University of South California’s Program Marketing

Background

The University of South California (USC) intends to market the diplomacy program in China to draw more foreign students. This report presents a proposal on how the university can realize international strategic marketing. It is worth noting that educational institutions, like any other business, require financing for long term sustenance and provision of quality education. This is a proposal that focuses on a distinct entity of education at the University of South California: the diplomacy program. This program is meant to equip learners with knowledge and skills to handle international relations. The university gets its students from various spheres of the world, and these students undertake the program at various capacities. However, an analysis of the department’s statistics shows that there is no representation of students from a large nation like China. Technically, this shows that the university requires strategic planning and marketing in order to realize good outcomes.

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This proposal report is organized into multiple sections as follows. It begins with the statement of the objective, then describes the mission and vision of USC, and thereafter proceeds to give an overview of the educational market. Subsequently, there is an analysis of the threats to the university and the available opportunities that the university can tap into as leverage. Later on, a comprehensive marketing strategy is established based on a market and industry analysis, and it is aligned to the universities’ goals and objectives. It is of the essence to note that the identified target market may be difficult to achieve if the strategic measures are not implemented. According to advice by Malik (2013) on educational programs, the relevant university department will be required to establish a monitoring and evolution framework so as to ascertain that the proposed measure is implemented successfully.

Situation Analysis

An analysis of the 2016 cohort of diplomacy program indicated there was no enrollment of Chinese students; thereby, this was a cause for alarm. There is sufficient evidence indicating the presence of dynamism and solid competition in the education sector. Therefore, it is paramount that the USC streamlines its efforts towards establishing its position in the highly competitive market. Institutions of learning have invested in online and distance programs to complement their usual classroom learning, which is rapidly being phased out. Moreover, the education sector seems to be growing rapidly based on a 21% increase noted in the year 2014. Thereby, it is evident that the USC needs to develop effective strategies and intelligently spearhead the process of creating a unique position for itself in the market in order to gain a competitive advantage

Objective

The mission of the USC is to stand out as one of the leading providers of higher education. The Department of Diplomacy, in particular, has a goal of attaining global presentations through major world economies. Generally, the university and the diplomacy department look forward to having an image of a world-class university.

The vision of the Department of Diplomacy is to have the program renowned for its worth and attain at least a 20% share of the global education market and especially in view of the diplomacy courses.

Market Overview

In identifying a market for an education program, population size, profitability, and forecasts of the education sector count. The count of universities in the world has risen greatly in the last 2 decades. Moreover, the high education niche increased by over 10% in 2013 with the intention of providing accessible, convenient, and quality learning. The Chinese market is a good niche considering the high population of around 1.3 billion. China is noted to spend billions in education annually. However, with emerging online education, education is becoming cheaper and attracting more individuals. The expenditures on online and distance programs are noted to rise while those on classroom programs reduce. More precisely, the department’s current and major goal is to attract more applicants from China to enroll in the program.

Target Market

The University of USC is situated in Los Angeles and California states in the USA. Technically, this means that the target market of USC comprises residents of the United States. However, due to the interest in international affairs, the Department of the Diplomacy program has identified the global arena as its target market. In reference to this proposal, the department lays emphasis on China as its key strategic market. According to recent census, China population was nearly 1.3 billion.

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Market audit

In order to enter the Chinese market, it is important for the University’s Department of Diplomacy to understand its current position in the competitive market. This will be achieved through a key market framework, namely; the SWOT analysis.

SWOT Analysis of the Program of Public Diplomacy

Strengths

USC has a strong brand in the USA since its inception as a private research university in 1880, in Los Angeles. It boasts of producing large numbers of renowned and competent professional and business leaders in the region. This gives the Department of Diplomacy a platform, which it can use to showcase its products and services and obtain significant influence. The department also enjoys access to funds from the university with which it facilitates expansion. Thereby, it is able to stand out as a university that is always seeking to advance and improve its quality of services.

Weaknesses

The program of diplomacy is not treated in the same way as other more technical educational programs, such as engineering, medicine, and computer science that have large numbers of Chinese students. Chinese society has a low perception of some courses, and this drags the adoption of these courses. Lack of awareness of the course is another challenge that the USC’s Department of Diplomacy faces. From another perspective, the department does not have a strong affiliation with Chinese educational institutions, which hinder it from gaining influence over China.

Opportunities

With the advancement of information and communication technologies, there are a lot of opportunities for the Department of Diplomacy. For example, the evolution of intent has seen the emergence of video conferencing where individuals in different parts of the globe can see each other and communicate in a virtual space. The internet and the social media act as platforms where students can learn and interact. The institution, also, can use these platforms for advertising. What is interesting is the low cost of these technologies, both in the short and long run.

