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You are to analyze and prepare a report on 'marketing and competitive environment of a University Brand', the assessment requires you to prepare a marketing plan for 2018 for the same University Brand based on your analysis of 'marketing and competitive environment of a University Brand'. The marketing plan should include (but is not limited to): executive summary, background, market summary and demand analysis, demography including segmentation & target market analysis, PEST analysis, competitor analysis including their aim, objective and marketing promotion analysis (write about a close competing brand), SWOT analysis, value & brand positioning analyses, proposed marketing aim and promotional objectives for 2018 with justification, marketing mix strategies, competitive strategies, media and budget allocation for 2018 with justification, expected outcomes and conclusion.

Overview of Higher Education in Australia

Australia is one of the most competitive countries regarding graduate markets in the world. It is the sixth largest country globally. This is because the Universities in the state offer extra quality programs which enable them to acquire a competitive advantage over the other nations. It hosts not less than 43 universities which serve around 1.4 million students from the nation and all over the world. Among the top universities in Australia is University of Sydney, University of Melbourne and Australian National University, just to name a few. Market analysis in the industry is very important as it enables the researchers to acquire all the relevant information concerning the industry, come up with strategies to compete favorably in the market and also avoid unproductive methods in the organization (Pike, 2015). For the success of any organization to be noticed, the thorough analysis needs to be done for the organization to know what it has already done and therefore set strategies to achieve its set goals and objectives. (Marek, 2014). Strategic planning for universities involves right marketing tools and skills which enhance effective competition in the market. Higher learning institutions emphasize on factors such as the quality of courses offered, the building structures and the physical outlook when promoting it to the public.

Australian National University (ANU) is located in Canberra which is the capital city of Australia and is categorized as among the leading national research institutions in the country. It was established in 1946 by the act of the Parliament of Australia, and currently, it has opened seven other campuses within the country. A study conducted in 2017 concluded that ANU was the 7th (being 1st in Australia) in the list of the top delivering universities internationally. The institution offers various degree courses which include; Bachelor of actuarial studies, bachelor of biotechnology, bachelor of economics, and a bachelor of international business, just to name a few. ANU has a tally of 10,052 and 10840 undergraduate and postgraduate students respectively.

ANU is the leading research institution in Australia, enjoys a competitive advantage in that they view the research work as an asset which can, later on, reward the researchers. Graduates from this university have the capacity to visionary apply creativity when dealing with ambiguous problems whenever they arise (Kubacki, 2015). ANU follows their motto which states that “First to learn the nature of things” thus the students majorly focus on exploring what no one else has ever thought of. They come up with analysis of first-hand information, which is relied upon even by the top government in making of decisions and also setting strategies for future survival.

Australian National University: Leading National Research Institution

The high quality of degrees offered in ANU has enabled new students from all over the world to enroll in different faculties, and this has led to increased number of students hence high expansion rate being registered. According to a research conducted by the Times Higher Education 2017 Most International Ranking, ANU was the leading institution in drawing both students and staff far from Australia and also the first in creating a conducive environment, vibrant and enabling the most diversified communities in the university to be more comfortable and feeling at home far from home. This enabled the school to become well known and very loved by both the national and international students (Ashton, 2014). This can also be used as a marketing tool to enable them to register an increased number of new entrants in the university. Most of the modern technology assets can only be found in ANU or other top ranking universities such as University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney.

ANU has set marketing strategies and planning for the year 2018 and has emphasized the analysis on three key areas which include; demographic, segmentation and the target market analysis.

Australian National University being among the top institutions in the whole of Australia focuses on increasing the number of both undergraduate and postgraduate students come 2018. Opening more campuses in different geographical locations will enhance the easy accessibility of the institution such that those who wish to study various courses in the university can as well join the constituent campuses since the studies offered will be of the same quality as those provided on the main campus (Bryson & Daniels, 2015. There will also be a clarification of what each branch offers so that students apply for the choices of interest where they wish to study. The university is also aiming at increasing the number of distant learning students and mostly who implement the e-learning method.

Australia being the sixth largest country in the world, it is critical and efficient to segment market because the country cannot be administered directly from a central point (Rogers, 2015). ANC has done segmentations to several locational across the country though not everywhere. Seven campuses have already been opened to ease the accessibility to reach as many people as possible. It is the responsibility of everybody in the institution, to enhance in marketing the organization’s achievements, goals and objectives even in the rural areas. The university doesn’t only offer degree courses which most people may assume are very hard to undertake, but also provides for diploma courses in various fields so that everybody can be accommodated regardless of what they achieved in their secondary school studies.

