1.0 Introduction: Essay University of Derby Assignment
University of Derby is a university located in Derby, England. The university has one more campus located at Buxton, Derbyshire. Though in 1992 it gained the status of University, it was formally opened in February 2006 by Prince Charles. Presently the vice-chancellor of the university is Mr. John Coyne (Mudie and Pirrie 2006).
Nearly 300 study programs are offered by this university at undergraduate level. Short courses, Undergraduate programmes as well as foundation degrees and postgraduate degrees are guided by individual faculties provided to the students as well as research groups for experiential learning (Baines and Page 2008). The curriculum of this university covers most popularly-recognized and efficient academic disciplines and also sub disciplines for the perfect exposure of students with respect to specializations. The University also conducts Joint Honors Scheme which allows students to learn over 40 subjects from across four University faculties.
This university provides a very conducive environment to its students for their development in the form of (Mudie and Pirrie 2006):
- Computing laboratories
- Spa which is in Buxton campus only
- Computer games development suites
- Hospital teaching environment with artificial patients
- Learning Resource Centre at the Kedleston Road site
- Restaurant run by culinary students
- University bus system
- Conference settings
- Multi-functional lecture theatres
- Art and culture venues as well as concert venues
- Recording studios
- Sport centers, sport halls, fitness suites and outdoor pitches
- Student union bars and cafes
- Exhibitions by several organizations, businesses and also the product vendors.
There are huge numbers of students which can be divided in three groups:
- Prospective students
- Current students
- Former students
Depending upon the group of students, UDB has to design its communication and promotion campaigns so that it can effectively reach to the desired group through most effective marketing tools and channel utilization. These marketing channels are sometimes not adequately utilized or they are not at all efficient because of many reasons (Mudie and Pirrie 2006). But to spread awareness about the courses offered in the university and to convert prospective students into enrolled students, UDB has to devise most effective marketing campaign. Because still there are several gaps unfilled in the marketing and promotion portfolio of the university. To know the strengths and weaknesses of the marketing and promotion strategies of UDB, peters et al model will be critically appraised. This will help in knowing the areas of the improvement from the UDB point of view. But as education is considered to be high involvement service thus the marketing and promotion strategies of UDB has to be defined in that manner only (Mudie and Pirrie 2006).
Services are a term which encapsulates an infinite range of intangible products as well as activities that are heterogeneous in nature (Baines and Page 2008). Services are generally very difficult to differentiate from goods but then also it differs from goods and physical products. Services are intangible support provided to the customer. There is very minimal chance that a person can claim ownership over the services. Some examples of services are:
- Educational institution providing education service.
- Telephone or mobile companies provide communication services.
- Banks provides several financial services.
Thus Services are not individual entities over which any person can claim ownership rights. They also cannot be traded from one place to other place separating it from their production. Services are heterogeneous outputs i.e. inconsistent outputs produced to order and typically consist of changes during the consumption depending on many internal and external factors (Mudie and Pirrie 2006).
These are some of the services but in reality this list is never ending. Services can be determined as service if they fulfill the following four criteria:
- Intangibility: Services are intangible in nature which means that you cannot catch or hold service but you can feel and experience the service. Like communication service cannot be caught in hand or dropped from building like a good but you can use it and feel it while communicating with a person (Mudie and Pirrie 2006).
Because of the intangible nature of the services it is very difficult for the marketers to advertise and promote the services. Traditional marketing and promotional tools work on the tangible products and goods but not in the case of services where the consumer of service experiences and feels it. Thus for proper marketing of an intangible thing a marketer has to highlight certain key factors like:
- Deliver whatever has to be promised by the service provider during the marketing campaign.
- Understand the unique selling proposition and advantages of the service and highlight those advantages in front of customers to bring the service provider in the choice set from consideration set.
- Converting the intangibles into tangibles by providing the service outputs like quality service, less delivery time, convenience etc.
- Inseparability: Inseparability means that a person who is consuming service cannot separate the service from the process in which service is being delivered. Thus service has to be consumed at that specified location. For example, in restaurant food is served and that is good in this scenario (Baines and Page 2008). Now the services which are offered there is delicious food, timely delivery of food, courtesy offered by waiters, hygiene and cleanliness etc. but these services cannot be taken away after dinner or lunch. Thus services and the processes are inseparable in nature (Mudie and Pirrie 2006).
- Perishable: services are highly perishable in nature as they have to be consumed as soon as they are produced. We cannot store the services for future uses (Mudie and Pirrie 2006). For example – In an airplane there are 180 seats but all these seats cannot be filled every time plane takes off. Thus the left vacant seats cannot be utilized during next flight. It has to be consumed at that point of time else they are wasted.
- Heterogeneity: The service provided to the customers is very much inconsistent. It is very hard for the service provider to provide same type and quality of service to each and every customer (Chaffey and Smith 2008). It also happens because of the excessive customization so that the variability in service is seen.
