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Situation Analysis

Discuss about the Marketing Management Plan of La Trobe University.

The report describes the marketing plan that La Trobe University will utilize in order capture a sizeable market. The report begins with the presentation of the situation analysis of the organization followed by the assessment of the customers.  Also, it examine the competition prevailing in the market, the marketing strategies that will be used with focus on the 4Ps of marketing and end by giving recommendations and conclusion.

The target organization is La Trobe University. The market under which the organization operates is education industry with focus in research and teaching. The type of product adopted is the Masters of Business management online. The size of the market is approximated to be 50% and the major segment is students of age between 25years to 40 years.  Over the years, the organization’s growth has been growing steady but the focus was only on other programs not online based (Liu et al., 2016).

The major players in the market are Open University, University of Australian and Queensland University. The three universities are ranked among the highest in the university world ranking. The macro environment of the business is Australia. The nation has a stable political and economic system that supports research and training through education.

The customers targeted by La Trope University are learners from various parts of the world and are segmented based on Age and lifestyle. According to (Marak & Chaipoopirutana, 2015), segmentation is strategy of indentifying the market sectors through sectioning based on similar attributes.  It assists the organization to figure out which market they will target. For the case of La Trope University, the market share that will be targeted get will be based on demographic and life stages. In demographic segmentation, the target will be based on age. Here the market will be segmented such that customers under the age of 25 years to 39 years get grouped as a segment (Rahmani, Emamisaleh & Yadegari, 2015).

The reason for selecting this age bracket is because majority of learners wish to undertake postgraduate courses fall under the age bracket. Also, it is the mid-point of one’s career development and many learners at the age will wish to progress upward in their career. When life stages are taken into consideration then the make will be segmented so as to target customers who are over 40 years (Shibata & Kodama, 2015). The reason for selecting this is that at the age of 40 years some people live a different life and any action taken is for fame and familiarization. People over 40 years would wish to undertake postgraduate courses for fame and prestige. They would also want to carry out at their own appropriate time and hence online program will be convenient. The environment of undertaking postgraduate online course is stable since the program has been facilitated by technology and hence any challenges to the customer have been made very minimal (Obasan, Ariyo & Hassan, 2015)

Target Market Segments

La Trope University has created their program such that it stand out among the many in the market. The university has created the program that is market related. By this we mean that any employer requiring an employee with hand on skills looks no other place beside La Trope University graduates. In order to make it very competitive, the University has made sure that they have well experienced lecturers with long standing in research particularly in learning institution (Seifbarghy, Nouhi &Mahmoudi, 2015). Additionally, the organization has embraced technology and created strong and reliable program that supports online programs. This augments very well with the fact that almost majority of the targeted customers are very well conversant with the use of technology (Kormishkina et al., 2015).

However, the organization is cognizant with the fact the there are other competitors in the market. The major competitors are Open University, University of Australia and University of Queensland.  In the assessment of these three universities, it is clear that University of Australia is very competitive owing to the reputation that has gained internationally, followed by the University of Queensland. The Open University irrespective of the fact that it started specializing in online programs has not gained a lot of reputation. This leaves room for La Trope University to compete with the giants.

The organization targets international market with the fact that online programs can now be done with ease and one covers the course content just as anybody in full time study. The market is made on the basis of age and life stages. The reason is that these segments present the greatest opportunity for the organization to venture. Also, these are the people who are conscious of their career objectives. It is with these that the organization will employ differentiated marketing mix. With all variables at stability, the organization thus will venture into a viable niche in the international market. It is because there is large market that is not tapped owing to the reason that the clients (Katsikeas, Leonidou & Zeriti, 2016).

The organization’s product is Masters in Business Management online. As per Jiang, Shang, Liu, & May, 2015), a product forms the basis in which the organization get to gain from the effort as well as finances invested. It is the item that has value. In the development of a product, the organization will decide on the market need that is not fulfilled. There is increase in the demand of education globally and the market is large that it cannot be satisfied by the present players who are in the market.  As a result of the huge unmet market, the organization will have to design the product with the recognition of the potential employers in the job market. The product must represent the requirements that are needed in the job market. Therefore market oriented program is needed. Also, the organization needs to ensure that the program will be acceptable in the global market. Therefore the program must be accredited with the relevant bodies. According to Kameoka et al., (2015), education in the current era is becoming universal and thus the means of getting education has been made closer to the people through the use of online platforms. Based on this, the La Trope University must take the role of ensuring that reliable and market oriented postgraduate programs become available at affordable prices. Since the product that will be presented is in intangible, the packaging part will not be necessary.

