Central Queensland University is a renowned educational institute in Australia with profound emphasis on the acquisition of University status in the year 1992. The institute is also accountable for depicting the fastest pace of the progress among other higher education institutes in Australia with its explicit efficiency in case of vocational training services and higher education courses (Altunel & Erkut, 2015).
The university has relied on a focused approach towards addressing competitive environment in the domain of higher education which comprises of formidable characteristic initiatives such as launch of research centres, new campuses and association with various institutes for research and education purposes.
The considerable efficiency in the infrastructure of CQ University is associated with the outcomes of improved brand reputation which could also be related to the provision of educational services efficiently to students that can be utilized for improvement of their professional careers in the future (Berezina, Bilgihan, Cobanoglu, & Okumus, 2016). The interactive model followed by the organization for ensuring its operations is indicative of the prolific requirements of focusing on strategies and elements that could assist the institute in accomplishment of superior position in the industry.
Market and demand evaluation:
As per Buhalis & Foerste, the comprehensive evaluation of the market for higher education in Australia along with the concerns for precision in the outcomes is capable of providing accurate interpretation of the demand trends alongside the vital factors that modify industry trends and performance implications in the higher education industry. The demand for higher education in Australia has been growing with the expansion of the sectors of senior secondary, secondary, tertiary and primary education (Buhalis & Foerste, 2015).
According to Buhalis & Foerste, the quality of education provided to students in higher education in Australian universities can be accounted as a considerable factor for improving the demand in the higher education industry. The specific illustration of demographics and the use of approaches such as segmentation, value improvement and brand positioning of the CQ University could be accounted as promising responses of the University towards the marketing requirements in the upcoming year (Buhalis & Foerste, 2015).
The variation in services of educational institutes especially in the domain of higher education is profoundly observed in the induction of varying disciplines and academic branches which are different from the conventional paradigms adopted for education. As per Hoppen, Brown & Fyall, the own campus advantage possessed by the CQ University has to be accompanied with the inclusion of reasonable approaches such as identification of the similar sets of beliefs, characteristics, needs and priorities which can be leveraged for tailoring the strategic objectives of marketing for particular market segments (Hoppen, Brown, & Fyall, 2014).
The specific segmentation strategies that could be applied by the university refer to the contexts of aspiring academics and career initiators. However, the strategic marketing plan of CQ University for the year 2018 has to be centred on the particular market segment of international students since the demand for Australian educational institutes is rapidly progressing in areas such as Malaysia, France and China (Hvass, 2014).
As per Jeuring, the integral nature of CQU’s targeting strategy can be validated on the grounds of the limitations on resources as well as the profound levels of competitive intensity noticed in the industry of higher education in Australia. The specific target markets could be observed in the Asia Pacific region owing to the proximity of Australia to the international markets such as China and Malaysia (Jeuring, 2016).
As per Jiang, Ramkissoon & Mavondo, flexibility of communication could be assumed as a reason for targeting these specific markets for the marketing plan of CQU. The provision of distance education services alongside the on-campus training facilities for employment prospects could be assumed as reasonable indicators of appealing the target markets. The use of interactive models could be assumed as notable references for addressing the requirements of a wider customer base primarily in the younger age group (Jiang, Ramkissoon, & Mavondo, 2016).
The distinct inferences from the analysis of macro environmental factors could be realized as notable implications towards formulating feasible approaches to marketing for the organization. The evaluation of political, economic, social and technological dimensions of the environment for higher education in Australia can be implemented for the derivation of appropriate insights into the effectiveness of the marketing plans of the university (Jin, Line, & Goh, 2013).
As per Karatepe, Political factors that can be noticed in the educational sector are associated with pivotal roles which are also reflected on the performance of CQU in the domain of higher education. The implications towards the Australian government policies require CQU to comply with the precedents of an efficient educational model (Karatepe, 2014).
According to Kim, Lee & Mattila, economic factors are reflective in the formulation of approaches towards allocation of funding and development of infrastructure. The primary impacts of changes in inflation rates, frequent changes in fiscal policies that are directed towards allocation of funds to the educational institutes. It is also imperative to consider the impact of changing currency rates that can influence the decisions of international students to a great extent (Kim, Lee, & Mattila, 2014).
Social attributes such as expansion and migration of population, financial propensity and career attitude are perceived as significant dimensions that can be integrated in the strategic marketing plan for CQU in 2018. The difference in social and cultural backgrounds of students of the university is also reflective of a major impact on increasing diversification in the social model of the activities of educational institutes (Kladou & Kehagias, 2014).
Technological improvements in the domain of higher education in Australia could also be leveraged for acquisition of notable implications for improvement in marketing outcomes. The references to the use of social media and the evolving concepts of marketing on online platforms can be considered as major implications of technological advancements.
The promising implications of competition intensity in educational environment can be observed both as an obstacle as well as an opportunity for CQ University. Considerable analysis of competitive intensity is reflective of the potential for the university to ensure sustainable practices. The aim of competitor analysis is vested in the observation of disparities among the operations of the university and those of peers in the industry. CQU is subject to the impact of competition from other universities such as the University of Queensland, Sydney University and University of Melbourne which provide superior quality of services (Lu & Stepchenkova, 2015).
