Marketing Plan for California
Marketing Plan: California State University, Northridge
The nature of higher education is that it is both a service — a service to the community and to the student body — and a business. or, at least, a university must keep its marketing mind upon commercial as well as altruistic and academic concerns to function in today’s competitive economy. Students have many other potential options, besides choosing to attend a particular university, and a university must make a persuasive case that it suits its target customer’s needs.
Reflecting this dual nature of every educational institution, this paper will specifically address the marketing needs of California State Northbridge through the rubric of the 4Ps, or the marketing ‘mix’ that makes a product, service, or institution like a university unique. These 4Ps include product, place (of distribution), promotion, and price (cost). In addition to these traditional concerns of marketing, as a not-for-profit organization, CSUN’s marketing must also take into consideration the way it will market its ‘people’ such as the faculty, staff, and alumni, and the processes it deploys to address institutional and customer needs.
Brand name, quality, style, and packaging are all part of creating the image of a unique product. According to its website, California State Northridge is characterized primarily by its “commitment to the educational and professional goals of students, and its extensive service to the community” (About CSN,” Official Website, 2007). It is a diverse university, in an urban location, and stresses specifically its inclusiveness of individuals from different backgrounds and its ability to prepare students for the future. This can be seen in the major offerings of Cal State Northridge’s academic programs. For example, along with relatively standard majors such as English and Sociology that might be found at any California state school or other type of university, the university also boasts an extensive array of educational course and major offerings, such as Deaf Studies, Educational Psychology and Counseling, and Linguistics and TESL (“Academics,” Official Website, 2007). This suggests that the school offers a distinctive product to prospective and current teachers wishing to do a bit of their own ‘market segmentation.’ Teachers develop a specialty or improve their credentials to make them more desirable and hirable instructors in the educational field by concentrating in an unusual area of expertise.
Another expanding professional field is that of health administration and health care, and the school offers highly specific concentrations in Radiology, Human Sexuality, and Healthcare Administration. These majors are designed to prepare students with an eye upon students’ professional futures. These majors also address the needs of adults wishing to begin or continue their education and maximize their earning potential along with furthering their educational enrichment. It presents the image of a school that offers an ideal place for students who see college as a clear stepping-stone into the future. There is also a college of extended learning, which specifically addresses the university’s mission to serve the community.
In addition to such practical majors, the CSUN offers regional studies, such as Pan African, Asian-American, and Chicano/a Studies (as opposed to Central American studies) that are cutting-edge and answer the demands of students who wish to explore evolving notions of racial, ethnic, and American identity in today’s society. A Latina, for example, could prepare for a career as a Radiologist. Then, she could take classes, not simply in her grandparent’s nation of origin (which she might be able to do at many schools) but study her own Chicana identity and heritage on an undergraduate level, and perhaps jointly major in health sciences and regional studies. For international students, there is the opportunity to study uniquely ‘American’ subjects, like the construction of ‘Asian-American’ as an identity.
Further catering to the needs of adults, or recent immigrants with family and job demands, is the offering of web-based courses at the university, another part of its marketing mix. It is present in a highly convenient location, and it is also a presence on the web, as it offers distance learning classes. For busy adults, or people with crammed schedules and extensive outside commitments, web-based learning is an ideal compromise. Furthermore, for students in the health or technology fields:”Through an agreement with the Calstate system, Safari Books allows access to the FULL CONTENT of over 1500 books to any student, faculty and staff member in the CSU system. These books can be accessed through any computer on any CSU campus, including labs and library systems. Most of the books are technical in nature; some titles may be relevant to HHD classes where technology is emphasized (“Textbooks Online?” Official Website, 2007).
The school’s location in Los Angeles, near the heart of the film industry, is another added bonus for its film and cinema majors. Students with this area of interest can study film on an academic as well as on a hands-on level. Furthermore, like most of the programs at the school, the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication offers flexible four and five-year programs, as does the College of Health and Human Development, and may other programs where students might need and want to work, or do an internship in conjunction with their studies.
Promotion key aspect to the university’s promotional techniques on its website is its user-friendly nature. For example, there is even a location on the website where prospective students can map out their course requirements and plan) “News and Information: Graduation Plan,” Official Website, 2007). The stress is upon the school’s desire and ability to serve ‘you’ the consumer, and to tailor your journey through the school in a way that suits your own academic needs. However, along with such technologically savvy outreach designs, all of the schools under the university’s control offer drop-in hours and community days, so prospective students can become familiar with the institution’s offerings on a one-on-one basis. The school also promotes itself visually as a diverse place as well as in terms of its course offerings, as the first sight to greet the viewer upon accessing the website is an image of several diverse students, smiling at the camera.
Price full year of undergraduate education, without housing is $11,332, with housing it is $17,374 (“Costs of Attendance,” 2007, Official Website). As a state school the fees are set by the California State Legislature, although the cost of living in an expensive urban area must also be factored into a student’s budget for this specific school, even though costs of living are beyond the school’s control the school does offer information on how to obtain financial assistance, such as the fact that the state offers loan forgiveness for teachers who teach in California schools (Financial Aid & Scholarship Department, Official Website, 2007). It also offers information on financial literacy in regards to living as a student, and applying for federal aid. One weakness about the site is that it is more difficult to find information about international student’s fees and ability to obtain aid.
People are part of the product, as students come to study with specific faculty members, and having friendly one-on-one contact with the staff is essential. The promotion of various faculty members varies from school to school within the university, and one potential area for expansion might be links to faculty web pages and research. There could also be more information on alumni networks, connections, and job placement.
The university, despite the fact that it offers such diverse programs, suits the needs of many communities, and offers an expansive view of education, still has a holistic approach. This is not simply reflected in the interdisciplinary programs common to many institutions of learning, but the fact that the school as a whole views itself as a mix of interconnected processes, offering a learning-centered approach: “We have shifted from identification with process to identification with results. We are no longer content with merely providing quality instruction. We will judge ourselves henceforth on the quality of student learning we produce” (O’Banion, 2007). Professional development and personal enrichment thus now go hand-in-hand, in terms of the way the university views its process of operation.
Descriptive synopsis of the marketing situation
The university presents itself as an ideal university for an individual seeking a flexible university plan in a diverse community of students. The educational opportunities are vast and wide-ranging, spanning from everything from preparation for future teachers in deaf education, to a comprehensive background in the film industry, or grounding Pan African regional studies. Its one weakness to its user-friendly promotional and informative website is that international students might find inadequate information about fees, aid, and also living on campus.
About Cal State Northridge.” Official Website. 2007. 10 Nov 2007. http://www.csun.edu/aboutCSUN/
Academic Programs.” Official Website. 2007. 10 Nov 2007. http://www.csun.edu/academic/index.html
Costs of Attendance.” Official Website. 2007. 10 Nov 2007. http://www.csun.edu/finaid/cost.html
Financial Aid & Scholarship Department.” Official Website. 2007. 10 Nov 2007. http://www.csun.edu/finaid/
News and Information: Graduation Plan.” Official Website. 2007. 10 Nov 2007 http://www.csun.edu/~srceop/newsA.htm
O’Banion, Terry Developing a Learning Centered College.” Official Website. 2007. 10 Nov 2007 http://hhd.csun.edu/chhd/learningcentered.htm
Textbooks Online?” Official Website. 2007. 10 Nov 2007 http://hhd.csun.edu/chhd/safaribooks.htm
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