3.0 Communicating, marketing and promoting to student
The marketing activities are divided on the basis of three students groups. The groups are:
3.1 Potential students: Every marketing campaign irrespective of the goods or services is promoted through different marketing tools. The main concept which is being utilized by marketers is AIDA model (Looy and Dierdonck 2003):
- Attention: Attention is the stage where the awareness and visibility is spread among the target group about the brand, product, company or service. UDB is an educational institution which attracts several thousands of students every year for admission. These students are attracted towards this university because of the promotions and marketing done by the university (Chaffey 2006). This is the first level of marketing campaign where university tells to their target group about the existence of the university and its reputation among the peers. Some of the promotions campaign strategies utilized by UDB are:
- Print ads in national newspapers and educational magazines.
- Banner ads on educational websites which are mostly visited by the student from the targeted student segment.
- Brochures as well as E-brochures for the students.
- Website designed to cater the needs of the students and provide every piece of information needed in lucid and transparent form.
- Advertisements on trains and city buses and cabs.
- Sponsorship of various local, national and international levels of events. This will increase the pride of the brand of UDB as well as visibility among the target group will increase several folds (Chaffey and Smith 2008).
- Interest: After creating attention among the target group by BTL as well as ATL activities, now university generates Interest among the students. This interest is generated at this stage by communicating the value which is needed by the students who are opting for a university. At this stage university advertises mostly about the facilities provided to the students, courses offered and curriculum offered at the university (Chaffey 2006). This is done by utilizing following strategies:
- Conducting educational seminars at various touch points from where students can be reached like international conference.
- Educational fairs are also very important tool to instigate desire among the target group.
- Testimonials from the past students or alumni brings the credibility to the university name and thus students are attracted towards it.
- Advertorials in the newspapers. These advertorials are the mixed form of advertisements embedded in editorials. This is done to generate credibility in the institution and detailed information about the courses offered.
- Desire: Effective and efficient marketing and promotion transforms the interest of the prospective student into desire (Baines and Page 2008). Students tend to believe the product superiority and satisfaction of individual special needs. UDB creates desire by comparing the quality of course structure and services with respect to other university educational services. The strategies followed are:
- Giving ranks to the colleges and getting it published in the magazines.
- Sending customized direct mails to the students who fall under the target group of the university and describing about the courses offered in the university and the benefits which can be reaped by the students.
- Public relation activities carried out during the period when admission process begins in the form of press conferences.
- Action: Personal selling and individual relationship with the students helps the customer to move from desire stage to action stage (Chaffey and Smith 2008). Strategies utilized at this stage instigate the students to take admission in the university. Some of the strategies involved at this stage are as follows:
- Availability of admission forms online and also at a place which is very convenient for the students to approach.
- Providing mentors at high schools where students receive counseling and then the students are more determined to take admission.
3.2 Current students:
Existing students are also the part or member of the university. So these students are also included in the target group of the marketing campaign (Looy and Dierdonck 2003). The marketing campaigns focused towards these students group are as follows:
- Intranet available to the existing students from there every student get knows what new activities are happening in the college.
- Students represent their university during national and international events, seminars and conferences.
- Best quality service is provided to the students during their education in UDB which helps student to develop camaraderie with the fellow mates as well as with college (Chaffey and Smith 2008).
3.3 Former students:
Former students are alumni of the colleges are very important for any university as they were member or part of the university once. Maintaining long term relationship with this group is very important and this is done by utilizing marketing and promotion targeted to the group (Baines and Page 2008). Some of the strategies followed are:
- Database of the alumni is maintained and the database is updated at regular intervals. University has a vast amount of data of all the alumni since its inception.
- Get together parties are organized every year for alumni interaction with current students (Chaffey 2006).
- Regular emails are sent to the former students describing the recent activities done by the university and its students.
- Greetings and wishes are sent to former students on special occasions like birthday, wedding anniversary etc (Chaffey 2006).
- Graduation ceremony is organized at grand level.
