Slip-shod image wastes profit chance

February 9, 1996

Universities and colleges are squandering the chance to reap sizeable profits from their income generating services. The reason is poor marketing, according to a study published by Higher Education Information Services Trust.

In the report, Income Generation in the University and College Sector, authors Steve Goodwin and David Vosper of the management centre at City College Norwich found that the demand for higher education services is high. Over 70 per cent of employers expect to increase training needs. Of these, 46 per cent expect to make greater use of higher education institutions.

Yet many employers are unfamiliar with the range of services offered by universities and colleges. More than 50 of the 200 employers who answered the survey could not recall any contact with an institution in the last year. Only 74 could boast one contact. In the retail sector, 100 firms had never considered using an educational institution.

Those that do choose universities and colleges are often disappointed by the quality of the service. Nearly half of the respondents rated institutions' overall performance as poor or slightly below that of private providers. Barely a fifth thought that education institutions were better overall or in some respects than rival commercial providers.

The report says that the problem of selling income generating services in an increasingly competitive market is compounded by the slipshod campus image. It found evidence that "the image of institutions (FE in particular) is downbeat and dowdy and that many institutions tend to ignore even the most elementary rules of marketing".

Income Generation in the University and College Sector: a study into the effectiveness of the marketing and delivery of income generating services in British universities and colleges. By Steve Godwin and David Vosper. Heist. Price Pounds 30.

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