Quality Degree Programs Offered by ANU

 There is need to carry out PEST analysis which encompasses the political, economic, social and technological aspects which determine the success or failure of a business organization. Useful PEST analysis results to arriving at the best decisions which help in perfect market competition (Baker, 2014).These factors include;

Political factors are mostly the government interventions in business more so the higher learning institutions. They may either be positive or negative according to the views of different organizations (Carins, 2014). Factors which need to be taken into account at this level include the labor, taxation, trade and environmental legislations. Most of the noticeable reforms in the higher learning institutions of Australia have been initiated by the government. This has impacted positively and has enabled the schools to offer quality education and services to the students hence becoming fit to compete for jobs and opportunities all over the world. There are certain government legislations in Australia such as registering the new university branches before the actual opening and starting the operations (Connell, 2016). All the ANC branches are registered and work according to the laws of the country. This has enabled quality education in that no university can be registered and allowed to train students if it doesn't meet the required conditions.

Economic factors impact mostly on the profitability of the institutions. When poorly managed, these factors may result in high losses. Indicators which are typically used to taste the economic status of a firm are the Gross Domestic Product, (GDP) and the Gross National Product, (GNP) (Dwyer, 2014). According to the Australian Bureau of statistics, there is a gradual increase in the economy, a factor that results in the proper and efficient functioning of the universities. This occurs because the economic growth makes it possible for parents and guardians to be able to raise school fees for their children to whichever level of education. Good financial status has enabled the institution to carry out the marketing to different places all over the country. There is a need for the university to fully utilize the available resources come 2018 as well as looking for more, either by contribution or borrowing from sponsors and the alumni group and plan for proper marketing strategies. This will enable them to acquire new students reflecting on gradual expansion hence being a competitive advantage over the other universities.

Social factors affect work patterns in an organization in that they influence the volume of demand for services, priorities and tastes and preferences of the consumers (Rundle-Thiele et al., 2013). With this in mind, the Australian National University has repositioned the courses offered to match the various customer expectations. The university mainly aims at introducing other certificate and diploma courses in the program to meet the social status of every citizen as well as increasing the e-learning facilities which will enable even the employed class to continue learning online from the comfort of their workplaces. This is according to the 2018 marketing plan. The communities where the university and its branches are located, mostly develop a negative attitude towards the institution mainly due to the spread of immoral behavior all over the communities by these university students. They have eroded the culture of the society in one way or another in that the young ones in the community wish to live like the students because they assume all that they do is recommendable (Graves, 2014).

ANU's Marketing Strategies for 2018

Currently, technology is the primary asset in any organization, and also the determinant factor for its success or failure in that every section required updated technology to favorably compete with other firms (Dietrich, 2015). The success of ANU has been realized by their technological advancement, from advertising and marketing to training, by use of e-learning methods. Students are provided with internet wireless access so that they can research and do class assignments with their phones and sent to their lecturers via email. The university computer laboratory is also equipped with modern computers to help the students engage in thorough research programs. By 2018, the university aims at purely migrating to digital learning where paperwork will be excluded in every department of the institution.

ANU being the top university regarding performance, technology, and infrastructure in Australia still faces stiff competition from other institutions such as the University of Melbourne, University of Sydney, University of New South Wales (UNSW), University of Queensland (UQ) and the Monash University just to name a few. These universities aim at improving their delivery standards to compete with ANU. They have also gone to the extent of getting grants from the government and well-wishers to improve their status. They have adopted marketing tools such as advertising through the media, roadshows where they engage in personal selling and also in public relations (Wilden & Gudergan, 2015). In 2018, ANU plans to participate in the thorough marketing of its courses and services to the public to retain the existing customers as well as attracting the potential ones. This will involve advertisements through the university websites and the social media.

SWOT analysis summarizes the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of any thriving organization. Strengths and weaknesses encompass the internal factors while the opportunities and threats are the external factors affecting the organization (West, 2015). Below is the analysis of what ANU should put into account when designing a suitable 2018 marketing plan.

Strengths

Weaknesses

Investments all over the world.

High-cost structure

Highly skilled workforce.

Poor presence in the world’s largest markets

Increased number of faculties and courses.

Poor deliverance of academic structures.

Opportunities

Threats

Increased demand for the university products.

Increased corporation tax

The strategic location of the institution.

Stiff competition from other institutions.

Increased number of e-learning students.

Government laws which don’t support the marketing plan.

