Marketing Plan for New DBA Program at South University
South University is introducing a new course; a doctorate of business administration (DBA) with a focus on organizational behavior. The course is to be offered online, as well as locations near to the existing campuses throughout the south of the country. For the course to be successful, it is essential the University is able to market the course, to gain sufficient attendees. This document is a basic marketing plan to support this new course. Any effective marketing plan will start by specifying the goals and then conducting a situation analysis, before moving on to identification of the target market (Quick MBA, 2016). The development of the marketing strategy is then developed based on the needs and profile the target, and aligned with the existing situation (Quick MBA, 2016).
The goal for the marketing strategy is based on the SMART pause, being specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely (Mintzberg, Quinn, & Goshal, 2003). The goal is for the University to enrol a minimum of 100 suitably qualified students for enrolment in the course starting at the beginning of the academic year in October [footnoteRef:1] 2016. This is consistent 75 on my students, and 25 campus-based students. To achieve this, it is expected that the organisation should attract at least 200 applications. The enrolment should be completed four weeks prior to the start of the course. The target for the following three years is a 50% increase in course attendance per annum. [1: This can be adjusted to suit the students needs.]
3. Situational Analysis
South University is a well-established institution of higher education, established in 1899 (South University, 2016). The University has a total of 17 sites for learning across the South USA, making it one of the most accessible universities in the southern region, as well as already having established its position as an online academic provider (South University, 2016). Therefore, the University has a number strength. However, there are also many competitors, which have a greater reputation for online learning, such as the University of Phoenix. Therefore, the universities brand image for online education is relatively weak. With the development of the new doctorate of business administration, will focus on organisational behaviour, the University has an opportunity to differentiate itself and create a sustainable competitive advantage by gaining a first mover advantage (Porter, 2014). In addition, with evidence that MBAs currently have the greatest potential of gaining the best jobs, with many organisations stating that they can to increase the number of MBAs they hire (Kitroeff, 2015), the development of a DBA may build on this trend, providing further courses for MBAs, at the same as benefiting University by attracting more students. However, where any new venture is successful, there is always the threat of emulation by competitors (Mintzberg et al., 2003).
4. Target Market
The target market for the DBA will be individuals that already have a Masters degree, and wish to increase their learning focusing on organisational behaviour. Therefore, the target market may be male or female, and are likely to be working within the business environment. This may include individuals working across the various departmental functions. For any person seeking to pursue a career in leadership, aspects of organisational behaviour are an essential element of the job (Buchanan & Huczynski, 2011). Extrapolating from target market description, it is also likely that the target market will be at least 28 years old, and for the campus-based live or work now one of. For the online course, will be no geographical boundaries, but due to practical constraints, the initial target market will be based in the United States.
5. Marking Strategy
The marketing strategy will be suited to the target market and the environment. This may be considered through the 4 P’s
The product is the DBA, which will offer students the opportunity to study over a period of time[footnoteRef:2] for a doctorate degree in business administration. The product is based not only on the ease of accessibility, with many physical location occasions, as well as the online option, but the differentiation emerging from the content focusing on organisational behaviour [2: the student may wish to be more specific regarding the timescale of the course.]
The target market is likely to be business people, already in work, and willing to invest in their future, or with an employee who is willing to invest in the future. Therefore, the fees will reflect the premium content and the superiority of the doctorate degree over the Masters degree. As the current price for a campus-based Masters degree is $8,395 per quarter, fees for the campus-based doctorate degree will be set at $9,495 per quarter. This is clear posisioning of the price to reflect the premium level of the degree, and set at a price to ensure the University does not suffer a loss running the course based on 25 attendees. The online courses are at a lower price, as they require fewer resources, and will be $700 per quarter, the level currently charged for the DBA program without the specialisation (South University, 2016).
The placement of the course will include the relevant learning locations, which are readily available to the target market located in the southern states, as well as online. The online course provides the greatest potential for attracting a greater diversity of students, including those who cannot attend the location, or who do not have the time to attend daytime or evening classes. This placement effectively expands the potential size of the target market.
The promotion is arguably the most important element of the 4Ps in this scenario. The promotion will be undertaken in an integrated fashion, utilising the existing resources to increase the potential success of the course, as well as leveraging public relations and social media in addition to the traditional approaches.
The existing resources include the entire catalogue of existing final year Masters students studying business, as well as successful past students. The posh students may be targeted with emails, or personalised letters, inviting them to look at the new course. To encourage interest and involvement, usually, be offered a small discount on course fees as a recognition past success.
The University may also utilise social media to announce the launch of the new course, as well as sent out press releases to media, focusing on the press and periodical publications that focus on business, as well as those targeting academia and education. PR announcements can be very useful, as they help to gain attention, and can be highly cost-effective (Armstrong, 2010). Social media may also be cost-effective, but to be fully leveraged, the University need to monitor their social media and interact with any responses (Chaffey & Smith, 2013). Therefore, the announcement of this new course may be integrated with the existing social media strategy, meaning there will only be a marginal cost associated with this strategy. Social media may also be utilised to invite potential applicants along to an open day, to explore the potential of undertaking a DBA. For individuals considering the online course, the equivalent of an open day may be held through online streaming, with different individuals giving presentations and asking questions. To ensure the potential to maximise returns from the virtual open day, University will require those interested in registering for the event, which will give the University their email address, to allow for a subsequent follow-up email. The follow-up email will either thanking the individual for visiting the virtual open day, or express disappointment they could not attend, but continue to give further information regarding the application process, as well as a link to more details about the course.
The more traditional approach towards marketing is the use of traditional mediums. As the target market are likely to be working in business, and have, all already be, in management and leadership positions, quarter and page advertisements, linking to the University webpage giving details of the course, as well as providing a telephone number for enquiries, will be placed in business and trade press, that is distributed within the commercial environment. Different advertisement format, such as advertisements starting “if you wanted to earn your DBA, and improve your career prospects, now is the time!,” and “the new doctorate of business administration, designed especially for leaders.” The responses from each advertisement will be assessed, for both number, as well as quality, with the marketing campaign adjusted to focus on the most effective advertisements.
The marketing of the DBA has a high focus on the potential target market and is designed to be undertaken in a cost-effective manner, leveraging existing resources, while effectively communicating a message. By following this marketing plan, the organisation will have an excellent opportunity and meeting the goal of 100 students starting in October 2016.
Armstrong, J. S. (2010). Persuasive Advertising: Evidence-based Principles. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Buchanan, D., & Huczynski, A. (2011). Organisational Behaviour. Harlow: FT/Prentice Hall.
Chaffey, D., & Smith, P. R. (2013). EMarketing Excellence. Abingdon: Routledge.
Kitroeff, N. 2015. MBAs Are Graduating into the Best Job Market in a Decade. Bloomberg. Available at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-19/mbas-are-graduating-into-the-best-job-market-in-a-decade
Mintzberg, H., Quinn, J., & Goshal, S. (2003). The Strategy Process. Harlow: Prentice Hall.
Porter, M. (2014). Competitive Advantage. New York: Free Press.
Quick MBA. (2016). Marketing. Available at http://www.quickmba.com/marketing/
South University (2016). Available at https://www.southuniversity.edu/
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