Threats

The major threat to the department is the surrounding world class rated universities and regional politics between countries. Another threat are the online education programs which have no barriers to entry and are very cheap. This threatens the profit margin of the company as it ignites stiff competition. Language and culture are also barriers to students from China, and these make it difficult for Chinese students to integrate into the American society.

Competitor Analysis

Competition in any economic sector is inevitable since it is the helm of survival of the enterprises in the market. In the context of the USC, the university embraces multiculturalism and gives every student an equal chance of competing for awards. In addition, the university aims to gain recognition as a world class university. Therefore, in order to achieve these goals and stand out, the following strategies come in handy.

Strategic Objectives

Following the macro and micro analysis of the educational environment, two objectives will guide the Department of Diplomacy. One is to introduce Chinese students to the diplomacy program and increase their enrollment to a minimum of 10 % by the end of 2017. The second objective is to enhance the department’s and university’s brand equity by over 20% within one year by promoting brand awareness and imaging. These objectives are crucial for the department as they enable it to set a strategic position for itself in the unpredictable dynamic market.

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Marketing strategies

In order to attract Chinese students to enroll in the program of diplomacy, the university’s department will have to consider an ideal marketing mix. This section illustrates how the identified strategies can be implemented through the marketing mix that includes products, price, place and promotion decisions (Chen & Green, 2009; Best, 2013). This will involve adopting the following brand strategies; individual branding and brand extension (Walker & Mullins, 2013). First and foremost, the department will be advised to maintain its current title: the ‘Department of Diplomacy.’

Promotion Strategies

An ideal promotion program for potential Chinese students requires advertising, social media and internal promotion strategies. These constituents of promotion are important for the department’s success as they do not only strengthen the image, but also increase brand awareness and imaging. The promotion program is intended to enhance the image of the university and the Department of Diplomacy as a high-class learning institution.

It is recommended that the department should have well-marinated accounts of social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Wechat, Weibo and You-Tube. The USC diplomacy department should consider creating a Facebook page and use it to highlight events, scholarship programs, contents, department’s achievements and above all, expand awareness of the course. The department should also consider using the Twitter to tweet special deals to the Chinese audience as this will keep them informed of new developments at the department. In addition, videos of past events should be posted on you tube as a way to showcase the department’s achievements.

Nevertheless, the client should promote the brand through administration of flyers (advertising strategy), which are affordable and can reach a wide audience. These can be disseminated during important occasions, meetings and gatherings. Internal promotions are an effective marketing strategy the department should adopt. The department should organize events that reflect its theme. These events can be in the form of contests or symposiums. The client is advised to host the events during the weekends when a larger audience can be captured.

Products and Services

Demand for the diplomacy program is high since the corresponding career is lucrative, and the department has already made an attempt to fully invest in harnessing this market. However, due to competition from other institutions, the department is advised to focus on improving the program through technology. The department is also advised to maintain a high profile of sub-programs. In addition to the customer management system, the department should establish an online learning system to augment and facilitate the conventional program. This allows the customer to have options of enrolling either to an online program or classroom one, and this acts as a strong point of differentiation from the rivalries which operate analogously.

Apparently, according to the aforementioned rankings, the university does very well in valuing and respecting the foreign students in relation to their unique perspectives and experiences. However, little is known about how the students are engaged in out-of-class activities.

Place/ Distribution

The university offers beverages such as coffee and morning goods; thus, this helps to increase revenue as shown in the figure below.

USC as an all-day value service provider
Figure 1: USC as an all-day value service provider

This will contribute to the university’s gain of competitive advantage because it will be perceived as an all-day value service provider. In addition to extending operation hours, the university should enhance accessibility to the cafeterias through the website and social media. The website is required to support real-time data access and post updates about the stock, late arrivals and the placement of orders. The prompt response positions the university as personal, reliable, fast and of all-day value to consumers.

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Price

The Department of Diplomacy is advised to implement a perceived value pricing strategy because the sub-programs it offers have higher returns that exceed the costs. Thereby, Chinese students will tend to be attracted to the program. In addition, the department should augment the perceived value pricing strategy with a low pricing strategy. This strategy should be implemented for extended product and services features to create distinctions in value. It is important that the price increase should be aligned to the trend of competition and that the pricing should factor in different target markets. The university must consider providing promotional services and products in order to gain influence over potential students from China. These will include scholarships and free seminars important for career development.

Scholarship

The Department of Diplomacy, through the USC, is advised to consider offering scholarships to high-achieving students where more than half of the program’s expenses are dropped. This will not only improve relations with the Chinese society but will also entice potential Chinese students.

