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Identify the challenges of virtual learning encountered by the University personnel and the students

Brief Overview of the micro and macro environment of University of Melbourne

Managers occupy an important position in a company or organization. It is the managers, upon whom lies the responsibility to ensure the efficient execution of the business activities. Along with this, the managers are expected to provide sufficient trainings to the employees for the upgradation of their preconceived skills, expertise and knowledge on basic management. Exposure of persistent attitude in terms of seeking innovative ways for luring the customers is accounted as one of the major responsibilities of the managers (Armstrong et al., 2014). Rationalistic and conscious approach in this direction adds value to the roles and responsibilities of the managers. The previous sentence aligns with the requirements of the report in terms of providing an insight into the marketing environment of The University of Melbourne.

The University of Melbourne has achieved accolades and glory by transforming the lives of the students since its inauguration in the year of 1853. The provision of quality education has shaped a leader out of the students. One of the notable features of the university is the provision of creative opportunity to the students, which makes the university a popular one among the other universities of Australia (Unimelb.edu.au, 2017). Continuous research regarding the betterment of the parameter of education has enabled the university personnel to deal with the outside forces and challenges efficiently. Maintenance of consistency in research and development has bestowed many awards to the fate of the University. The University has been ranked first in globalization of education as a whole.

The major drive behind these rankings is the consistent approach in market research regarding the adoption of latest technology. This research has proved fruitful for the University personnel in making the admissions online. Due to this, there has been a noticeable growth in the enrolment of the domestic as well as the international students. The presence of skilled and efficient professors provides a platform to the students to solve their doubts through interactive sessions. Along with this, the location is an added advantage for the University (Unimelb.edu.au, 2017). Governmental contribution towards the infrastructural development has added a modern touch in the lives of the students.

The provision of equal access to the domestic and international students regarding the internet and Wi-Fi access has altered the business scenario of the University.  This access has enabled the students to display better performance in the graduate and post graduate courses. Viewing it from other perspective, this access has exposed the students to the virtual reality of the digital world, providing them an escape from the boredom of the bookish knowledge. Rational and conscious approach of the administrative authorities towards engagement of the students in discovering the unexplored realms of education places the University on a high pedestal as compared to the University of Sydney (Unimelb.edu.au, 2017). Possession of a strategic vision towards the introduction of innovative learning has qualified the University as efficient in terms of academic establishment of the students. The intensity of the issue contradicts the limitation of Australian threshold.

Value and brand positioning analysis

Overseas partnerships have proved beneficial for the university in terms of enrolling mass international students. As a matter of specification, Australia is ranked third in terms of destination preference for higher studies. This situation has compelled the administrative authorities to put on their thinking caps regarding the introduction of lucrative schemes for the international students on enrolments in the peak seasons. The net result of this is the escalation of 33% in the enrolment of students in the undergraduate courses in 2015 (Unimelb.edu.au, 2017). The better performance of the students pushed the figures to 37% in 2016.

The financial flexibility of the University places it above the axis on the brand positioning map. The presence of wide supply chain network helps the university personnel to cater to the educational needs of the students.  Taking into consideration the propositions of the value chain analysis helps the personnel to maintain the equilibrium between the supply and demand. The adoption of the cloud computing has enabled the personnel to achieve positive outcomes in the fields of data storage and data processing (Baker, 2014). The optimization of the diversified university environment has enabled the personnel to provide services to the students in accordance to their needs. As an example, there are diversified needs of the students. Deciding to provide extra classes to the students who performed poorly is a wise step of the university personnel. Further, allotting tuitions for those students through the experienced teachers can be considered as another example of optimization.

Cautious attention towards the needs of the students places the University as a brand above the axis. The major drive behind this is the joint venture with the government. This partnership has resulted in the introduction of lucrative offers, discounts and schemes for the domestic as well as the international students (Bickhoff, Hollensen & Opresnik, 2014). Effective implementation of these offers on the educational needs of the students have added value to the brand image of the University of Melbourne. Viewing it from other perspective, these facilities have created a positive image for the students about the University, which aligns with the functionalities of brand positioning.

Possession of a strategic vision towards the execution of the business activities has generated an urge among the foreign investors to expand their business by investing in the sponsorship programs of the university. This benefits both the university and their stakeholders and shareholders. Within this, rationalistic and conscious approach towards adding innovation in the services enables the university personnel to preserve the traditionalism (Unimelb.edu.au, 2017). This is one of the other indicators, which bestows the tag of better placement upon the plight of the university as a brand.

