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Marketing Plan

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Online Takes the Cake

Abstract Pursuing an online MBA program over an on site-program has numerous advantages. Adult learners can fit advanced education into their already hectic schedules, degrees can be obtained in half the time and class schedules are flexible. For these reasons, online education has been the fastest growing segment of higher education. But because it is so unlike traditional classroom-based instruction, many questions have been raised about the quality of the education offered in the online modality (Carrol & Burke, 2010, p. 65). After an extensive survey of the literature, the U.S Department of Education issued a report concluding that the online or hybrid modalities are more effective then face-to-face instructions (Carrol & Burke, 2010, p. 66). Many students rely on online programs to complete an MBA because of the increasing demands from the workplace and busier schedules. Today’s competitive job market has also increased the need for advanced degrees. These programs are fueled by the increased capabilities of technology that allow students to successfully learn and complete their degrees outside of the traditional classroom environment (Anonymous, 2010). Recognizing the advantages and disadvantages of pursing an MBA degree online, understanding how online degree programs work and finding the right program for you as an individual are important steps that each student needs to evaluate and complete before choosing which program they are going to enroll in. This marketing plan is intended to look at overall online programs.
Executive Summary Pursuing and obtaining an MBA degree is an accomplishment. More and more undergraduates are choosing to go on to pursue a Masters Degree in their field. As a result, an increasing number of business professionals are choosing to earn their MBAs. Trying to balance a career and school can be difficult and therefore, many business professionals are choosing to earn their MBAs through online programs. This marketing plan illustrates the market segments and marketing strategies that need to be employed in order to get customers (students) and how to create revenue based on this information. Creating educational opportunities for fulltime working professionals that have difficulty keeping up with a traditional program will be the focus. One advantage that this program will have over the competitors is that students will have a larger selection of classes and majors to choose from. “The rate of expansion of on-line learning and e-courses is phenomenal; as a result practitioners and institutions must review the extent and quality of their e-course content to determine if their e-learning process is up to the mark” (Khirwadkar, A., 2009, p. 44). Funding for these additional courses will come from the university itself, as the amount of profit that the university stands to gain is substantial. The need for the additional courses of study and therefore, validation of the funding, will come from a market survey to determine which courses and majors should be added to the existing list of on site classes. This will help determine the needs of the future student population.
Company Overview “The concept of e-learning has expanded the vision of teaching and learning from a traditional static learning model to the flexible, more student-centered, dynamic model of learning. Students can not only communicate and exchange their ideas but at the same time get timely feedback for their work.” (Khirwadkar, A., 2009, p. 45). Online MBA programs allow students the opportunity to improve soft and hard skills such as communication. The programs also enable students to learn theories inside the virtual classroom while applying the theories and concepts to real-world business experiences. The number of students in online MBA programs has grown tremendously and research has been completed in an attempt to evaluate its advantages and disadvantages over a traditional classroom MBA. There has been no research that either proves or disproves this theory. Universities are continuously introducing new concepts to their academic programs in order meet the increasing needs of students. In the era of technology, this would include introducing online programs that offer accredited degree programs at rates that the students find affordable.
Target Market In today’s global economy, it is even more important for an organization to determine or “find” its customer base. In order to determine a target market for an online MBA program, it is crucial to determine whether or not the product or service will be sold at a local, regional or even global level. The primary markets for these programs are time constrained working adults from within a local to regional area. These students may not have a schedule that is conducive to traveling to a college or university for a traditional program. Online MBA programs would have the solution for these individuals. Online MBA programs also have the ability to reach the global level. Technology allows anyone from anywhere to access the online programs with little effort. Students from countries outside of the United States may want to obtain their degree from an accredited United States online school. The global student population would be the secondary market.

