The Role Of Marketing In The Organisation Business Essay
Students and applicants tend to be younger people, and as young people tend to be at the forefront of new technology and expect to be related and communicated to on the same level.
"Everything that people and organisations do in the name of marketing communications should be, first and foremost, audience-centred." (Fill, 2006)
Currently the college uses letters for most its correspondence to students and applicants, and while some of this still needs to continue as formal offers and contracts require signatures, some communications such as dates for interviews and reminders of student services appointments do not require such a traditional formal communication.
Section 1.2: Government drive to increase students into Higher Education
Under the current Labour government there has been a drive to have more people progress on to higher education. This is part of the government's idea that it needs to improve the overall qualifications and training of young people to aid in economic development. These courses could be degree, foundation degree or a higher national diploma, and extra funding is offered for courses that are deemed to be of a vocational nature.
Section 1.3: Students willing to travel further for their education
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Further education students are becoming aware that they can often find a more suitable course for themselves by travelling a little further, as education becomes more costly students demand higher standards and as such will take the time to investigate their options. Previously students would just stay at their local 6th form, but with mergers of so many 6th forms into larger colleges the traditional pathways have been degraded and left open the options for students to shop around and find what courses and services they can get at different education institutions.
Higher education students are also willing to now travel further for their education. For many years students in the UK have chosen to go to university all over the country, but there is not an increase in the number of students coming to the UK from the EU. It does not cost an EU student any more to study in a different country so students are choosing to go abroad for a different educational experience.
This does also mean that UK students have the chance to travel to other countries for their study, so UK institutions need to now compete against a whole new range of competitors.
This is clear example of how traditionally very small local markets are becoming more regional, and now national markets are becoming global.
Section 1.4: Cleveland College of Art & Designs wish to expand and grow its FE and HE numbers
"Good companies grow and change to remain competitive and effective in a global market; bad companies grow to keep up with their competitors" (Thompson, 2003)
As with most organisations Cleveland College of Art & Design has a desire to expand and grow. Unlike a for profit company the reason for CCAD's growth is to create better economies of scale in its favour, allowing the college to provide better facilities to its students and in turn becoming a more attractive educational establishment.
This urge to grow is thankfully also currently helped by the government's goals of increasing numbers of students in Higher Education. So driving force 2 and driving force 4 are related and complimentary issues, allowing for a mutually constructive driving force.
Section 2.0: Analysis of how Cleveland College of Art & Design responds to these drivers, including the impact on marketing plans
The four drivers previously mentioned have impacts on the college in many areas, but in the area of marketing they affect both the products and services offered, and the communication strategies used to promote these products and services.
The 7 P's of the marketing mix are:
Physical Evidence(Smith, 2004)
These The 7 Ps of the Marketing Mix ( Smith 2004) are the cornerstones of decision making in a marketing plan, and below is the analysis of how each driving force effects the college but also more specifically the marketing mix and thus the marketing plans.
Section 2.1: Need to improve communication methods with students and applicants
Cleveland College of Art & Design chose to respond to the problem of effective communication on a suitable level with its customers by purchasing some online text messaging service software. This software is able to have applicants data uploaded into it and then send and receive text messages to their mobile phones. This enables very quick and effective communications with applicants and provided a more cost effective solution for arranging interviews. Previously a letter would be sent to each applicant to arrange an interview, costing 30p a letter, now texts can be sent not only to schedule the original interview, but also to remind the applicant 24 hours before, and only costs 14p in total. There was also a marked increase in the number of students turning up for their first interview as well, which helped to reduce administration costs of arranging repeat interviews and created a more efficient system.
As well as improving communication with potential applicants it also improves communication with current students. Once the system was bought other departments apart from the Marketing & Recruitment team wanted to use it. For example administration use the system to inform students of grades and results, student services use it to remind students of appointments with support staff.
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From a need to improve communication with students and to reduce costs of the traditional communication medium the college has found improved savings and efficiencies across many departments.
Section 2.2: Government drive to increase students into Higher Education
The college meets this driver by actively creating new courses that fit into the government's framework in order to attract maximum funding. Traditionally a standard higher education student is worth £7000 in funding to the higher education institution, but with the governments urge to push foundation degrees any student enrolled onto one is actually worth £8000 in funding.
This has encouraged CCAD to launch all its new higher education courses as foundation degrees, and then give students the potential to go straight into the 3rd year of a BA degree. This has changed the college's higher education offering from a set of 5 BA degrees 4 years ago, to 5 BA's and 9 foundation degrees today. This is a clear example of a driver for change impacting on the product of the marketing mix.
Section 2.3: Students willing to travel further for their education
Although the drive is across both and FE and HE level the effect on the college is the same in both markets. With students willing to travel further it means that traditionally local students are now willing to leave the area to find a better education. This means the college has to try all the harder to promote to its local area about the advantages of CCAD.
However inversely this presents CCAD with a chance to encourage more students from outside their traditional catchment area. To gain these students the college needs to not only promote to them, but also find ways to make their travel and or relocation easier.
As such the college implemented research into possible bus routes to help bring students in from surrounding areas making it easier to attend the areas on specialist art college. The research concluded that there were a total of 4 bus routes that could be implemented, however the college choose to only implement 2, and choose to do so very late in a recruitment cycle resulting in the routes having less impact than was previously hoped.
The college was willing to commit the resources to the promotion and to provide the extra service to students, but it is not of a level that the marketing & recruitment department would like.
Section 2.4: Cleveland College of Art & Designs wish to expand and grow its FE and HE numbers
This internal driving force has found an outlet for its HE increase by being closely connected to the governments drive to increase students into HE. However the college is also trying to expand its FE numbers and it has chosen to do this by implementing new products. The college has recently started new courses aimed at adult learners with no previous qualifications, as well as bringing online the remaining two national diplomas in art and design subjects that they didn't already do.