Chinese Students Association

The program of diplomacy should encourage the involvement of Chinese students in other courses in order to help understand and influence more Chinese students to enroll in courses in the department. Fortunately, the campus has an international office team that dedicates its effort to ensuring that the foreign students are happy and their well-being is monitored. However, that is not achieved because these students undergo a lot of frustration and desperation when trying to establish a social life in a new land, and this may affect their perceptions of the department. Hence, in order to make their life comfortable, they should be allowed to form a Chinese-supported student association that will help them feel more comfortable. The Student Service Group should involve and contribute to the wellbeing of students from abroad. In particular, it should be in alignment with their lifestyle, future career, welfare, and health.

Events and seminars

Events and Seminars are important activities that bring intellectuals together and can be used as platforms to integrate people into the program. This is because they enhance career development and every individual looks forwards to attend these events and seminars. Extracurricular events, which represent a number of activities, such as clubs, student council, traveling, youth groups, drama or theater, scouts, music, dance line, scouts, amongst other sporting engagements, are also important. The department will need to coordinate these activities with students from China or integrate them into the Chinese culture.

Recommendations (Financial Plan, Monitoring, and Evaluation of the Program)

Following the comprehensive analysis of the Chinese market and the available marketing strategy, the university should draw a budget to enhance brand awareness and support other related tasks. A detailed financial plan is shown below and requires a colossal sum of money to implement it to achieve good results.

Table 1: Extensive Financial Plan

Activity Media Budget
Advertisement Hospital Management System Branding Online Advertisement (Google AdSense, Facebook, YouTube ) $30000
Radio
TV
Print Media (Flyers, Magazine / newspapers)
Service and Program Designing Use technology to enhance the way the program is delivered $30000
Human resource 10 employees $40000
TOTAL $100,000

It is important to note that the proposed strategy will be implemented within a time frame of 1 year and with a limit of $100,000 as shown below.

Jan 17 Feb 17 March 17 April 17 May 17 June 17 July 17 Aug 17 Sep 17 Oct 17 Nov 17 Dec 17 Budget
Advertising (Digital media) X X X X X X X X X X X $5000
Advertising (TV) X $12000
Advertising (radio) X $8000
Advertising (Flyers ) X X X X X X X X $5000
Service and Program Designing X X $30000
Human resource X X X X $40000

Monitoring and Evaluation

The performance of the department is highly pegged on the marketing strategies, which include branding, promotion, price, place, product and services, and extended marketing mix. These strategies resulted from the marketing objectives which also stated the criterion and timeframe within which the general marketing plan should be implemented, monitored and evaluated (Abdolv & Alinejad, 2013). Malik (2013) asserts that performance associated with objectives directed at brand awareness, image and preference can be effectively assessed through an overall market survey or brand image audit. This assessment will be achieved through occasional administration of student satisfaction survey via their emails or a formal feedback sheet. On a regular basis, performance will be monitored through a student/customer feedback system, which will be in the form of a brief questionnaire or a phone interview through which remarks will be documented/recorded upon service or product purchase. Regular student feedbacks help in service recovery and enhancing customer relationships and loyalty.

Conclusion

University education is becoming increasingly internationalized and globalized particularly in the United States. Universities in the US have become hubs of learning for many international students. On a different note, there is a corresponding growth of worry on whether the USC will attract international students in the same way they attract national ones. The level of competition and evolution of technology makes it even more complicated. The Department of Diplomacy, therefore, should consider adopting this outlined proposal to enroll more international students of Chinese origin.

References

Abdolv, M. A., & Alinejad, S. (2013). Using the STRATADAPT scale to measure marketing mix strategy in international markets. Research Journal of Applied Sciences, 5, 3499-3507.

Best, R. (2013). Market-based management (6th ed.). New York, NY: Prentice Hall.

Chen, H., & Green, R. D. (2009). Marketing mix and branding: Competitive hypermarket strategies. International Journal of Management and Marketing Research, 2(1), 17- 34.

Malik, E. M. (2013). Designing and managing services [PowerPoint slides]. Web.

Walker, O., & Mullins, J. (2013). Marketing Strategy: A decision-focused approach. London, UK: McGraw Hill.

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StudyCorgi. (2020, October 28). University of South California's Program Marketing. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/university-of-south-californias-program-marketing/

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StudyCorgi. "University of South California's Program Marketing." October 28, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/university-of-south-californias-program-marketing/.

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StudyCorgi. 2020. "University of South California's Program Marketing." October 28, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/university-of-south-californias-program-marketing/.

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StudyCorgi. (2020) 'University of South California's Program Marketing'. 28 October.

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