Table of Contents
2. Situational Analysis
2.1 Situational environs
2.2 Neutral environs
2.3 Competitor environs
2.4 The company environs
3. The Target Market
4. Problems and Opportunities
5. Marketing Goals and Objectives
6. Marketing Strategy
7. Implementation and Control
List of Tables and Illustrations
Illustration 1: Hobbes Internet Timeline 1990 - 2002
Illustration 2: Website of the International Office
Illustration 3: Website of the SCU
Table 1: All Students by Citizenship and Level of Course, 1992 to 2001 (www.dest.gov.au)
Table 2: Summary of Student Numbers, 2000 and 2001 (continued) (www.dest.gov.au)
The Internet has changed the way the world disseminates information since the introduction of the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1995. It became a global medium for the distribution and exchange of information among the users. Especially for Universities, competing for attention of international students, it is a crucial tool to reflect their programs and services offered in a highly competitive environment of thousands of Universities worldwide. As prospective students tend to inform themselves primarily over the Internet, the quality of the presentation in combination with different techniques and technologies determines the success or failure of getting international students.
This report presents an Internet Marketing Plan for improving the existing website of the International Office, Southern Cross University (SCU), Lismore, New South Wales, Australia. The International Office’s website’s objective is to reflect their services and the programs offered by the SCU in the best way. As the environmental analysis shows, they are acting in a highly competitive environment with 47 Australian institutions for higher education with an increasing demand on the part of international students, representing an increase of 17.5 percent in 2001 with increasing tendency since 1992. A reason for this is that study abroad experience is nowadays a “required” experience for a successful career. The SWOT analysis shows, that the website is not using their whole competencies as the information displayed does not take into consideration the needs of international students. Additional lacking or not updated information confuses and often frustrates the International Offices target market: The potential international student.
Therefore, objectives are to improve the website and to increase enrolments of international students at SCU from 7 per cent up to 10 per cent in 2005. Underlying goals for those objectives are to create a more informative and importantly up to date site, to offer a forum for feedback from students, as well as a system for identifying how often the site is used and to reinforce corporate identity with the SCU homepage. The improved site will service students throughout their experience with the University, developing a long-term relationship with the office staff, students, and prospective Universities.
The Marketing Strategy to achieve the foregoing objectives and goals are activities to recognise the weaknesses and threats of the International Office, and capitalize on them. Therefore it is recommended that the International office “teams up” with the IT sector of SCU and applies appropriate tools that will satisfy the goals of the site. Highly recommended tools are therefore a search function, feed-back forms, discussion groups, what’s new pages, and pull-down menus. An additional strategy that could be employed is to offer a larger variety of images that provides students a better grasp of the Lismore Campus. Another imperative strategy is to have links to the various departments of SCU. This will provide reliable information for students concerning their courses of interest. To assure the implementation of the strategies and control of the website, a Webmaster needs to be named to control the website, and to monitor its success. A Webmaster will be able to monitor the amount of hits and inquiries the site will receive.
All in all, the International Office will be able to determine the websites success by verifying an increased enrolment percentage. The improved site will work to increase this amount to 10 per cent by the year 2005.
Australia has become a popular study abroad destination for many international students. The witness of organizations such as IDP Education Australia Limited (IDP) (www.idp.edu.au), a non-profit organisation owned by Australia's Universities, have realized this fact. IDP is the world leader in the international education and development services industry, with a global network of 35 countries assisting students online in the quest of international study in Australia. Southern Cross University (SCU) is one of 300 partner institutions listed by IDP. IDP will be discussed later in this document when investigating the marketing environment of the International Office at SCU, as they are a large contributing factor in obtaining overseas students.
The International Office at SCU currently employs several different marketing tools to put themselves in contact with prospective international students and to display their services and study programs. One of those is marketing via the Internet by their website, which we will concentrate on in this Marketing Plan. There are many possible designs for websites that include the use of colour, pictures, sound and motion, which are more or less used by the International Office to reach their target market. This one is dispersed all over the world with students in the average age bracket of 18 to 39. Prospective international students are direct information seekers, who use the Internet to obtain a wealth of information regarding universities throughout the world. This fact illustrates that the use of the World Wide Web (WWW) is an excellent marketing tool to circulate information about SCU.
The current website (http://www.scu.edu.au/intoff/) was been created four years ago and has been updated randomly throughout its existence. The most recent updates occurred during a six-month interim. It is made of tables with two bars with a green coloured background with lighter characters (displaying the words Southern Cross University) and a purple confining line enclosing the main body over a white background. The left hand bar is considered as a navigational menu with six language flags on the top (translating the introduction of the SCU), three purple buttons with the “General Information”, “Courses and Fees”, “Application & Admission” and three further links underneath to the International Office homepage, Contact details and the SCU homepage. The main body is, under the header “International Office” with the SCU sign, dedicated to information about the services and programs offered by the International Office with further links to already displayed information in the navigational bar and new links which make it easy to miss information, as the website is longer than two pages. On the bottom of the site is indicated the year 2001 with the copyright form of the SCU. Furthermore, there are displayed the links “Copyright and Disclaimer” and “Feedback”. Underneath is the information that the web page has been updated last time in December 2001. The effort to give a good overall view with a well structured content and easy to navigate links fail, as the websites menu does not show the whole content at the first sight. Many links are in the main body or reachable trough clicking through different links, which are hard to find. Unfortunately there is no search function, which would make it easier to find the required information. One of the most important criteria for an international student is to have detailed and updated information about courses and units of the different departments, which is not provided. Links to the several departments are completely missing. Furthermore the information showed is not updated, especially concerning accommodation prices what is an important selection criteria for internationals. A further problem occurs by downloading the application files, as they are not complete. Also problematic is the use of new browsers, as the code is not updated and the website asks the user to debug (Illustration 2: Website of the International Office).
As a website’s objective is to reflect their services and the programs offered in the best way possible, the purpose of this Internet Marketing Plan is to improve the existing website of the International Office, Southern Cross University (SCU), Lismore, New South Wales, Australia by several strategies.
- Quote paper
- Gisela Schneider (Author)Andi Carey (Author), 2002, Electronic Marketing Plan for the International Office, SCU, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/14896