Competitiveness

The organization employs the university brand in branding their products. It is in tandem with the mission and mission. The brand category is under the service sector. The distinctiveness of the brand is the ability to impart practical skills and knowledge to its customers. It is with this that graduates from the university get better placements and good job opportunities in the market. This is attributed to the fact that former students who have graduated and employed display outstanding performance. It is with this that the reputation of the brand has been entrenched to the hearts of the employers. The product brand benefits segments categorized under age (25years – 39 years) and life stages (40 years and above) owing to the convenience and flexibility in which the learners can enroll and learn from any part of the globe provided there is accessibility of internet connection (Hoegele, Schmidt & Torgler, 2016).

The price is the value placed on the product in relation to the cost incurred in the manufacturing the product.  This dictates the success of the organization in comparison to the competitors in the market. Proper pricing means profitability to the organization. In this strategy of pricing, there are diverse strategies that organizations may adapt. This is based on the competition, the cost of production and the target of profits required in a given period. In the case of La Trobe University, three strategies are suggested within which if the organization adapts increase the customer will base (Goi, 2015).

The first strategy is premium pricing. This is the type of strategy where the organization has the discretion to put prices much higher as compared to those of competitors. The advantage of the strategy is that the rate of returns is higher. It is suggested that the organization adopt the strategy at the maturity period of the product. It is at this stage where the product brand have gained reputation and many of the targeted market will be willing and ready to go for the brand (Fill & Turnbull, 2016).

The next strategy is penetration strategy. This method gets employed when the product is newly introduced in the market. The customers are not conversant with the product brand and takes time to get used to it. The price is set such that they are much lower as compared to that of the contenders in the market. The reason is to gain customer awareness, increase reputation and thus increase customer base (De Keyser, Schepers & Konu?, 2015).

Marketing Strategies

Also, skimming is another pricing strategy that is proposes to be adopted by the organization. The organization set prices in a manner that other prices are lowered whereas other are increased. It is employed mostly during the decline stage of product life cycle. It is the stage where the product is now not getting clients. The reason for this is that products that still have reputation get to boost product s which have lost reputation and are in the brim of extinction. The method is employed to keep the customer base while other strategies of transforming the product get created (David et al., 2015).

The distribution strategy is a technique of letting the product reach to the customer. The aim is to create easy convenience and accessibility of the product to the client. In business, the client always is given the priority. Since the product relates very much to provision of services, the organization employees direct selling. This is the method where the product is sold to the client directly with no need of intermediaries. The method is best suited for products that are intangible (Brown, 2016).

This is the stage where the entire marketing communication gets integrated. The strategy depends solely on the product and the pricing used. The aim of the strategy is the make the product known to the customers and to increase customer base. All other strategies in the marketing mix depend on the product.  When the promotional strategy is very effective, then there is likelihood of increasing the product volume, increasing the distribution channels and increasing the price (Boon and Liang, 2015).

Based on the La Trobe University, it is suggested that they adopt extensive promotion strategy so that they can reach a wide range of customers. Under this, it is advisable that print media, public relations and online advertising be adopted. The advantage of print media is that it covers wider area and thus large customer base will be reached. Public relations allow direct contact with the client through the use of education days and the organization through all times create good image that get the pubic attracted to  buy the products of the organization. The use of online marketing is as well advantageous given the fact that a many targeted segment are well versed with the use of technology (Barrett and Weinstein, 2015).

It is recommended that the first contingency plans to be included in the plan are continuity plan. In the development and presentation of the program, certain people took part. In many cases, these people might at one point in time change jobs or death. Plans must be such that other people are groomed so as to take charge to avoid discontinuity.

Product Details

Also, asset security must be put in place, since the program is via in line platforms, there is need to secure the product so as the organization have product intellectual rights and hence protected. It is recommended that internet be adopted as a way of distributing the product.  This calls for the organization to embrace e-commerce and online marketing.  Through this the product is able to reach the customer with ease.

Additionally, there is need to have re-organization plans put in place. As a result of the stiff completion, there is need for the organization to plan for challenges that might arise particularly when there are many players in the market. It assists in maintaining the customer base.

In ensuring that the marketing plan is working as expected, the following three type of marketing metrics get used. The first one is ROAS (Return On Advertising Spend). It is a technique used to measure profits gained through promotion. It assesses the performance of the marketing plan. It gives the best level of the marketing channel and the best target market segment. It is calculated by the formula: ROAS = (Ad revenue/ Cost of ad source).

The second control method is ROI (Return on Investment). ROI = (Net Profit / Cost of Investment) x 100. This gives the effectiveness as well as the value of investment as it shows gain or losses. In marketing, the method can be employed to assess the effectiveness of the promotion strategy used.

The other method that can be used is the Customer Retention Rate. The technique determines the loyalties of customers to the product brand, whether the organization is getting new clients and retaining old ones. It is given by: Customer Retention Rates = (Customer’s End Period – New Customers for this Period) / Customers at Start of the Period x 100

Ethics and sustainability plays a crucial role to the brand in that the organization need to make sure that ethics of academic integrity get adhered to in delivering the brand. Also sustainability ensures that the organization create a sustainable product that is able to get adapt to changing environments.