Marketing aims and promotional objectives for 2018

Continuous, persistent and committed efforts of the marketing team are reflected through the performance of the university as a whole. The exposure of patience by the marketing team in terms of the competition from the contemporary brands has assisted the University personnel to achieve sustainable growth amidst the competitive ambience of the Australian market. Enhancement of the reputation through the means of consistent provision of quality services, acts as a deviation from the usual conventions that the marketing personnel envisions for winning the rat race. Herein, the “logic” takes a back seat as brand positioning needs the modification of the perception of the customers in terms of the brand image (Burke, 2017). Countering this, the craftsmen in order to manufacture innovative products needs the rationalistic approach for the achievement of positive outcomes. Typical examples in this direction are the research and development carried out by the University personnel for upgradation of the standards and quality of education. The consistency in the previous sentence is the result of academic establishment of the domestic and international students.

Planning is a crucial activity for the companies and organization in terms of carrying out the marketing activities. Exposure of oriental approach in this planning adds value to the roles and responsibilities of the marketing personnel. This orientation adds systematization in the business procedures, which helps the personnel to achieve large scale customer satisfaction (Cross, Belich & Rudelius, 2015). Application of theoretical perspective in this context provides a deeper insight in this direction. As a matter of specification, AIDA model can be applied in case of University of Melbourne in terms of the development of marketing aims and objectives.

AIDA is an acronym for Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. Basically the model is used for advertising the diverse range of products and services that the companies and organizations possess. Critically reflecting upon this usage, the identification of the need for change in the business environment is a kind of awareness in terms of catering to the needs, demands and requirements of the customers. In case of the University, identifying and specifying the need for giving extra classes to the poorly performing students relates to the first pyramidal segment of the model (Unimelb.edu.au, 2017).  

Increased demand of the customers towards a particular product or service grows an interest within the personnel to add innovation to that product or service for luring large number of customers. Exposure of rational and conscious approach in this direction is assistance in terms of maintaining the equilibrium between the supply and demand. Aligning these aspects with the University, increase in the enrolment of the students in the undergraduate courses, as a response to the inclusion of facilities, such as, good learning faculty, better placement facilities acts as typical examples of the “interest” parameter of the model (Elenkov, 2014). 

Hiring skilled and efficient craftsman for initiation of the production of innovative products relates to the third part of the model, that is desire. In case of the University, desire relates to the longing of the professors regarding the upgradation of the performance of the students. Herein lays the effectiveness of the introduction of virtual learning, which would expose the students to the unknown realms of education. Along with this, it would also provide escape to the students from the boredom of bookish knowledge. The net result of this would be the generation of urge among the students regarding the desire to study more and more for their academic establishment.

The penultimate segment of the model is the action of the personnel regarding the identified and the specified requirements (Gordon, 2012). Initiation of market research regarding the latest technology in the market by the marketing team of the University is a live example in this direction.

All the attributes of the model are interrelated with each other. Awareness about the poor performance of the students generates a desire and longing among the professors regarding the alteration of the medium of education. The result of this is the introduction of virtual learning, which would escalate the interest among the students to study hard and perform better in their academic lives.

Based on this, the marketing aim of the University would be to analyse the impact of virtual learning upon the performance of the undergraduate and post graduate courses.

The marketing objectives would be as follows:

  • To understand the basic concepts of virtual learning
  • To conduct market research for latest technology
  • To assess the performance of the students through virtual learning
  • To identify the challenges of virtual learning encountered by the University personnel and the students
  • To suggest recommendations to the professors and marketing team for bringing improvements in the education system

As per the arguments of Holton, (2013), mixture in the products and services helps the personnel to identify the specific needs, demands and requirements of the customers. Consistency and frequency of this “mixture” loses the shelf life of the products. Along with this, it also acts as interplay with the quality of the products and services (Kinnear & Ogden, 2014). This situation can make the market position of the companies and organizations vulnerable, if proper and effective measures are not taken towards quality assurance and control (Harris & Short, 2014). This consciousness reflects the organization capability in terms of luring large number of customers towards the brand image. All these aspects seem true for the University of Melbourne. Displaying oriental approach in the marketing mix activities have proved beneficial for the University. As a matter of specification, segmentation of the buyers on the basis of knowledge, response and attitude have enabled the University professionals to cater to the specific tastes and preferences of the students. In view of the previous sentence, the students here are the buyers or the service users of the University (Hassan & Craft, 2012).