Description of Competitors There are over a thousand different choices for online degree programs. The competition in the online educational marketplace is high due to the increasing numbers of schools that offer online MBA programs. Today, almost all traditional universities offer online programs in addition to their regular classroom offerings. Each program has its advantages and disadvantages. Some online MBA degree programs tend to be specifically designed for professionals who are organization leaders. Some programs are more geared toward undergraduates that have recently graduated. There are also hybrid programs that require some traditional classroom time that would require students to utilize a local university. All of these different types of programs are competitors.
Description of Product or Service In order to choose the right program students need to consider the cost, reputation, accreditation, length of program, proximity, and transfer of courses already completed (Anonymous, 2010). This online MBA program would reflect the same process as other programs in that the application to would be similar to the application process through a traditional university. Undergraduate transcripts and letters of recommendation are usually required. There are less stringent testing requirements for some accredited online universities. The GMAT is a required test for most traditional programs of study but is generally not required for most online programs; this program would not require such testing. Tuition varies greatly between programs and is usually more than the traditional programs with an additional technology fee attached to the per credit hour fees. The goal of this program would be to make the tuition and fees more closely aligned with traditional universities. Depending on the type of program, students may be required to take exams at centers that offer proxy testing or attend a certain number of face to face classes. The basics of online learning are the same for every online program. Utilizing the university portal and using an online ID issued by the university, the professor and students come together to learn, discuss and correspond on a variety of topics. Online programs are designed so that course work is completed online through email, message board, discussions and exams (Anonymous, 2010). This program would be structured the same. The professor posts a syllabus prior to the first day of class that specifies due dates, topics to be covered, required readings and grading policies. Each student is expected to read the required readings, actively participate in discussions with classmates through the classroom message board and complete all assignments on time. Course grades are determined by discussion scores, participation and assignment scores.
Marketing Budget The first step to the marketing budget should focus on the “customer” survey in order to determine the best line up of curriculum for this program. Based on the results, marketing can then be more geared towards the curriculum that is most desirable. The marketing budget should include cost for advertisement in print media, online media, and social media for a twelve-month period. The majority of the marketing budget will be utilized in print media, which includes items such as inserts and flyers. Larger program brochures would also be included in the print media category. Since the program will be an online program, online advertising, including internet banner ads should be included. A portion of the marketing budget needs to be dedicated to updating and keeping an online website up to date. Finally, a portion of the marketing budget needs to be dedicated to social media marketing. Since social media is a large part of today’s technology, social media advertising should include ads on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. In order to maximize enrollment possibilities in the online MBA program, marketing needs to be geared towards existing students at competing universities as well as students that are new to the online experience. In order to sway competing university students to switch to the program, marketing should include determining factors such as experienced faculty, convenience and cost.
Description of Location A University’s main campus is located in one city. Traditional programs are centered around the area in which the university is located by online programs are not bound by location. Online programs allow students a wider choice of programs without much regard to location. Students can pick from thousands of schools in order to find the right fit. This allows students to find the program that fits into work and lifestyle, regardless of location. Since students would be pursuing the online MBA program it is available anywhere the technology is available.
Pricing Strategy Tuition for online MBA programs widely varies. While for some the cost of tuition is somewhat less than you would pay for attending a traditional university, there are others that are exponentially more. Most of this is based upon whether or not the degree is accelerated. There is one advantage to earning a degree via the Internet vs. attending a university. Out-of-state tuition rates demand premium prices but universities that offer on line programs reach students not only in the United States but also around the globe and could mean significant savings as an out-of-state student. While tuition costs for the more reputable accredited online colleges and universities is comparable to traditional college tuitions, comparing the cost savings of not having to pay higher living expenses, etc and college expense as a whole, some online degree programs will in fact save money.
Some local examples of MBA program costs are: East Carolina University charges $4327 a semester for full time graduate tuition while East Carolina University Online Charges $2400 a semester for full time graduate tuition. Ashford University online charges $1,623 per class with a $1,290 one-time technology fee.
Summary and Implementation Plan Online programs have already grown in popularity over the past few years but in order to maximize enrollment in this MBA program, a University needs to focus on advertising to the tech savvy business professional. Getting the word out that online programs are as recognized as traditional degrees is crucial. Successful graduates of these online programs are also paramount in increasing the popularity of the programs in general. Utilizing social media to accomplish this would reach farther with the younger “internet savvy” market. Online MBA degrees are ideal for professionals who want to take the next step in their career. It helps professionals increase their value within their organization by taking steps to becoming a knowledgeable, forward-thinking leader. Professionals such as these have had increased work demands and busy personal lives; the convenience of an online MBA program gives them the opportunity to participate in higher education where they may not have been able to with a traditional university. In general, online MBA degree programs allow you to have the experience without sacrificing the quality of the education. Professionals choose online programs over traditional programs because of benefits such as the quality, convenience, and flexibility. If enrolling in an accelerated online degree program, courses are usually completed in approximately 14-20 months. This online MBA program has curriculum that focuses on what students are really looking for.
Summary and Implementation Plan Implementation of this marketing plan includes a review of current pricing structure to ensure that the online program has a strong competitive pricing position. The online pricing should be strong enough to support the program and create revenue while enticing students to choose this option over a traditional or another online program. Once pricing has been determined, the development and the implementation of advertising are crucial. Print media should be added to student newspapers, course schedules and program brochures. Online advertising through social media, website development and web advertising should also be instituted. Advertising should directly reflect the strategic plan of the university and develop direct mail and email communications strategies to reach current students, notifying existing students and future students of the online program.