4.0 Pieters et al annotated Framework
|Prospective students||Current students||Former students|
|Orientation stage||Alignment & specification stage||Operation stage||Closing and evaluation stage|
|One- way media||Print ads on cabs, trains. Banner ads on websites.||Seminars & conference to counsel and guide the students for admission.||Souvenirs of colleges, T-shirts and caps of university, division of groups according to some predetermined names.||Sending souvenirs to alumni, also providing university T-shirts and caps.|
|PR and sponsoring||PR events to gain credibility, sponsorship of events where students come.||Websites to provide complete information about the courses offered at the university.||Organizing national or international college events.||Organizing get together parties and graduation ceremony and getting it published.|
|Two way media||Student support centre to answer all the queries of prospective students.||Permission marketing by indulging students in dialogue.||Regular meetings are held at college where students can show their concern.||Filling up responses from the passed out students to evaluate the quality of education.|
|Personal communication||Customized direct mails are sent to prospective students to make them aware about the university and courses.||Mentoring students about the basic problems they are facing during their decision making.||Students are provided a faculty as a mentor who regularly meets the students and solve his/her grievances.||University organizes regular events to build strong relationship with former students.|
|Prospective students||Current students||Former students|
|Orientation stage||Alignment & specification stage||Operation stage||Closing and evaluation stage|
|Internal communication||Sending e-brochures and catalogs to make students aware about UDB.||Faculties of university providing basic information about campus.||Intranets to provide information about daily activities going in college.||Interaction between former and current students via Facebook etc.|
|Surrounding communication||Branding the college in surrogate way. Indirect marketing through banner ads on different websites.||Generating desire for courses by showing the importance of those courses.||Culture of competition as well as camaraderie flows in the university perfect for surrounding communication.||External meets of former students to establish alumni culture.|
|Feedback communication||Feedbacks in the form of response generated on internet.||Direct communication with prospective students.||Survey filled regularly to review the quality of education offered.||Newsletter published and articles invited from the former students.|
|Word of mouth communication||Most important tool. This is done by publishing advertorials and testimonials of former students.||Peer group, alumni and councilors provide word of mouth advertising.||Buzz marketing in campus and regular events are organized to engage students.||Relationship marketing to involve former students of the college to build a buzz around publicity of UDB.|
4.1 Areas for improvement:
The marketing campaigns are directed to the particular target groups and the marketing campaigns are effective only if they are accessed by the desired target group through perfect touch points (Chaffey 2006). These touch points are observed from any where a student can be reached.
Presently because of the internet penetration is increasing, e-marketing plays a very major role in making the campaign much more effective (Chaffey and Smith 2008). The marketing and promotion campaign has to be focused towards the students through internet channel because almost all the students are connected through internet and are on social networking websites. Different channels which are being presently used by UDB are:
- PR promotions
- Print advertisements
- Banners advertisements on trains and cabs.
- E-brochures and catalogs.
These are some of the marketing tools which are being utilized to convert the intangible nature of services into tangible thing (Looy and Dierdonck 2003). Thus to be effective internet should be utilized to full extent. The reach will be increased enormously and thus the impact of the campaign will also influence the behavior of prospective students.
5.0 Usefulness of framework
The Pieters et al model is very useful in identifying the current marketing and promotion aimed at the desired group out of the three groups of students named as prospective, current and former students. This framework helped to categorize the strategies depending upon the type of communication and what marketing channel is being utilized by the college.
It helped to know the areas of improvement by analyzing the gap in the present strategies and marketing communication (Chaffey and Smith 2008). Theses gaps can be filled by appropriate strategies through the most effective channel and again the model can be evaluated by same framework.
The marketing strategies which are being utilized by the university are very effective in generating the interest and desire of the students but as the lifestyle and behavior of the customer and students are changing so that fashion marketing and promotions of the university should also change and be updated (Looy and Dierdonck 2003).
Pieters et al model is a very useful framework which helped to categorize the marketing and promotion strategies under different marketing channels used. Also it highlighted the area of improvement which can be done on the existing marketing strategies.
Internet should be used extensively by the university to reach the prospective students and bring the UDB into the choice set of students from the consideration set. Internet is the most viable medium and Facebook is one of the most powerful tools which can bring million of users on a common platform (Looy and Dierdonck 2003).
Depending upon the above analysis of the existing marketing and promotional strategies which are utilized by UDB, some of the recommendations are as follows:
- Facebook is one of the most extensively medium which can be utilized as the marketing weapon. UDB should start branding the name of the university on facebook and inviting the prospective students to become member of that group (Chaffey and Smith 2008).
- UDB should start marketing its course structure and facilities internationally. This will bring great amount of exposure to the college in different countries and thus number of enroll for admission will definitely increase.
UDB should focus to enter developing countries because developing countries have people who have high disposable income but not facilities. So they will be attracted towards UDB and want admission in college (Chaffey 2006).
- Alumni community which will be based on different region should be started. Alumni chapter like US chapter, Asia-pacific chapters should be initiated. These groups will help in marketing the college internationally depending upon the need of the students there.
- Sending emails to the students and their families projecting the course structure and facilities provided at UDB. Thus the decision making unit will be influenced by the offerings of the college and the will definitely be compel to get admission in this university.
- Developing an Online community which will be governed by the university. This community will be joined by the faculty, existing students as well as former students. This portal will be very helpful in getting information about any member, jobs posting, any relevant advice to university etc. thus it would create a great amount of camaraderie among the fellow members of the portal (Looy and Dierdonck 2003).
- Baines, P., Fill, C. and Page, K. (2008) Marketing, Oxford : Oxford University Press Brassington
- F & Pettitt S (2006) Principles of Marketing (4th Ed) Essex:Prentice Hall
- Chaffey, D. (2003) Total e-mail marketing, Oxford : Butterworth-Heinemann
- Chaffey, D. [et al] (2006) Internet marketing : strategy, implementation and practice, (3rd ed) Harlow : Financial Times Prentice Hall
- Chaffey, D. and Smith, P. (2008) emarketing excellence : planning and optimizing your digital marketing, (3rd ed) London : Butterworth-Heinemann
- Charlesworth, A (2009) Internet Marketing A Practical Approach, Oxford : Butterworth
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