As part of these increases in student numbers the college has also decided to reallocate its accommodation to turn one of its campuses into a purely HE centre, and to turn a 2nd of its campuses into an adult learners centre. This was to create a sense of community within these two groups and generate a better learning environment.
Section 3.0: Evaluation of how effective Cleveland College of Art & Design is in responding to and managing change
There are several ways that you can monitor and evaluate how effective a change has been, but at the heart of all these models is the basic concept of "change management is the process of planning and implementing change within an organisation" (CIM Core Text, 2007)
The steps for effective change are:
Identify current location
Decide where you want to be
Create a plan to move from where you are, to where you want to be
Along with this simple 3 step plan are some more complicated issues, such as, what barriers are in the way of change compared to the drivers that are pushing for change.
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To put this into context of the previous example of the need to improve communications to students and applicants, the college knew where it was, and had a vague idea of where they wanted to be, but they were far less clear on how to get to the destination. This made the transition of change harder and the college wasn't sure when it had actually reached its destination.
Part of the transitional problems can be best demonstrated using the "force field analysis" model. This model suggest that during any transition there are a set of positive pushes attempting to change, and a set of restraining forces attempting to resist the change. (CIM Core Text, 2007)
Section 3.1: Need to improve communication methods with students and applicants
In the example of improving communication with students and applicants, some of the biggest pushes were that of saving money, as well as making the communication more targeted and effective. The resisting forces were staff unwilling or unsure of the change process, as well as the initial cost of buying in the SMS software. Because of these restraining forces change is slower than hoped; this was demonstrated by the fact that in the first year of operating the SMS system the marketing and recruitment staff insisted on running both the SMS and the original paper system in parallel. Instead of decreasing costs this actually increased costs.
However once staff had seen that the new system worked, and that students appeared to respond to it better than the traditional system they were happy to move over. Subsequently the system has proved very successful and many other departments have chosen to use it as a new method of communicating with students.
Section 3.2: Government drive to increase students into Higher Education & Cleveland College of Art & Designs wish to expand and grow its FE and HE numbers
The college knew where it was, and knew it wanted to grow, but was less sure of exactly how it was going to achieve this, and was also less sure of when it had reached its objective.
The college chose to implement new courses in an attempt to attract more students to a diversified academic portfolio. But at HE level instead just ended up splitting up existing student numbers as more products did not mean more customers, just splitting each products market share. At an FE level they did attract new students, particularly with the national diploma in photography, but met a new challenge, that of the space they were delivering the courses in. The plan focused too much on the product as the solution for increase their size, and forgot to focus on the other P's of the marketing plan, especially the Physical Evidence, where was this product going to be delivered.
Section 3.3: Students willing to travel further for their education
Cleveland College of Art & Design once again knew where it was, and where it wanted to be, but was unsure of the course of action to get itself there. It knew it faced competition with students leaving the area if they felt they could get a better education elsewhere, but also that they had an opportunity to recruit students from outside its traditional geographic area. However the college was unwilling to commit the resources that research said it needed to in order to actually move through with the changes it was being driven to.
Only half the new bus services (products) were implemented to improve the student experience, and there was no additional funds given to promote the services to a potential new market. That combined with the late decisions to actually move ahead with the plan meant that the buses were mostly use to pick up already existing students although this improved those students existing experience it did not actually help in attracting any new customers.
Section 4.0: Recommendations for how Cleveland College of Art & Design can improve its change management process
In all the changes given as previous examples Cleveland College of Art & Design has been very good at knowing where it currently is, and what it is currently doing, but has a lot to improve its plans both for transitioning, and in knowing when its transition is complete. That does not mean that the college should ever stop changing and improving, but it does need to set targets and know when one stage of change is complete in order to then effectively plan their next stage, and their new direction.
One of the major stumbling blocks in the one change that did eventually see a truly positive outcome, changing the communication method with students, was that of the staff not buying in to the idea to begin with. There was a lot of opposition, a restraining force, from staff about changing the systems. A good example of what needed to be done comes from "the planned change model".
The planned change model has 3 stages:
Unfreeze current behaviour
Move attitude / behaviour change
Refreeze new behaviour (CIM Core Text, 2007)
The college needed to find a way to convince staff that the idea was a good one and something that was beneficial to them. The college needed to unfreeze the staff's current behaviour to remove the restraining force.
Eventually this unfreezing and movement did happen but it was due to the staff using the system they became convinced by it. What should have happened is the college should have communicated with its staff the need for change and the advantages of doing so.
The other thing the college is very poor at doing is in leading the change. All the changes that happen at the college are reactionary to a situation that arises. Rather than being something that is seen well in advance by management and a course of action planned to avert a problem, or to predict an opportunity and take advantage of it.
So while the college is very good at knowing its current position, and knowing what it is currently doing it needs to improve how it plans its end destination of its change, how it plans its change progress, how it communicates the change and need to the staff. Most importantly it needs to plan beyond its short term product offering and consider the other parts of the marketing mix and how these play their part in changing the college, rather than just reactionary changing of its product offering.
Section 5.0: Academic References
John Thompson, Strategic Management - Awareness and Change, 4th Edition, Thomson Learning, 2003
Chris Fill, Simply Marketing Communications, 1st Edition, Pearson Education Ltd, 2006
P R Smith, Marketing Communications - An Integrated Approach, 4th Edition, Kogan Page
CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing Core Text, Marketing Management in Practice, 4th Edition, BPP Learning Media, 2007
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