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Write the Market Summary and Demand Assessment.

Background

Australia has a very competitive university education environment, which means good reputation, a good name, a good brand image, and a safe and efficient marketing strategy is essential for sustaining the success levels of a university brand. A good reputation protects and maintains the university’s continuous growth and performance of its different levels of training and learning as well as research works and social programs. (University of Southern Australia, 2010)

With the changing world, educational systems are rapidly changing at every level, but this change cannot relate to the rapid changes experienced at tertiary levels of education. Universities are developing into more and more business brands. The recent rise of high numbers of university marks means, to stay relevant the institution must go head and shoulder above every competitor. These situations have created competition hence leading to marketing and development of super brands since it is the only way to stay relevant. For instance, CQUniversity seeks to be the most entrepreneurial and the most engaged university in Australia. They have grabbed a big Australian market share by trying to be the national university of choice, with over 23 campuses research institutes and study centers. To them, they mean more than business. 

Australia has one of the most famous university educational systems. The university and other higher education sectors have undergone numerous significant reforms in recent years which have seen the rise of some students getting enrolled in universities and other higher education institutes, both local and international students. According to (IBISWorld, 2017), in the past five years, Australian Universities have seen increased enrollment of students due to uncapping of Commonwealth supported places. Also, some reforms to student visa requirements have led to increased numbers of international students. Locally, CQUniversity is the leading in the recruitment of new students, with over 35,000 student population (CQUniversity Australia, 2014). From 2008, the number of university students rose up noticeably to over 20 percent of national average which implying the academic market demand is high (World University Ranking, 2014).

Market segmentation refers to the process of dividing target customers into a group of individuals with same needs into specific groups. Segmentation of the target market is important in that it gives the universities the clear way on what the prospective customers require. CQUniversity, for instance, has come up with strategies of catering for every category of students across Australia to even those from very distant backgrounds than any other university. There are marketing strategies aimed at exploiting every level of business opportunity by CQUniversity. A competitive market, require broader measures. Segmentation is important in that it gives the universities good insight on where to concentrate regarding their investment.

Market Summary and Demand Assessment

It is also that understood that in Australia, there are three different groups with different recruitment strategies. The first group of local players; the institutions primarily established to cater for the needs of groups of international students from outside Australia. The second group is the global players who are mainly universities operating inside and outside Australia and who recruit on a large scale. The final group primarily consists of high school institutions (Mazzarol & Soultar, 2008).

Marketing is a diverse way of reaching potential customers through a variety of marketing techniques. It all revolves around how a brand positions itself in trying to satisfy customer needs. Marketing mix refers to simply a summed up term used to describe the different aspects organization uses to bring the products to the market. The 4ps is the most popular way of describing marketing mix and includes product, place, price and promotion (Mind Tools, 2017).Universities such as CQUniversity have come up with a different way of staying relevant. The recent merger with CQ TAFE in 2014 made the school able to operate across all the levels from certificate one all the way to the degree. On the other hand, promotional marketing techniques such as advertising are also an option. This involves the use of fliers describing university services, billboards which promote the university logo, radio and television commercials. Other marketing mix techniques include the use of direct sales, communication at the personal level as well as public relations to enhance the famous image of the institution. (Armstrong & Kotler, 2003). Also, universities have other educational offers such as free scholarships for top students.

PEST analysis is a widely used tool that determines the current political, economic, social, cultural as well as technological changes that a business may be exposed to within the environment of operation. From these factors then one can take action on the available opportunities that may arise at the same time devising ways to evade any unwanted consequences that a business operating environment may pause (Mind Tools, 2017). The good operating environment has offered the likes of CQUniversity to diversify their services across all of the Australian socio-cultural aspects.

Commonwealth supported places, is a legal framework, which has seen a tremendous increase in the number of students admitted to the universities. This includes international students (University of Southern Australia, 2010). Australian university brands have taken good advantage of good legal rules and favorable political environment to accelerate business even abroad to cater for students who dwells outside Australia.

Segmentation and Target Market

Australian universities have come under immense competition recently not only among themselves but also from the upcoming global universities originating from Asian nations that pause a threat to the thriving of Australian counterparts on the international level. According to (Booth, 2014), there is a common belief in Australia that only premium university brands will survive the business changes and that they are set to dominate the market much more than the middle-tier universities. But he argues that the middle-tier university brands still stand a chance of fighting off the competition from premium brands, hence preventing their withering and eventual decline.

