The reasons for applying the concept of marketing in any organisation, particularly in service like higher education, are increasing competitiveness in the marketplace, rising customer expectations, widening access to information etc. In order to survive in such an environment, distance education institutions need to evaluate their activities with the external environment, get in touch with the users’ need and integrate this analysis into everyday working of the distance education organisation – in short to adopt the marketing concept. Further, it is not just to increase profit but to achieve high level of customer satisfaction and to enhance the perceived value of the services. The increased customer satisfaction means increased willingness to use and pay for the services offered.
Delivering consumer satisfaction ultimately involves delivering consumer values at a reasonable and/or competitive price. Inherently delivering consumer value implies delivering a quality product in a quality package, with quality service that go along with the product. Such quality orientation should permeate both in the pre and post purchase phases of the consumer buying processes. One may conclude that ‘quality’ in all phases of marketing management practices is the key to successful application of the marketing.
Thus, DEIs must grasp the marketing approach as a way of doing business and a philosophy committed to learner satisfaction through right assessment of needs, right service product, right price, right time, right place and right promotion, with right customer care.
Such approach shall help distance education institutions to understand the requirements of learners in a better way and make it possible to offer customized offerings and for improving the efficiency in delivering distance education programmes.
Therefore, viability and sustainability of such system may be enhanced through application o f marketing approach to serve the learners in an improved way. There are a number of activities which are undertaken in marketing, which include doing research, designing a programme around the marketing mix, preparing a strategic plan, performing a marketing audit etc. These activities are interrelated and fit closely together and serve as a tool for managing the distance education system.
Despite the recent emphasis on distance education marketing, there is still a considerable misunderstanding within much of the distance education providers as to what constitutes effective marketing. To some it is still primarily equated with selling and pursuit of sales rather than customer satisfaction. To others, for example, it is viewed as production of brochures, advertising and low-level marketing communications. Even amongst those distance education institutions which claim to have developed more sophisticated marketing approaches, only a few have capitalised the potential of marketing to some extent. Many organisations are still reluctant to make the change necessary to focus on the marketplace, even when the need for more active marketing is generally agreed.
For citing this article, use:
- Malliga, A. L. (2008). A suggestive framework for marketing distance education.