Online MBA Programs versus On-site Programs Andrew Cortez Ashford Managerial Marketing BUS 620 Sharif Muhammad October 23, 2011 Online MBA Programs versus On-site Programs With unemployment rates at an all time high combined with the increasing costs associated with traditional brick and mortar schools, online education is by far one of the fastest growing and thriving industries. As younger students are attempting to pursue traditional higher education, they are realizing that the costs are not only increasing daily, but the programs are longer in duration and often not a better education than the online line programs.
Those who have lost their jobs and need an edge over other unemployed candidates are finding that a B. A degree alone is often not enough and that in fact an MBA degree could greatly improve their chances as being more appealing to employers who have few jobs to offer to an overwhelming number of applicants. Those who do have jobs are often concerned about the stability of that job and this group is also is also looking towards those higher degree’s as to remain competitive and viable for their current jobs or for future jobs that may offer them more stability.
This group typically has high work demands and as a result, they have to weigh their options when it comes to returning to school to obtain that MBA. The number of college level distance learning classes offered online continues to increase as they offer greater scheduling flexibility to students, they appeal to students who like to work independently, and allow colleges to increase enrollment without building new classrooms (Werhner, 2010, p. 310). Understanding fully what your goals are, as well as what limits you may have will help to determine the right direction for a student.
The following will include a marketing plan that will assist in demonstrating the advantages of perusing an online MBA program as a viable and preferred alternative to an on-site MBA Program. 1. Company Overview: San Diego Higher Education (SDHE) is an online, for Profit Company that focuses on online education with the purpose serving its students as a viable method of obtaining an MBA degree via web-based courses through an accredited university. With the SDHE online MBA program, you can have the skills and experience you need to increase your chances for success by taking on the most complex leadership roles.
SDHE has been assisting San Diego residents in obtaining an MBA degree using the online medium since 2007. The company had initially targeted low income and or unemployed individuals, but it has expanded its offerings with the intent to grow towards all segments. Beyond practical skills, the program is also designed to foster thought leadership, innovation, and corporate social responsibility on a multinational, multicultural scale; SDHE is headquartered in San Diego California. Key Leaders of the company: Tanner C. Dean-CEO • Jeffery S. Anderson-CFO • Scott R. Howard-COO • Andrew Cortez-CMO Key Service Offerings: Online MBA programs with a specialization in Finance, Healthcare Marketing, Project Management, Human Resources, Information Technology, Global Management and Accounting. 2. Executive Summary of Marketing Plan: As the economy has continued to decline and unemployment has continued to increase, the need for affordable and accessible online educational options have increased.
The use of on-line instructional delivery methods by non-traditional adult learners continues to grow as technological and societal changes have enabled and encouraged this growth. The purpose of this marketing plan is to review recent marketing strategies with respect to how adults learn and tie that strategy into a discussion based upon a review of the suitability of, satisfaction with, and preference towards on-line instruction among adults. Some areas for improvement are discovered and recommendations are provided based upon these reviews (McGlone, 2011, p. 1-9).
It is expected that our marketing efforts need realignment as to become more relevant to all types of students. Where as our initial marketing plan was very narrow, the market has since completely opened up and we now are in a position expand our offerings to larger audience. We will propose to re-brand and redirect our SDHE as to appeal to a much broader demographic segment. The ultimate goal is to convince potential students that SDHE is a viable higher education institution that exceeds the offerings of our competitors while maintaining a lower cost for an MBA degree.
Our niche is that we are in fact a smaller institution and can therefore offer a more customized program in which students do not feel as though they are just a source of revenue for our company; they will feel as though they are receiving critical and accessible services that they will not receive from the larger institutions. 1. Description of Target Market: Demographic Segment: Male/Females between the ages of 22-45+ who have an understudy degree, income 35K-80K per year. Psychographic Segment:
Looking towards individuals who come from industries that have been most impacted by economy, such as real estate, banking, construction. , retail, home improvement, pharmaceuticals, marketing, cell phone, and automotive industries (Rampell, 2009). Geographic Segment: Target for this particular marketing plan should include California, Nevada, Florida, Arizona, Idaho and Louisiana as these states have been hit hardest by the recession (Kiser, 2010). Out of these states we need to look at specific demographics of these states as to assure that they are in alignment with our Demographic Segment, if they may be eliminated. . Description of Competitors: University of Phoenix: The University of Phoenix is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association-access to campus-based and online libraries; academic advising; mentoring; tutoring; financial aid office-MBA (concentrations include: Accounting, e-Business, Global Management, Health Care Management, Human Resource Management, Marketing, Technology Management); joint MS in Nursing with MBA in Health Care Management.
