Pearson Plc’s Business Strategy Options


Pearson PLC is a multinational media and education company. It has its headquarters in London. It is the world’s leading book publisher. In addition, it has over 40,000 employees in more than 70 countries around the world (Grant 2008). The company delivers its content through a wide range of media channels. Such outlets include books, newspapers, and online publications (Pederson 2008). Furthermore, it has three core businesses. The three include Pearson School, Pearson Higher Education, and Pearson Professional.

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In this paper, the author will discuss two appropriate business strategies for Pearson PLC. The first includes embracing digital technology. The second entails the delivery of enhanced learning outcomes in fast growing economies. Both strategies will be critically analyzed. The best will be selected based on the potential benefits and chances of success it provides to the company.


Pearson School was founded in 2013. It was a result of a merger between the International and North America business departments. It avails books and digital content to teachers and learners around the world. Its key products include Bug Club, BTEC, Edexcel, and Grand-Point (Grant 2008). Other brands are Fronter, Power-School, and Success-net.

Pearson Higher Education was also created from a merger. Its major brands are targeted at teachers and scholars in institutions of higher learning around the world. The products include e-College, Financial Times, and MyLabs publications. The company’s Professional Business segment comprises the FT Group and Pearson English and VUE (Davidson & Goldberg 2010). Each division is charged with the responsibility of carrying out unique tasks.

The FT faction offers business and financial analysis services. It also provides comments and reports through print and online media. The Pearson English provides teachers and students in the Language Department with textbooks, digital technologies, and educational services (Philip 2010). It consists of Global English and e-learning for big conglomerates, such as Wall Street. Pearson VUE has a unique set of clients. They include regulatory and certification agencies. The reason is that it majors in electronic testing.

Shift to Digital Services and Commitment to Deliver: Direction and Method

Every corporation has one key goal, which is to consistently grow and succeed in the market (Jacobs & Levy 2005). As the world’s largest education and publishing company, Pearson PLC has to maintain its high levels of success and dominance in the industry. It can achieve this by formulating and implementing two key strategies. They include hastening the shift to digital services and commitment to deliver advanced learning outcomes in fast-growing economies in the world.

A shift to digital services will move the company to the present and to the future. It is likely to increase its revenues in the long run. On its part, focusing on emerging markets will increase Pearson’s global outreach. It will make the company grow together with the new economies.

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Speeding up the shift to digital services

Over the years, the emergence of numerous technological advancements has made learning more interactive for both young and adult learners. The rise in digital technologies has greatly affected the entire publishing industry (Pearson PLC 2013). It threatens the profitability of Pearson’s textbook business. As a result, the company has been forced to lay off most of its employees in the publishing group. In addition, various technologically powerful competitors have taken advantage of their superiority to get closer to Pearson’s leadership position in the market (Madi 2009). The rivals include Apple and Google. They pose a threat to Pearson’s future profit margins.

Pearson PLC can address this problem by accelerating the shift to digital services. Such a move involves significant restructuring and reinvestment program in print services. The era of printing and shipping textbooks is now becoming a thing of the past. Parents, teachers, and scholars demand more and easily accessible services that can be provided online (Davidson & Goldberg 2010). Pearson has to respond to this demand to remain relevant in the market. Textbooks are considered by most individuals as cumbersome to carry around.

In 2013, Pearson Company proposed a restructuring strategy with a budget of approximately £150 million. The plan was meant to support the shift to digital services (Madi 2009). However, the firm needs to invest more to reach out to its global customers through the digital platform. It should take advantage of the emergence of technological advancements to improve its business processes. To this end, Pearson should consider technology to be a boost to its operations rather than a threat. Mobile applications and devices with the capability to connect content with assessment and feedback should be introduced (Pearson PLC 2013). The company should use learning analytics and data to provide clients with a personalized learning experience.

Delivering advanced learning outcomes to fast-growing economies

Currently, Pearson’s strategies focus on significant and long-term goals (Munroe 2004). Today, the demand for increased and better access to affordable education is on the rise. Pearson PLC can exploit this gap to increase its market share. It can achieve this by coming up with policies to deliver advanced learning outcomes to emerging economies in the world. Such a move involves the direct delivery of quality services to teachers and students in the education sector.

The giant book publishing firm has extensive financial capabilities and assets. It can exploit these strengths to meet the aforementioned goal of increasing the delivery of goods and services to emerging markets. The strategy should involve investing in bigger and affordable global products and platforms. It should be based on world-class infrastructure and common systems (Munroe 2004).