Here, the buyers have further been segmented on the basis of quality, value and economic benefit. In case of the first ground of segmentation, that is quality, the thought of financial flexibility is on the marketing personnel rather than the students. This enhances their focus on studies. In the second factor, that is, value, it is the responsibility of the marketing team to provide value for the money invested by the students by providing them quality educational facilities. In the third category, that is, economic buyers, the marketing personnel are entrusted with the responsibility to develop the correct and authentic budget for the financial years and contribute to the economy properly (Hollensen, 2015).

In view of the segments of division, focusing on the second category would prove beneficial for the university. This is due to the escalation of the sales revenue, which would add maximum value to the profit margin. This would include those students, who desire quality education for the betterment of their academic lives.

In view of the specified virtual learning, the marketing team can include the following in the strategies:

  • Indulging in joint ventures with the Trade Union members
  • Joint ventures with the media personnel and advertising agencies

Indulgence in joint ventures with the members of Trade Union would help the University to achieve stability in the financial parameter. Herein lays the efficient execution of the duties allocated to the members of the accounts department, which would preserve the stability in the financial sphere (Holton, 2013). Conscious approach in this direction would help the international students to clarify their doubts that they are facing in their studies. Typical example in this direction can be the provision of free access to Wi-Fi, which would enable the students to video call the professors any time during their study leaves or holidays.

Indulging in partnerships with the media personnel would support the marketing team of the University to advertise the demonstration of virtual learning in the close proximity to the students, such as supermarkets, offices among others.

In the opinions of Kotler et al., (2015), Companies and organizations needs to adopt something innovative for sustaining their position within the market. This is applicable for all the companies and organizations including The University of Melbourne. As a matter of specification, government subsidies prove beneficial for the University in terms of recognizing and rewarding the outstanding performance of the students (Unimelb.edu.au, 2017). The congenial atmosphere of the University is enough to provide better placement to the students. This situation brings stability in the Australian economy. Introduction to lucrative facilities on studying in abroad has enabled the University to stand out from the Queensland, Deakin, University of Sydney amidst the competitive environment. All these issues reflects the reality of Australia being the third preference of the students in terms of receiving quality higher education (Payne & Frow, 2014).

The enrolment of the students in large amount both in the undergraduate and post graduate courses has uplifted their social status.  This upliftment has bestowed better placement upon Australia in terms of literacy rate. Conducting market research for searching the best technology in terms of virtual learning places the University of Melbourne on a higher pedestal than the contemporary brands (Babin & Zikmund, 2015). Within this, carrying out search engine optimization through the means of Google’s release list would help the marketing team members to directly search out for the latest technological gadgets in demand in the market (Ritter, 2014).

Absence of support in the postgraduate programs aggravates the complexities of the University in terms of setting the fees of the courses. Within this also the concept of market research finds its applicability. Conducting market research would make the personnel aware of the potential investors, possessing the flexibility to sponsor in the events of the post graduate department of the University. However, adopting premium pricing method would help the University personnel to attract large number of students towards the brand (Siguaw & Simpson, 2015). Most importantly, adherence and compliance to the competition policies would help the University personnel to indulge into fair trades and transactions with the contemporary brands like central Queensland, University of Sydney among others (Yüksel, 2012). Maintenance of consistency in this fairness would help the personnel to achieve trust, loyalty and dependence from the students. Viewing it from other perspective, this fairness would make the business procedures transparent, assisting the personnel to mitigate the instances of conflict, discriminations and harassments. This reduction would bring equality within the university premises adding to the corporate social responsibility of the university (Westwood, 2016).

According to Solomon, (2014), in order to expand the business, the companies and organizations need the assistance of the media personnel. As a matter of specification, the media personnel convey the important information to the customers, which is itself an indication of business expansion. These aspects seem true for the University of Melbourne. Exposure of strategic vision towards the efficient execution of the advertising activities enables the marketing personnel of the University to attract large number of students towards the brand (Wei, Samiee & Lee, 2014). However, financial flexibility is crucial in terms of recruiting the appropriate advertising agencies. Herein lays the importance of the budget, which would help the administrative authorities, accounts department and the marketing team members to keep a track of the total expenditures in all of the business activities including the advertising.

For recruitment of the advertising agencies, adherence and compliance to the marketing legislations like competitive policies is an essential ingredient. Within this, there are certain specifications. Utilization of simple yet attractive languages for advertising purpose would increase the stock of students for the university (Vargas & Jimenez, 2016). Putting the news of the introduction of virtual learning on the social media or the website portals would transmit the information to a large mass of students, both domestic and international. On the contrary, using vulgar and obscene images for the display of advertisements on the social networking sites or billboards and hoardings would stain the reputation of the University (Unimelb.edu.au, 2017).

