Marketing Strategies and Distance Learning

By: jimzorn
Everything in the world today needs to be marketed well; even education, hence marketing strategies and distance learning go hand in hand. In order to create a lasting impact on the minds of the target audience, educational institutions offering distance learning programs need to be a cut above the rest. Education is a service and any service needs to be marketed well to be attractive to the consumer, who in this case is a student.

How Technology has Affected Education

It's a changing world, and technology has become the backbone of any distance education program. Marketing strategies and distance learning are symbiotic, since education is essentially a service and deals with human beings. Hence student enrollment and retention are very critical aspects for a college to consider. The internet is rife with dotcoms looking to make quick profits, which are posing a serious threat to the more serious academic institutions looking at providing quality educational experience to its students. Many universities have not only started offering online versions of their on-campus programs, but are also working on creating a virtual campus for its online students. Today the student is out shopping for courses and institutions; he or she is tech savvy and enrolling in a particular course is just a click away for him or her.

Weapon of Choice - Modes of Marketing

It is a cluttered world out there, and to be noticed, any educational institution will need to break through. A lot of colleges today are adopting different marketing strategies and distance learning has become an especially volatile market. Many colleges are using web based ads and promotions aggressively for marketing their courses; the internet being a relatively cheaper advertising medium, has taken over the other traditional mediums like print and TV. Pop-up ads, email and banners are, however, mainly mass marketing tools and are largely ineffective. What education needs right now is relationship marketing.

Relationship marketing is essentially establishing, developing and maintaining successful long term relationships with students. Education being a service cannot adopt marketing strategies meant for a manufactured product. Marketing educational services is more about building trust and commitment, more about making students loyal alumnus. Marketing strategies and distance learning are correlated because they deal with the creation of a product that cannot be copied by anyone else, and with creating an atmosphere of nurture for students right from the enquiry stage. For the student, any educational institution is attractive if it has the right mix of pricing, academic experience, and credibility. If a college is able to provide services beyond these three parameters, it has earned the loyalties of any student enrolled with it.
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