As per Mariani, et al, the competitive intensity is addressed by CQU through the explicit references to the provision of educational services successfully and sustaining a brand reputation. The competitive intensity can also be estimated from the variables of student strength, quality of education and subject courses. The University of Queensland can be accounted as a major competitor of the CQ University with its explicit services in the domain of undergraduate and postgraduate courses as well as research fellowships (Mariani, Buhalis, Longhi, & Vitouladiti, 2014).
The competitor also depicts formidable threat to the CQU since it is capable of providing educational services to 48000 students alongside ranking among the top universities in the world with emphasis on the rankings provided by Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Other dimensions where CQU can be associated with explicit setbacks as compared to its competitor refer to student survey outcomes, research excellence and the admission of students in various academic disciplines facilitated by the university (Mariani, Buhalis, Longhi, & Vitouladiti, 2014).
The implementation of SWOT analysis to identify the reasonable indicators of the strategic performance of the organization in the long run has been considered specifically for service based industries such as education. The reflection on the individual dimensions of the SWOT analysis presented with respect to the case of CQ University can be illustrated as follows.
According to Mariani, et al, Strengths of the CQ University can be apprehended cognizably in the formidable brand reputation of the organization which appeals to a global audience. The expanse of CQU in Australia as well as the employment rate of students passing from CQU could be assumed as profound strengths of the organization (Mariani, Buhalis, Longhi, & Vitouladiti, 2014).
Weaknesses could be promisingly identified in the incompatibility of the infrastructure due to the inclusion of inappropriate models for providing education which could also be noted profoundly in the limitations on the provision of sophisticated technical courses. The grading system followed by the university is also accountable for realization of cognizable weaknesses in the operations of CQU (Pearce, Destination management in New Zealand: Structures and functions, 2015).
The opportunities which could found in case of CQU are directed towards realization of explicit benefits especially with respect to the development of technical infrastructure such as inclusion of information systems for management of student information. The revisions in the educational model could also be accountable for introduction of new programmes alongside providing reasonable competition to the leading universities in Australia (Pearce & Schänzel, Destination management: The tourists’ perspective, 2013).
Threats for CQU could be profoundly observed in the competition from international universities which are liable to acquire the attention of potential students. Thereafter the implications of changes in technological environment could be liable for limitations in context of the education model and adaptability of the organization.
Value and brand positioning:
The quality of education provided by CQU is a noticeable determinant of its reputation in the global education sector. The essential positioning of the organization for realizing efficient interaction and engagement with the prospective students that can address the interaction and engagement needs (Prayag, Hosany, & Odeh, 2013).
As per Reinhold, Laesser & Beritelli, positioning strategy applied in case of CQU could be assumed as reasonable indicators for targeting the students from varying backgrounds as well as inducing sustainable growth in the increment in student count, campus establishments, research centres and the courses offered in the university (Reinhold, Laesser, & Beritelli, 2014 St. Gallen Consensus on destination management, 2015).
The consideration of providing multiple educational programs by the CQU is also responsible for addressing the diverse educational needs of students as well as ensuring the bright and prosperous future for them. The positioning of the University for attracting a wider student base as well as realizing needs of national and international markets can be assumed as major competences in case of CQ University (Reinhold, Laesser, & Beritelli, 2014 St. Gallen Consensus on destination management, 2015).
The acceptance of the international students alongside the implications for understanding the reasonable value proposition facilitated by the audience on a global perspective can be assumed as notable indicators of the value associated with services of CQU.
Marketing aim and promotional objectives:
The strategic marketing plan of CQ University in the year 2018 could be realized effectively only through the consideration of precise marketing aims and objectives for promotion. The foremost aim that could be related to the marketing plan of the university is directed towards communication of the enterprise as a favourable destination for international students who wish for pursuing higher education in Australia.
The promotional objectives in case of the university can be associated with notable implications towards strategic communication. Strategic goals that could be presented formidably in case of marketing plan can be related to the resource allocation, reasonable suggestions for implementing the market plan effectively and identification of particular media sources that could facilitate higher efficiency in marketing outcomes (Wang, Li, & Li, China's “smart tourism destination” initiative: A taste of the service-dominant logic, 2013).
The promotion objectives could be accomplished precisely with prominent implications towards the requirement of promoting academic excellence through improvement in the innovative measures for delivery of services, quality programs of the institute, teaching environment and the comprehensive utilization of collaborations and strategic programs.
The promotion objectives are also reflective of reasonable implications for safeguarding human and financial resources that would facilitate cognizable improvement in the performance of CQ University’s marketing plan especially through fiscal management, induction of competent governance apparatus as well as management organization (Wang, Xiang, Law, & Ki, 2016).
Marketing mix strategies:
The implementation of marketing mix is an imperative requirement for acquisition of improved outcomes from the marketing plan since it is capable of addressing the dimensions of marketing such as programs, place, pricing and promotion. The program dimension of the university is associated with the different courses and degrees facilitated by the University alongside the research fellowships provided to customers (Xiao, 2013).
