MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS PLAN
Acreditation UK operates as a client funded full cost recovery business. In 2004-05 and again in 2005-2006, the Scheme unusally experienced a surplus totalling of £38,633 as a result of a surge in applications to the Scheme in the latter half of the year. This fund has been forward accrued to 2006-07 and the Accreditation Scheme Board has requested that a costed plan be prepared, outlining an option for the use of these funds.
At the June 2006 meeting of the Executive Board, £15k of these surplus funds were earmarked for an inspection allocation software project leaving £23,633 for a marketing and communications project.
In light of the significant changes (outlined in the body of this plan) which have recently and will in the near future take place and which impact on the accredited and non-accredited UK ELT sector, this report sets out a comprehensive and strategic marketing and communications plan for the relaunch of the Accreditation UK offer in 2006-2008 using as budget the £23,633 accrued from 2005-06.
The proposed marketing and communications programme encompasses above, through and below the line media and includes a comprehensive timetable, budget and mechanisms for effectiveness monitoring.
PART 1: Marketing Plan
1. KEY TARGET MARKETS
1.1 The non-accredited UK ELT sector . Our main objective for marketing and communication should be to increase membership of the Scheme, focussing on the private sector and taking advantage of the interest created by the impending Home Office register, set to replace the current DfES register in early 2007. There may be as many as 1000 unaccredited ELT providers; however estimates suggest that only 300 of these are on the current DfES register.This segment of the market appears to be, from past research, predominantly smaller principal owned and managed operations. Specific segments to target include:
• private sector small providers (especially important to draw these into Accreditation as they are more likely to seek ABLS accreditation; although recent talks on merging the schemes may effectively resolve this);
• private sector medium to large providers (before accreditation becomes compulsory);
• International Study Centres (building on recent work to make Scheme more appealing to specialist market);
• FE (colleges that still have eligible activity);
• HE (including current BALEAP members).
1.2 UK ELT providers currently accredited under the Scheme. There are currently 398of an estimated 1400 providers i.e. 28.4%. The market figures are only estimated as there are no firm figures for the number of ELT providers in the UK. The relationship with existing members and their continuing satisfaction with the Scheme is also critical to achieving an increase in market share.
1.3 International students . Raising the profile of the Scheme overseas, through British Council offices and communication with important influencers such as agents and teachers is also important in increasing the perceived value and therefore attractiveness of the Scheme. This is achieved through co-ordination with EL promotions colleagues in English UK and the British Council and out of scope for this plan.
2. MARKET SHARE
2.1 Since April 1998, growth in market share for the Scheme is 2.5%, assuming a static market of 1400. (April 1998: 350 members, February 2005: 386). The net annual growth (as a percentage of the membership) has varied from -0.26% to 3.14%, with the membership fairly static at the 370 mark from 2000-2003 then starting to rise again with an annual net gain of 9 new members.
2.2 After years of steady growth, the Scheme reached a static point between 2000 and 2004 with membership figures remaining at the 370 mark – membership gains were being balanced out by loss of membership through school closures, mergers and withdrawals from membership. In 2004, the numbers once again...