This report is a marketing audit on Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University (HBMeU). The marketing report evaluates the University’s strategy to expand into the Arab world market and offer customized education program, depending with the changing needs of the business world and the challenges facing the world economy.
The marketing audit concludes that meeting this education needs is not a straight forward thing. There is huge potential in the market as the demand for e-learning continues to grow. The university has developed executive programs for managers in the banking, manufacturing as well as the service industry.
With the huge growth in the internet usage in the world, the market is growing and many people can be able to access education. Wherever they are provided, they have a computer and internet connection.
The challenge is to make online education relevant and enjoyable by developing a superior learning management system that offers a comprehensive solution for anyplace/anytime learning. The expansive reach of the internet provides a leverage that allows the University to serve both Dubai market as well the rest of the Arab world.
The HBMeU is the leading online institution in the U.A.E, offering numerous e-learning opportunities to students and business leaders among others. The HBMeU provides a flexible solution for learners in the Arab world, particularly in Dubai by implementing technology enhanced learning through blended mode delivery.
The University provides professional development opportunities for learners without having to put their career on hold.
The Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University marketing mix: The 7Ps
Kotler (2007) defines marketing as “a social and management process in which individuals and groups satisfy their needs and wants through creation, supply and exchange of valuable products with others” (Kotler, Saunders, Armstrong, & Wong, 2007).
Marketing strategies used by the University have been a debatable subject with much emphasis on strategic marketing based on the performance of the university, the accessibility and relevance of its teaching programs.
There is increasing competition in the education sector and Universities must improve their marketing processes so as to achieve better communication and understanding with their interested groups. The HBMeU has specifically concentrated in addressing the students by establishing a comprehensive marketing-mix model. The University has also segmented its market and developed relevant courses for each group.
The major factor that can help the University in winning and retaining clients is enhancing the brand identity and diversification. The University identity is pegged on the brand, products, diversification, and communication towards stakeholders (Saginova & Belyansky, 2008 p.345).
Issues like forms of education programs and courses, delivery procedures, and the way the University communicates its products, have to be addressed in order to carry out successful marketing. The analysis of this report has been restricted to HBMeU courses and programs in: e-School of Business & Quality Management; e-School of Health & Environment Studies; School of e-Education and e-TQM Institute.
The HBMeU have done extensive research in developing the right programs and courses that meet the needs of the learners. Much emphasis has been put on the quality and relevance of the education programs and courses so as to meet both the current and the future needs.
The HBMeU has provided programs that provide value to the learners by giving them what they want and not what the University thinks they want.
It is important to note that the University has developed a Learner Relation management (LRM) system to act as an interface between the learners and the various departments and units. The system provides support services as well allowing the University to get feedback about their products from the clients.
According to Kotler (2003), the worthiness of the product can only be known when the customers are prepared to pay for it. The HBMeU has embarked on offering education programs at a very competitive tuition fees. In order to provide clients with better value for their money, HBMeU provides extra services like Academic advising and Electronic Career Advising and Placement Services (e-CAPS).
The academic advising service is offered to every learner who registers in any of the University’s academic programs with the aim of helping the learners achieve their academic goals. The e-CAPS aim at providing career-related guidance and resources to the prospective, current, and graduate learners by linking them with the alumni and the professional world.
According to Buttle (2004), price is the only element of the marketing mix that generates profit while the rest are costs to the organizations. Customers will always expect more value for their money and higher quality when products are highly charged. New clients are always sensitive to price than the existing ones.
The name and the market position of the organization is important (Ries & Trout, 2001 p.74). The HBMeU has adopted a higher priced added-value approach for their products and have also continued delivering quality education that meets the needs of learners in a more effectively way.
The major emphasis here is on the convenience and accessibility of the product to the clients. The Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University has developed a superior Learning Management System that ensures all learners and potential clients are able to get a solution for anyplace/anytime learning. The programs and courses content are presented to learners in an interactive and user friendly interface.