In the brand, it is advisable that the organization uses expanded marketing mix (8Ps). On top of the 4Ps, the organization must add people, physical evidence, partnerships and process since each of these has a role in the delivery of the product to the intended market.

Branding

La Trope University must take the role of ensuring that reliable and market oriented postgraduate programs become available at affordable prices. Since the product that will be presented is in intangible, the packaging part will not be necessary.

The organization will need to use three strategies are suggested within which if the organization adapts will increase the customer base: the premium pricing, penetration strategy and the skimming strategy.

It is recommended that internet be adopted as a way of distributing the product.  This calls for the organization to embrace e-commerce and online marketing and adopt extensive promotion strategy so that they can reach a wide range of customers.

Conclusion

The marketing plan if implemented by the University for the Masters in Business Management online will attract many customers to undertake their studies via online flat form as the product brand it is flexible, accessible and one can do the program from any part of the globe.

References

Barrett, H. and Weinstein, A., 2015. Corporate entrepreneurship, the marketing mix, and business performance. In Proceedings of the 1997 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference (pp. 144-150). Springer International Publishing.

Boon, B.T.L. and Liang, T.W., 2015. Firms’ Marketing Mix Effectiveness and Modes of Entry in the Host Countries. In Proceedings of the 1998 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference (pp. 474-474). Springer International Publishing.

Brown, A.A., 2016. Impact of the macro and micro economic environment on business strategy: a case study on Lonmin Platinum (Doctoral dissertation).

David, N., Schramm-Klein, H., Rank, O. & Wagner, G., 2015. Customer segmentation in retailing based on retail brand patronage patterns. The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 25(5), pp.449-459.

De Keyser, A., Schepers, J. & Konu?, U., 2015. Multichannel customer segmentation: Does the after-sales channel matter? A replication and extension. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 32(4), pp.453-456.

Fill, C. & Turnbull, S.L., 2016. Marketing communications: brands, experiences and participation.

Goi, C.L., 2015. Marketing Mix: A review of' P'. The Journal of Internet Banking and Commerce, 2005.

Hoegele, D., Schmidt, S.L. & Torgler, B., 2016. The importance of key celebrity characteristics for customer segmentation by age and gender: Does beauty matter in professional football?. Review of Managerial Science, 10(3), pp.601-627.

Jiang, Y., Shang, J., Liu, Y. & May, J., 2015. Redesigning promotion strategy for e-commerce competitiveness through pricing and recommendation. International Journal of Production Economics, 167, pp.257-270.

Kameoka, Y., Yagi, K., Munakata, S. & Yamamoto, Y., 2015. November. Customer segmentation and visualization by combination of self-organizing map and cluster analysis. In ICT and Knowledge Engineering (ICT & Knowledge Engineering 2015), 2015 13th International Conference on (pp. 19-23). IEEE.

Katsikeas, C.S., Leonidou, C.N. & Zeriti, A., 2016. Eco-friendly product development strategy: antecedents, outcomes, and contingent effects.Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, pp.1-25.

Kormishkina, L.A., Kormishkin, E.D., Semenova, N.N.& Koloskov, D.A., 2015. Favorable Macro Environment: Formula of Investment Activity Growth under the Economic Paradigm Shifted. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 6(4), p.163.

Marak, D.R. & Chaipoopirutana, S., 2015. The impact of micro and macro environment on profitability of technology companies in Thailand.

Liu, Y., Li, K.J., Chen, H. & Balachander, S., 2016. The Effects of a Product's Aesthetic Design on Demand and Marketing Mix Effectiveness: The Role of Segment Prototypicality and Brand Consistency. Journal of Marketing.

Obasan, K.A., Ariyo, O.O. & Hassan, B.A., 2015. Marketing strategy and product performance: a study of selected firms in Nigeria. Ethiopian Journal of Environmental Studies and Management, 8(6), pp.669-674.

Rahmani, K., Emamisaleh, K. & Yadegari, R., 2015. Quality Function Deployment and New Product Development with a focus on Marketing Mix 4P model. Asian Journal of Research in Marketing, 4(2), pp.98-108.

Seifbarghy, M., Nouhi, K. &Mahmoudi, A., 2015. Contract design in a supply chain considering price and quality dependent demand with customer segmentation. International Journal of Production Economics, 167, pp.108-118.

Shibata, T. &Kodama, M., 2015. Managing the change of strategy from customisation to product platform: case of Mabuchi Motors, a leading DC motor manufacturer. International Journal of Technology Management, 67(2-4), pp.289-305.

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