In order to develop the budget, the members of the marketing team, accounts department and the administrative authorities need to interact face to face in the form of meetings. These interactions would resemble the participative management style, providing the platform to the each and every individual to pour out their opinions regarding the developed budget (Upson et al., 2012).

Activities

Price

Product marketing

$350m

Content

$250m

Recruitment of advertising agency

$200m

Public relations management

$300m

Creative branding

$300m

Organizing sponsorship events

$350m

Organizing cultural events

$400m

Searching for latest technology

$450m

Purchase of the selected technology

$500m

Total expenses

$3250m

Table 1: Proposed budget for University of Melbourne 2018

This report emerges successful in providing an insight into the marketing environment of University of Melbourne. The overview of the micro and macro environment is assistance in terms of analyzing the positioning of the brand based on the capability to sustain its market position amidst the competitive ambience. Possession of strategic vision towards the marketing mix activities, budget and media allocation would systematize the business activities of the university. Herein lays the effectiveness of the adoption of latest technology, which would alter the business environment of the university. Viewing it from other perspective, it would result in the academic establishment of the students. Exposure of rationalistic and conscious approach towards the execution of activities would help the university personnel to contribute greatly in the Australian economy. 

References

Armstrong, G., Adam, S., Denize, S., & Kotler, P. (2014). Principles of marketing. Pearson Australia.

Babin, B. J., & Zikmund, W. G. (2015). Exploring marketing research. Cengage Learning.

Baker, M. J. (2014). Marketing strategy and management. Palgrave Macmillan.

Bickhoff, N., Hollensen, S., & Opresnik, M. (2014). Step 3: Marketing Implementation—Executing the Marketing Plan. In The Quintessence of Marketing (pp. 111-136). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Burke, W. W. (2017). Organization change: Theory and practice. Sage publications.

Cross, J. C., Belich, T. J., & Rudelius, W. (2015). How marketing managers use market segmentation: An exploratory study. In Proceedings of the 1990 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference (pp. 531-536). Springer International Publishing.

Elenkov, D. (2014). Experiential Exercise with Multinational Student Teams: Researching Together a Multinational Corporation and Developing Jointly a Strategic Marketing Plan for IT Using Blackboard. Developments in Business Simulation and Experiential Learning, 41.

Gordon, R. (2012). Re-thinking and re-tooling the social marketing mix. Australasian Marketing Journal (AMJ), 20(2), 122-126.

Harris, R., & Short, T. (2014). Workforce development. Springer,.

Hassan, S. S., & Craft, S. (2012). Examining world market segmentation and brand positioning strategies. Journal of Consumer marketing, 29(5), 344-356.

Hollensen, S. (2015). Marketing management: A relationship approach. Pearson Education.

Holton, R. J. (2013). Economy and society. Routledge.

Kinnear, S., & Ogden, I. (2014). Planning the innovation agenda for sustainable development in resource regions: A central Queensland case study. Resources Policy, 39, 42-53.

Kotler, P., Keller, K. L., Manceau, D., & Hémonnet-Goujot, A. (2015). Marketing management (Vol. 14). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Payne, A., & Frow, P. (2014). Developing superior value propositions: a strategic marketing imperative. Journal of Service Management, 25(2), 213-227.

Ritter, J. (2014). " What is the role of marketing in strategic planning"?. The Business & Management Review, 4(4), 88.

Siguaw, J. A., & Simpson, P. M. (2015). A marketing plan for marketing instruction: A satirical look at student comments. In Creating and Delivering Value in Marketing (pp. 129-133). Springer International Publishing.

Solomon, M. R. (2014). Consumer behavior: Buying, having, and being (Vol. 10). Engelwood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Unimelb.edu.au (2017). About Us. Retrieved 2nd June 2017 from https://www.unimelb.edu.au/

Upson, J. W., Ketchen, D. J., Connelly, B. L., & Ranft, A. L. (2012). Competitor analysis and foothold moves. Academy of Management Journal, 55(1), 93-110.

Vargas-Hernández, J. G., & Jimenez, R. A. (2016). Personal Marketing Plan and Its Influence on Employability. RESPONSIBLE MARKETING FOR SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS, 63.

Wei, Y. S., Samiee, S., & Lee, R. P. (2014). The influence of organic organizational cultures, market responsiveness, and product strategy on firm performance in an emerging market. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 42(1), 49-70.

Westwood, J. (2016). How to write a marketing plan. Kogan Page Publishers.

Yüksel, I. (2012). Developing a multi-criteria decision making model for PESTEL analysis. International Journal of Business and Management, 7(24), 52-66.

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