The major markets for Pearson PLC are found in the United States of America and Europe (Philip 2010). However, to maintain its leadership position in the global market, the company should focus more on developing economies. It should come up with products for consumers in Asia and Latin America. It should also focus on the Middle East and Africa. The reason is that there are significant growth opportunities in the education sector in these countries.

The growth is influenced by the increased adoption of learning technologies and the emerging relationship between education and career in these countries. In 2012, a total of 45% of revenues in education was from the developing markets (Pearson PLC 2013). In light of this, Pearson should adapt to the frequent changes in these emerging markets. The move will enable the company to increase its competitive edge over rival publishers.

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Accelerating the Shift to Digital Services and Focus on Emerging Markets: A Suitability Analysis

The two strategies can be very beneficial to a leading publishing company like Pearson PLC. Enhancing the shift to digital services will help Pearson to effectively meet the demands of its clients. When books are made available online, more students and teachers around the world will be able to access them (Madi 2009). In addition, the company’s brands will be distributed at low costs with a lot of ease.

The reason is that the process of printing and shipping will no longer be extensively undertaken as was the case before (Singer 2013). Websites will be the new platforms for accessing any learning materials required by scholars. The pressure and risks associated with a decline in the amount of money used to purchase textbooks will be regulated. The provision of digital services creates room for the acquisition of online enterprise learning contracts (Philip 2010).

Currently, Pearson has entered into contracts with such institutions as California State, Arizona, and Rutgers universities. The rate of installing the new mobile learning applications will be higher than in the past. Since its inception, Pearson’s Open Class free learning management system has been installed by approximately 1,300 K12 and institutions of higher learning in the United States (Pearson PLC 2013). Generally, accelerating the shift to digital services will result in an increase in the annual revenues collected by the company.

Delivery of advanced learning outcomes in emerging economies is also suitable for Pearson. The firm will work towards the provision of affordable brands to developing nations. Some parents in these markets cannot afford the existing expensive education services (Grant 2008). The firm can exploit its capabilities to meet the needs of such parents by providing affordable and high-quality services. Pearson will be able to enter into partnerships with public and private learning institutions (Gilad 2004).

Commitment to Deliver Advanced Learning Outcomes to Growing Economies: An Analysis of the Most Appropriate Strategy

The most appropriate strategy for Pearson is the focus on the delivery of advanced learning outcomes to growing economies. The approach has numerous advantages and benefits, which will enhance the success of the world’s largest publishing company. By investing more in these markets, Pearson will establish a large customer base for its brands. In addition, more students will have the chance to access quality education services at low costs (Pearson PLC 2013).

High-quality learning ensures graduates are adequately equipped with the skills needed to join various careers (Munroe 2004). As a result, people will improve their lives due to the knowledge acquired through learning. The learning services offered in some schools provide flexibility and choice for parents, teachers, and students. As a result, Pearson will record increased financial returns. In 2013, the company reported revenues of £5,069 million (Davidson & Goldberg 2010). Entering the emerging markets is likely to increase this figure.

Delivering advanced learning outcomes and tapping into the potential of growing markets will enable Pearson to deal with competition from rival publishers (Davidson & Goldberg 2010). In addition, the company will be able to publish its print and online content in different languages to meet the needs of consumers who cannot understand the English language.


Strategies are implemented to enhance growth and to deal with risks that may affect business operations. Pearson should enhance its competitive advantage and maintain its dominance in the market. The extensive use of digital technologies and the provision of quality services will ensure that the company continues to succeed in the publishing industry. Pearson’s management team should endeavor to come up with the most appropriate strategies for the firm.

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Implementation of the proposed strategies should be timely and efficient. The reason behind this is to avoid major setbacks that may hinder the success of the organization. The management should note that the firm’s key strengths and weaknesses determine the selection of the appropriate strategies.


Davidson, C & Goldberg, D 2010, The future of thinking learning institutions in a digital age, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.

Gilad, B 2004, Early warning using competitive intelligence to anticipate market shifts, control risk, and create powerful strategies, American Management Association, New York.

Grant, T 2008, International directory of company histories, St. James Press, Chicago.

Jacobs, B & Levy, K 2005, Market neutral strategies, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, N.J.

Madi, S 2009, ‘Transformational metadata and the future of content management: an interview with Madi Solomon of Pearson PLC’, Journal of Digital Asset Management, vol. 5 no. 1, pp. 27-37.

Munroe, M 2004, The academic publishing industry: a story of merger and acquisition, Northern Illinois University Libraries, DeKalb Ill.

Pearson PLC, 2013, Our history. Web.

Pederson, J 2008, International directory of company histories, St. James Press, Chicago.

Philip, J 2010, Pearson stays on top as world’s largest book publisherWeb.

Singer, A 2013, Pearson rakes in the profitWeb.

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