Reference
Bell, N., Connell, J., MacPherson, R., & Rupp, W.. (2010). Important factors in designing a master of business administration program: the results of a survey. Research in Higher Education Journal, 6, 1-14. Retrieved June 27, 2011, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 2179042561).
Carrol, N., & Burke, M.. (2010). Learning Effectiveness Using Different Teaching Modalities. American Journal of Business Education, 3(12), 65-76. Retrieved June 27, 2011, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 2245463201). Anonymous, (2010). Online MBA Program Retrieved June 25, 2011, from http://topics.info.com/Online-MBA-Programs_4087.
Khirwadkar, A.. (2009). Research and Development in E-learning: A Vision. International Forum of Teaching and Studies, 5(1), 44-51,72. Retrieved June 26, 2011, from ProQuest Education Journals. (Document ID: 1793406281).
Yunus K., & Khaled, A., (2008). Strengths, Weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for the On-line MBA programs: A literature review for its future. Retrieved June 27, 2011, from http://www.docstoc.com/docs/2967640/Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-and-Threats-for-the-On-line.

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...Party Time! Marketing Plan Final Draft P.P.E (Party Planners Express) Joseph Waldrup 8-26-13 Table of Contents 1.0 Executive Summary……………..4 | 2.0 Situation Analysis Overview……….…4-6 2.1 Market Summary…………..6-7 2.2 SWOT Analysis………….7-9 2.3 Competition………………9-10 2.4 Product (Service) Offering………..10-11 2.5 Keys to Success………………….11-12 2.6 Critical Issues…………………12 | 3.0 Marketing Strategy Overview ……..12-133.1 Mission……………………14 3.2 Marketing Objectives……………14-16 3.3 Financial Objectives………………16-17 3.4 Target Markets……………………..17-18 3.5 Positioning…………………..18-19 3.6 Pricing Strategies………………..19-20 3.7 Marketing Attack Strategies…………..20-22 3.8 Marketing Research…………………22-24 | 4.0 Controls Overview………..24 4.1 Marketing Organization…………….26-27 4.3 Contingency Planning………………..27-28 | 5.0 Conclusion………………………….28 |  References…………………………….29 | 1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Party Planners Express (PPE) is a party planning company specializing in satisfying customers. PPE will offer exceptional services to children from ages 2-16. The mission of the Party Planner is to provide customers with the highest level of party planning. We exist to attract and maintain customers. When we adhere to this maxim, everything else will fall into place. Our services will exceed the expectations of our customers. The corporate market for event planning is steady and profitable, but in the Houston area there just aren’t many that provide quality services. For some large...

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