Every University of Phoenix faculty must have a Masters or Doctorate degree. No classroom attendance, the curriculum is completely online. Strayer University: Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education-access to campus-based and online libraries; career development assistance; academic advising; tutoring; financial aid advising-MBA (available concentrations: Acquisition, Human Resource Management, Management, Marketing, Supply Chain Management). Baker online:
Baker College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association through Baker College-access to campus-based and online libraries; career counseling and placement assistance; academic advising-MBA (available concentrations: Accounting, Computer Information Systems, Finance, General Business, Health Care Management, Human Resource Management, Industrial Management, International Business, Leadership Studies, Marketing) Columbia Southern University:
Distance Education Training Council (DETC) – Online library with 24-7 librarian services, academic and financial aid advising, and student services-General concentration, optional concentrations (E-Business and Technology, Finance, Health Management, Hospitality and Tourism, Human Resource Management, International Management, Marketing, Project Management, Public Administration, Sport Management). 3. 0 Description of Product or Services: SDHES’S MBA program refines the existing skills that the students already posses.
Through our unique 18 month program students can complete the entire program and earn their MBA. The program will provide a solid understanding in all areas of business, from the fundamentals to specializations in Finance, Healthcare Marketing, Project Management, Human Resources, Information Technology, Global Management and Accounting. The specializations will give students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge by focusing on their specific areas of interest. The entire program is online and students are designed for the busy schedules of its students. . Marketing Budget: This particular budget is for a twelve month re-launch and re-branding of its current offerings as to expand our current customer base. The amount required for this is $960K and the break down of expenses is as follows: • $120K-Website update to include up to date and current functionality. • $600k- Media to include social media campaign (Banner ads/email blasts/news letters) to correspond with Billboard, television and print add. • $120K- Marketing items to include flyers, inserts, sales brochures and misc. ollateral as deemed per region. • $60K- PR to include press releases, public appearances etc. • $60K- Outreach to local business, to include employment agencies. Outreach will be a more grass roots approach to specific communities. 5. Description and Location: Online academics can open itself to a much larger market segment as the virtual classrooms are much larger than a traditional class room. Because the MBA program would be completely online it is available to anyone with the technology of a computer and internet service.
Internet/ web site searches are the key locations where potential students will initially look for our product; this is why so much of the budget will be spent on website design and functionality. Distribution channels such as face book and Google banners will be used. Street teams will be used at trade fairs, conventions and job fairs. We will also offer larger corporations incentives to post information on their internal websites advertising educational resources to their employee’s.
Mall Media will also be used to advertise; larger regional malls can have up to 1 million + in monthly foot traffic, this medium is often more effective than traditional billboards as the customer is walking slowly and more likely to see our advertisement. 6. Pricing: Identifying the pricing the appropriate pricing category for our program should be very easy as we will remain competitive but we will still remain on the lower side. With so many online schools that currently in operation, potential students do have several options available.
Because we are in a tough economic climate, pricing is more crucial than in previous years. Yes, benefits and features are extremely important as well, which is why will not be the lowest but will be towards the bottom from a pricing perspective. We will also offer discounts to certain corporation whom we will be partnering up with and in addition we will be offering a military discount as well. The current pricing range for online MBA programs range anywhere from 60k to 20k and so our pricing will at about 30K for the program, not including course materials, technology fee’s etc.
This competition oriented method of pricing will make us very appealing to our potential students, while still allowing us as a company to remain profitable. 7. Summary and Implementation: In order to maximize new student enrollment we must stay ahead of the competition. We are an online school and so our online presence needs to be the area of most focus, from a marketing perspective. Our website needs to be as intuitive and easy to navigate as possible; it must draw the customers in and connect with them. This being said, an overall marketing campaign that is in line with the new website is essential.
We must remain focused, within this campaign, on the ease and accessibility that our online MBA can provide them with all while being priced very competitively. Our efforts must be geared towards the quality of the education as we will be compared side by side to our direct competitors, our demographics are very computer savvy and so it is important that we remain a viable option through a flawless reputation. We shall also be strategic with the timing of the implementation of this marketing plan by researching unemployment trends to help us to determine timing (probably at the in December and January).
In addition; we want to want to make sure that we are capturing the fresh graduates and so the months of April-June are months to focus on as well. This re-launch is something to be very excited about. We need internal by in from all departments. With flawless execution this marketing plan has the potential to increase our bottom line profits by up to 20% over last year. References Kiser, G. (2010, March 23). The Cities Hit Hardest by the Recession: Brookings Institution [Business]. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www. huffingtonpost. com/2010/03/23/the-cities-hit-hardest-by_n_509744. tml#s75345&title=1_Cape_Coral McGlone, J. R. (2011). Adult Learning Styles and Online Educational Preference [Journal]. Research in Higher Education Journal, 12, 1,9. Rampell, C. (2009, January 26). Layoffs Spread to More Sectors of the Economy [Money Matters]. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www. nytimes. com/2009/01/27/business/economy/27layoffs. html Werhner, M. J. (2010). A Comparison of the Performance of Online versus Traditional On-Campus Earth Science Students on Identical Exams . Journal of Geoscience Education, 58(5), 310-313.
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