The university is required to thoroughly market the newly introduced brands in the market to cope with the increasingly stiff competition from upcoming institutions (Vrontis, 2014). ANU should ensure that the designated amount of fees to be paid by the students is reasonable and pocket-friendly. Most of the branding done by ANU corresponds to those of other universities and therefore by 2018 they should look for unique features characterized by facts and achievements to ensure that they attract customers from the entire country and also the whole world. So far the university has had effective market planning strategies, for its various branches and the introduction of new courses by 2018 focuses on increasing the students turn out hence using this factor as a competitive advantage.

Market Analysis for ANU

All the institutions work towards achieving their set goals and targets and this can only realize by setting strategies which are SMART (Bryson, 2015). In 2018, ANU is much focused on this virtue as it will increase the productivity and quality of services rendered by the institution.

The university will provide specific details which will answer the; who, what, where and which type questions. This will enable the public to make informed decisions of joining the institution from the specific information provided which will automatically be different from that of other universities.

In the application of the measurability goal, ANU wishes to introduce a marketing plan by 2018 that will aim at achieving an individual target, whereby in case the target is surpassed it will be assumed as an added advantage (Saleh et al., 2015). There is a need for the university to implement other management strategies for the staff and all other personnel for effective success to be attained.

The set goals need to be achievable. By 2018 the university wishes to increase the student population by at least 10%. Unattainable targets in an organization may result to overworking of the staff leading to the general poor performance of the institution.  

The marketing planning goals must be relevant. The information used in marketing plan should be clear and straight forward, put in understandable language to the public (West, Ford, & Ibrahim, 2015). In 2018, the goals set for the staff and students should well explain the reason behind and the positive impacts expected from marketing.

The set goals and objectives should be attained within a specified timeframe. ANU aims at achieving the goals such as increasing the number of students, improving the infrastructural structure and opening another branch by the end 2018.

ANU has developed marketing mix strategies from the 4Ps of marketing which include the price, promotion, product and place.

  • Price

In marketing the university courses, there is variance in prices for different schools. This is because each course needs different facilities, for example, a science student will need a science lab whereas an education one may not need it.

  • Promotion

ANU focuses on subsidizing the products and services to the new entrants in order acquire more and achieve its targets. This is done due to the stiff competition for students from other universities in Australia.

  • Product

Product description in any thriving organization is critical as it attracts the target customers (McManus, 2013). In 2018, ANU will have introduced new courses, improved technological facilities and a conducive learning environment for every student. There will also be an adequate supply of resources to meet the demands of the students.

  • PEST Analysis for ANU

    Place

In the marketing plan, ANU has well explained its strategic geographic location, and by 2018 they aim at opening other branches to ensure that the institution is accessible from different corners of the country (Ramos, 2015).

ANU aims to design competitive strategies in application of Porter's generic competitive forces which include;  

  • Competition in the industry.

By 2018, ANU is aiming at promoting their newly introduced courses by offering discounts to new entrants to obtain a competitive advantage over the other institutions.

  • Potential of new entrants

The probability of new entrants in the market is high as the education sector is gaining more demand in Australia. With this in mind, ANU is aiming at through marketing by the end of 2018 to ensure that the institution is well known all over the world.

  • Power of suppliers

Suppliers are the major players in the success of the institution, and hence by 2018, ANU needs to negotiate with the suppliers to reduce their prices such that this can be reflected in fee each student should pay.  

  • Power of customers

By 2018, ANU intends to meet as many customers as possible through effective marketing.

  • The threat of substitute products.

There is increasing the threat of substitute courses by other universities. ANU should ensure that every degree course has its relevant replacement certificate and diploma programs to curb this issue of substitute products.

Below are the media and budget allocation of ANU

Date

Activity

Description and Budget Allocation

January  2018

Strategic management crew formation.

The process will comprise of 26 school representatives. $ 40,520 will stand for the expenses.

March  2018

Examination of the market.

Marketing crew to draft SMART goals considering SWOT and PEST analysis. The budget to be $ 21,000

May  2018

Product promotions

Sub-division of marketers and allocation to various marketing roles in Facebook, websites, and roadshows. Approximate budget of $ 1,961, 100

August 2018

Actual admissions

Students admitted provided with booklets of the courses offered. Budget allocated is $ 950,000

October  2018

Comparing the market plan with what is achieved already.

The marketing team will measure the impacts of the plan regarding the number of students admitted in August and the students’ comfortability. Estimated budget $60000.

Achievement of the above expectations will enable ANU to reach many customers through promotions, public selling of institution brand and advertising. The number of students to be admitted is expected to rise, and the institution will, therefore, expand its operations to various branches as well as opening other new ones.

