue their courses of interest.

Economical

Melbourne University is affected by various financial aspects. For example, when there is a bad economic condition, the university experiences few new student admissions because of the decrease in house income (Luther, 2011). Its external sources of funding like the government also experience problems hence resulting to financial constraints.

Social

On a social basis, education has been undergoing through many transformations. Different factors such as changes in demographics have been impacting the enrollment of students in this university (Patrick, 2015). Indeed, social environment has influenced how the society views higher education and learning institutions altogether.

Technological

Through the advent of technology, the education sector has undergone a lot of transformations. Today, advancements in technology have been enabling students to pursue the courses of their interest and in the comfort of their homes (Donald, 2015).  Technology has enabled Melbourne University and other learning institutions to enhance learning through coming up with modern learning facilities like computers and more advanced libraries.

Competitor analyses

The University of Melbourne competes with both the private and public universities (Luther, 2011). Its key competitor includes Sydney University and other institutions. The factor which triggers this competition is because each one of the institutions wants to be the leading in Australia. Several aspects which they compete for include the best students, superiority in research, competent staff and, and for status.

The University of Sidney seeks to overtake Melbourne University as the best learning institution in Australia. Various strategies used by this University to achieve a competitive advantage include introducing new courses, encouraging the use of modern learning facility and establishing a positive relationship with the community.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

This University has an excellent reputation in Australia and other countries. The University provides high-quality education at an affordable price (Bodlaj, 2012). It also has an excellent learning facility and skilled tutors.

 

Weaknesses

One of the weaknesses associated with this institution is that it offers few undergraduate courses compared to other learning institutions. The other weakness is that its staff and students have high levels of change resistance

Opportunities

Because this University is termed as the best in Australia, it has the potential of attracting more students both locally and internationally (Doughty, 2013). The introduction of new courses and good learning facility can assist it to expand its market share.

Threats

Competition for students and status is among the major threats which the University Melbourne faces. Another threat which may affect this university in future is changes in political and socio-economic conditions.

Value and brand positioning analysis

The University of Melbourne has been using various positioning strategies to ensure its products creates a unique image in the brains of its customers. Among the type of positioning strategy used by this university is benefit positioning (Mustafa., 2015). With this strategy, the management highlights its powerful attributes that its competitors cannot attain. This positioning enables the students to realize the importance of studying in this school as compared to other learning institutions. Other positioning strategies used by University Melbourne are value and quality positioning.

Conclusion

Melbourne University operates in a competitive market. To survive in these market, its management has been using various strategies which include, proper promotional tools like social media, better segmentation, targeting the right customer and good product differentiation. The swot analysis of this company indicates that there are various strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that the institution faces. Its PEST analysis also shows that the operation of the company is impacted by political, economical, social and technological factors.

 

Bibliography

Bodlaj, M. (2012). Do Managers at Two Hierarchical Levels Differ in How They Assess Their Company's Market Orientation?*. Journal for East European Management Studies, 17(3), 173-80.

Dainora, B. S. (2011). Identifying the Gap in Value Creation at Universities: The Consumer's Perspective. Economics & Sociology, 5(1), 456-478.

Donald, B. (2015). Essentials of International Marketing. London: Routledge.

Doughty, H. (2013). Flux: What Marketing Managers Need to Navigate the New Environment. The Innovation Journal, 31(1), 78-90.

Fromm, J., & Garton, C. (2013). Marketing to Millennials: Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation of Consumers Ever. New York: AMACOM.

Harden, L., & Heyman, B. (2011). Marketing by the Numbers: How to Measure and Improve the ROI of Any Campaign. New York: AMACOM.

Luther, W. (2011). The Marketing Plan: How to Prepare and Implement It. New York: AMACOM.

Mustafa., A.-S. (2015). Factors Affecting the Competitive Advantage for the Marketing of Educational Services in Jordanian Universities: Case of Zarqa University. International Journal of Marketing Studies, 7(5), 56-89.

Patrick, D. (2015). Exploring the Benefits of Branding Universities: A Developing Country Perspective. IUP Journal of Brand Management, 12(4), 89-100.

Pauwels., K. (2014). It's Not the Size of the Data -- It's How You Use It: Smarter Marketing with Analytics and Dashboards. New York: American Management Association.

Roslan, O. R. (2014). Higher Education Institutions and Social Performance: Evidence from Public and Private Universities. International Journal of Business and Society, 15(1), 123-145.

Zelimir, M. J. (2011). Making Universities Relevant: Market Orientation as a Dynamic Capability within Institutions of Higher Learning. Academy of Marketing Studies Journal, 15(1), 89-112.

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