The quality of services provided by CQU in higher education can be potentially integrated in the realization of the program dimension of marketing mix. The program dimension of marketing mix for CQU is profoundly indicative of references to community services, teaching and provision of opportunities for research activities in distinct disciplinary streams.
Pricing aspect of the marketing mix for CQU has to be moderated in order to attain strategic objectives. The comparison of economies of scale in various international markets as well as the potential improvements in reduction of tuition fees for international students through the support obtained from government funding could be implemented as strategic improvements in the case of CQU. Majority of parents are apprehensive regarding the admission of students in universities owing to the financial implications and the costs associated with the acquisition of services.
The specific costs which also need to be integrated in the aspect of pricing refer to the time costs, effort costs and psychological costs (Wang, Li, & Li, China's “smart tourism destination” initiative: A taste of the service-dominant logic, 2013).
Moderation of the place aspect in the marketing mix for CQU could be associated with the marketing plan’s strategic objectives. The improvement in the number of research centres, campuses and institutional establishments could be assumed as a promising strategy in accordance with the marketing mix of CQ University.
Furthermore, it is essential to evaluate the significance of technological advancements especially in the domain of information technology has increased the prospects for students to avail relevant courses facilitated by the university through distance education and off-campus learning.
As per Wang, Li & Li, Promotion is a reasonable indicator for improving marketing mix outcomes in context of the domain of higher education and in the case of CQU the specific targeting of international students in the strategic marketing plan of the organization requires tailored initiatives for addressing the marketing objectives. Communication through the approaches of advertisement and the selection of appropriate media that can reach the potential customer base of international students can be assumed as reasonable influences on the exposure of the organization in media. The implementation of push and pull strategies in advertisement can be major influences on the marketing mix in the enterprise (Wang, Li, & Li, China's “smart tourism destination” initiative: A taste of the service-dominant logic, 2013).
The competition intensity observed in the domain of higher education in Australia can be profoundly associated with the presence of old universities as well as emergence of new and efficient institutes with the appropriate framework to address requirements of international students. Therefore the CQ University must aim at realization of distinct marketing objectives through application of competitive strategies that could be otherwise related to the references to target marketing approach followed by the university to appease an international student base. The observation of competitive strategies should be relevant to the illustrations in the strategic marketing plan of the university in order to accomplish desired outcomes.
The application of target marketing in the case of CQ University’s strategic aim to accomplish a profound establishment in marketing initiatives for attracting international students could be noted as a viable competitive strategy (Wang, Xiang, Law, & Ki, 2016). Competitive strategy can be defined as a responsive approach to cater the insufficiencies especially in the case of prominent measured applied by competitors to address market dominance. The use of competitive strategies is effective in the case of universities since it enables the individual organizations to understand the market dynamics and prepare sustainable measures accordingly.
The application of target marketing could be realized in the case of CQU with the use of orchestrated marketing, differentiation marketing and concentrated marketing as competitive strategies to address the limitations imposed by competitors. From a local perspective, CQU is also liable to experience substantial competition from the Queensland University of Technology which addresses the educational requirements of almost 48000 students. Therefore the use of differentiation marketing becomes imperative in case of CQU’s strategic marketing objectives since it cannot rely on the promotion of its educational services in the concentrated domestic market for sustainability (Mariani, Buhalis, Longhi, & Vitouladiti, 2014).
The long term impact of the marketing strategy should be considered as a major rationale for determining effectiveness of the competitive strategies followed by the university in existing scenarios. The use of differentiation marketing would provide reasonable insights towards the formulation of specific marketing plans for the individual segments of students i.e. international and national. The marketing objectives of CQU should be integrally associated with the mission and vision of the organization in order to attain cognizable competitive advantage particularly through the realization of effective demarcation of CQU from other educational establishments in the Australia (Mariani, Buhalis, Longhi, & Vitouladiti, 2014).
The focus on specific international markets could also be assumed as a credible competitive strategy for CQU in order to realize the demand of education in Australia from foreign markets as well as capitalizing on the proximity of Australia to countries in Asia Pacific region such as China, India and Malaysia. These markets could be capitalized on to attract formidable volumes of international student admissions thereby obtaining higher revenues. The other competitive strategies that can be applied flexibly in the case of strategic marketing plan for CQ University for 2018 include the utilization of social media for marketing communication as well as the collaboration with government and federal agencies.
Expected outcomes and conclusion:
As per Kladou & Kehagias, the strategic marketing plan is associated with prominent outcomes that can be perceived in the case of CQ University. The outcomes include the improvement in competitive advantage of the university which could increase the prospects for acquiring higher student admissions especially from the international regions (Kladou & Kehagias, 2014).
The outcomes could also include the improvement in reputation of the university in the domain of global higher education as well as the opportunities for sustainability especially with respect to the collaborations with federal and government agencies. The report explicitly utilized analytical approaches to evaluate feasibility of strategic marketing plan through the application of PEST and SWOT analysis, competitor analysis, review of segmentation and targeting as well as brand positioning of the university.
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