The University provides blended learning which is a mixture of both online-classrooms and self-paced learning. The workshops and Education fairs organized by the University enable the Institution to display their products to potential learners. The programs and courses are also displayed in the internet through the University homepage.
According to Buttle (2004), promotion is the methods applied by the organization to communicate what it does and what products it can offer clients. The Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University has promoted its services and education program through newsletters, partnerships with banking industries, branding as well as corporate identity through its homepage.
The University has gained attention and appeal from numerous learners of different ages and races across the economy. The University website provides the learners with the various features and benefits of the programs provided by the University. The learners interface in the website is user friendly and clients are able to freely give their views regarding the various education programs offered by the University.
This provides useful feedback that enables the University to continue improving its services. The University is aware that promotion is more than communicating to the customers. It has also trained the internal stakeholders and various staff members of the value and attributes of the various programs and courses.
The benefits of various executive programs and courses are always highlighted on the University website. This allows potential learners to review the benefits so that they can make the right choice.
The Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University has invested heavily in making the existing learners have an exciting experience in the course of their learning. The University is people driven and has developed an effective integrated management system that support the training needs of the employees.
This ensures that employees of the University are customer focused and are competent in delivering satisfying services to customers. The University is aware of the fact that the reputation of their brand remains in the hands of their employees who are in direct contact with current and potential learners.
Therefore, the University has invested in training highly motivated employees who will have the right attitude when handling customers. The staffs not only provide the requested information by the learners, but also offer addition information and guidance that enhance learner’s experience.
The process and the procedure for delivering services are crucial in meeting the customer satisfaction (Kotler, Saunders, and Armstrong, & Wong, 2007 p.88). The client is always interested in the result and not on the processes of delivering the result.
The Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University has been committed in developing and implementing the best approaches for delivering Life Long learning and Education. The processes and procedures are driven by quality measures based on effectiveness and efficiency to ensure that the University remains learner centric.
The University is known for providing support services and excellent customer services to learners and other interested stakeholders. There is an interactive customer interface in their website that allow both the learners and potential students to understand the process and procedures of enrollment into various programs as well as answers to Frequently Asked Question (FAQs).
Education service is something that is intangible and it is something that cannot be experienced before delivery. To reduce this uncertainty the Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University has provided testimonials and case studies in its website as evidence to support its promise of delivering quality education programs to all learners.
The University has been organizing education fair and workshops so that potential learners can be able to interact with people who already have an experience of the programs offered by the University. Potential learners view this as a credible testimony since it is not coming directly from the University.
The Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University Distinct Capabilities
Over the years the HBMeU has been a pioneering institution in e-learning as well as customized executives programs targeting various industries leaders. Through e-TQM Institute, the University is able to offer three distinctive complementary services. The three services offer support for the development and implementation of quality management as well as e-learning in various companies across the Arab world.
- Consultancy: The consultancy services offered is in the area of business excellence, quality management and e-learning. This has been achieved through: building quality systems; developing excellence and quality awards; training employees in e-learning application and implementation in the education, financial, and healthcare sectors in both the government and private organizations.
- Capacity Building: e-TQM Institute has developed special programs for capacity building purposes in e-learning, human resource management and quality management. Most of these programs are customized and some have international certification.
- Knowledge Transfer and Research: e-TQM Institute partners with other institutions to offer complete courses or components of courses through a franchising service.
Buttle, F., 2004. Customer Relationship Management: Concepts and Tools. Oxford: Elsevier.
Kotler, F., Saunders, J., Armstrong, G. A., & Wong, V., 2007. Modern Marketing. Praha: Grada Publishing.
Kotler, P., 2003. Marketing Insights from A to Z. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Ries, A. and Trout, J., 2001. Positioning: The Battle for your Mind. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Saginova, O., & Belyansky, V., 2008. Facilitating Innovations in Higher Education in Transition Economies. International Journal of Educational Management, 22(4), 341-351.