With the presence of high numbers of premium universities, competition at the top level is inevitable, therefore, trying to understand the competitor's operational dynamics will give you an upper hand in trying to counter-check and compete them. This implies the universities have to stay on their top game by watching every move the potential competitor makes and try to make the most out of it.   

SWOT analysis refers to the process of gathering valuable information about a business that is internal and external with impact or potential impact on the performance of the firm    (Jurevicius, 2013). Swot is a tool that gives the managers opportunity to evaluate the internal and external business strengths and weaknesses as well as establishing any available opportunities for the business. This tool is precious for the management of university brands because; it determines the internal weak points, and thereby creating a need to rectify them. The tool also exposes the external problems and weaknesses that a university might be experiencing thus devising measures on how to combat the problems.  External threats are also detected because every business experiences its share of external problems which may threaten the business efficiency. Evaluation of business strengths and opportunities is also important for sustain the growth of any business. The SWOT tool mostly focuses on the internal and external factors unique to the firm.

Branding has become the latest trend by many universities in Australia as a way of trying to win the hearts of local and international students. In an age whereby more universities are entering the market to earn their available market share, universities now have a lot to handle regarding new demands which mean their capacities are overloaded by the evolution of new tertiary education.  The move by CQUniversity to merge with CQ TAFE was a good rebranding move, to reach new levels below and above. Branding is a helpful move, which reinvigorates new energy in the university system creating new appeal to the potential customers while staying on track with their core objectives, core values, and core activities; which are sold to the prospective students (Stensaker, 2005).

Current Marketing Mix Analysis

The Australian universities have embraced brand positioning in that it sets out the proper image of the brand, what the brand is, and most importantly what it would offer to the potential students Branding differentiates and sets unique goodies that are on offer that differentiates a university brand from the other. In branding, offering something new to the customers is the most important goal.

In conclusion, it requires so much from a university brand to thrive in a competitive environment like Australia. Competition keeps a brand on toes to remain at the top of their game. This is a race because it requires time and tremendous efforts to stay relevant. Anything short of a good marketing strategy and branding will leave a university brand into dangers of potential decline; such is the rapid changes the modern higher education system has evolved into. And CQUniversity is playing on the top game to make sure they become the Australian University of Choice.

Furthermore, according to the (Australian Government, 2015), Department of Education and Training; a large percentage of international students chose Australia over other overseas foreign universities due to the reputation of the Australian universities and the safe political environment. Another factor included real life experiences and living conditions that are available for the students. This implies that the sustenance of a competitive market for a university brand in Australia just goes beyond marketing and branding alone. Even the external factors beyond reach play a significant role, such as legal frameworks, political and socio-cultural factors.  

References

Armstrong, G., & Kotler, P. (2003). Principles of marketing. Harlow: Pearson Education.

Available at: https://theconversation.com/middle-tier-universities-in-australia-arent-doomed-to-wither-and-die-29815 (Accessed: 9 April 2017)

Australian Government. (2015). International Student Survey 2014.

Booth, P. (2014). Middle-tier Universities in Australia Aren't Doomed to Wither and Die. The Conversation, 1.

CQUniversity Australia. (2014).

Submission to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee on the Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill. Queensland: CQUniversity.

IBISWorld. (2017). University and Other Higher Education in Australia. 1. Available at: https://www.ibisworld.com.au/industry-trends/market-research-reports/education-    training/university-other-higher-education.html?_e_pi_=7%2CPAGE_ID10%2C7854212408 (Accessed 9 April 2017)

Jurevicius, O. (2013). Swot Analysis- Do It Properly. Strategic Management, 1. ! Available at:https://ww.strategicmanagement.com/tools/swot-analysis-how-to-do-it.html?_e_pi_=7%2CPAGE_ID10%2C770416188 (Accessed: 09 April 2017)

Mazzarol, T. D., & Soultar, G. N. (2008). Australian educational institutions' international markets: a correspondence analysis. International Journal of Educational Management, 19.

Mind Tools. (2017). The Marketing Mix and the 4Ps of Marketing. Available at: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newSTR_94.html (Accessed: 9 April 2017).

Stensaker, B. (2005). Identity and Branding: Reinventing Higher Education Institutions. City University, London: City Higher Education Seminar Series.

University of Southern Australia. (2010). Code of Practice: Marketing the University.

World University Ranking. (2014). The Australian Test: Uncapped Student Numbers. Does More Mean Better or Worse? 1. Available at: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/the-australian--test-uncapped-student-numbers/2010630.article?_e_=7%2CPAGE_ID10%2C4499409340

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