In conclusion, no institution can run smoothly and realize its goals and objectives without an effective marketing plan. Unity is also needed in the organization to ensure that they work in one accord aiming at increasing the productivity of the firm. Market segmentation and the introduction of new products in the market adds a competitive advantage and therefore should be advocated for, in any institution. Use of modern technology and e-learning programs should be practiced in higher learning institutions to ensure competency and efficiency in offering services. 

References. 

Ashton, A. S. (2014). Tourist destination brand image development—an analysis based on stakeholders’ perception: A case study from Southland, New Zealand. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 20(3), 279-292..

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

Bryson, J. R., & Daniels, P. W. (Eds.). (2015). Handbook of service business: Management, marketing, innovation, and internationalisation. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Carins, J. E., & Rundle-Thiele, S. R. (2014). Eating for the better: A social marketing review (2000–2012). Public Health Nutrition, 17(07), 1628-1639.

Christopher, M., Payne, A., & Ballantyne, D. (2013). Relationship marketing. Taylor & Francis.

Connell, J., & McManus, P. (2016). Rural Revival?: Place marketing, tree change and regional migration in Australia. Routledge

ContÁ², F., Fiore, M., Vrontis, D., & Silvestri, R. (2015). Innovative marketing behavior determinants in wine SMEs: the case of an Italian wine region. International Journal of Globalisation and Small Business, 7(2), 107-124.

Dietrich, T., Rundle?Thiele, S., Leo, C., & Connor, J. (2015). One Size (Never) Fits All: Segment Differences Observed Following a School?Based Alcohol Social Marketing Program. Journal of School Health, 85(4), 251-259.

Dwyer, L., Dragi?evi?, V., Armenski, T., Mihali?, T., & Kneževi? Cvelbar, L. (2016). Achieving destination competitiveness: an importance–performance analysis of Serbia. Current Issues in Tourism, 19(13), 1309-1336.

Felzensztein, C. (2014). The Chilean wine industry: new international strategies for 2020. Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, 4(2), 1-12.

Fleisher, C. S., & Bensoussan, B. E. (2015). Business and competitive analysis: effective application of new and classic methods. FT Press.

Gambetti, R. C., & Schultz, D. E. (2015). Reshaping the boundaries of marketing communication to bond with consumers.

Graves, C., & Shan, Y. G. (2014). An empirical analysis of the effect of internationalization on the performance of unlisted family and nonfamily firms in Australia. Family Business Review, 27(2), 142-160.

Kubacki, K., Rundle-Thiele, S., Pang, B., & Buyucek, N. (2015). Minimizing alcohol harm: A systematic social marketing review (2000–2014). Journal of Business Research, 68(10), 2214-2222.

Marek, P. (2014). A critical analysis of the concept of marketing strategies for small and mid-sized companies. Economics, Management, and Financial Markets, (4), 255-261.

McManus, L. (2013). Customer accounting and marketing performance measures in the hotel industry: Evidence from Australia. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 33, 140-152.

Pike, S., & Bianchi, C. (2016). Destination brand equity for Australia: testing a model of CBBE in short-haul and long-haul markets. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 40(1), 114-134.

Pike, S., & Page, S. J. (2014). Destination Marketing Organizations and destination marketing: A narrative analysis of the literature. Tourism Management, 41, 202-227.

Ramos, V., Pedro, R., Carla, V., & António, S. (2015). Global competitive dynamics and innovation in the Brazilian wine sector: analysis of Vale do São Francisco pole.

Rogers, T., & Davidson, R. (2015). Marketing destinations and venues for conferences, conventions and business events (Vol. 14). Routledge.

Rundle-Thiele, S., Russell-Bennett, R., Leo, C., & Dietrich, T. (2013). Moderating teen drinking: combining social marketing and education. Health Education, 113(5), 392-406.

Saleh, S. A., Hussain, F., Saud, M. B. B., & Isa, M. A. M. (2015). Strategic Marketing & Competitive Analysis of Malaysian Medical Tourism Industry.

Vrontis, D., Thrassou, A., Kartakoullis, N. L., & Kriemadis, T. (2014). Strategic marketing planning for football clubs: a value–based analysis. Journal for Global Business Advancement, 7(4), 355-374.

West, D., Ford, J., & Ibrahim, E. (2015). Strategic marketing: creating competitive advantage. Oxford University Press

Wilden, R., & Gudergan, S. P. (2015). The impact of dynamic capabilities on operational marketing and technological capabilities: investigating the role of environmental turbulence. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 43(2), 181-199.

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