Wednesday, June 15, 2005

[MP] Mechanical Educational Institute – Pune, India

Nice Problem - on Marketing Profs
This one was interesting, not because of the problem that was on offer, but because the final outcome was incidentally the basis of my assumptions and opinion.
The Questioner wanted to find out the techniques in which he could market an Engineering Institute, specialized in CAD/CAM, with the target segment as the students as well as the Working Managers, who wanted an insight into the subject.
My take on the subject was to compliment the strengths of both the segments, and leverage one competency over the other, to ensure both of them overlap, and share the learning, which would ensue into the USP for the Institute.
This was what I told him:

Sunil,
Just before I give my perspective, I would sincerely hope that you are positioned somewhere in the western belt (Maharashra, Karnataka), since that is where you would find a handful of prospective candidates!
Having said that, here are some of the tips I think might be pertinent to your case:
(Assumption)Your target segment - Engg Students and Practicing Managers

For Students - this is what you could hit at for Marketing
(1) Quality Faculty - A well known Faculty- Subject Matter Expert and Experienced in the industry could serve you as a piggyback on the brand name
(2) Infrastructure - Infrastructural facilities and Inventories reflect the quality of the institute, and are instrumental in forming a perception instantly,
(3) Technical Expertise - Not only in the academic courses you offer, but also you should hold the competencies pertinent to the student courses prevalent in the market ("Knowledge Level" is your core competency!)
(4) Research Options - You should be able to offer and encourage students who would like to get involved in the field professionally, or pursue further education in the same. You should be able to provide data, as well as guidance and mentorship for the same, and facilitate the entire process in such cases. This would again enhance the brand image of the institute
(5) Knowledge Repository/Resource Pool - The institute should be exhaustive (or atleast make a consistent effort in being so) in its library facilities, including forum for learning and resource pool. This is also a part of the Infrastructure I mentioned above,
(6) Industry Interface - I would cover this later.

Regards to the Practicing Managers, most of the points are same as above, except -
(1) Industry Trends - apprise them with the industry trends, something that apart from building competencies, they can apply it in their work profile as well,
(2) Research Applications - Will come to this later,
(3) Networking - Who wouldnt take this one?
(4) Market Surveys - This is where they would realize where the market is moving, and what is it that they need to work upon - study of prospective clients, etc.

Interestingly, with the kind of target segment that you are looking at, you can compliment one segment with the other. This is alluding to the (6)th point for Students, and (2)nd points for Practicing managers: The practicing managers can share their experience and learnings from the industry (and that is where, I feel, you would be instrumental in facilitating this) and give a heads up on the Market Dynamics and the Business Application of CAM. On the other hand, the field research and the technical applications along with the innovations is what they would look for, and get it by the students of your institute.

Then, I came to know that the institute is planned to be set up in Pune. Advantages and Market offerings:
Being in Pune gives you a distinct advantage of being in the hub of the Industrial Area. You could look at
(a) tapping most of the organizations in the MIDC Area, which would serve as an input to your Managers
(b) Interfacing with students from top engineering colleges in Pune, to start with
(c) To enhance visibility, my personal suggestion would be to visit the colleges as a guest lecturer, which would reinforce your subject knowledge,
(d) Few students would be able to accomodate and Afford the quality sessions that you offer. Only students "genuinely" interested in the Subject would be willing to take up your offering.
To this, I would suggest you could begin with offering scholarships to reputed colleges, offering free sessions to all the students, and continued sessions to "premium" students.This would encourage students to pursue specialized sessions, and get interested in your course.
You could speak to the Heads of Department of these colleges to work out the details.To conclude, you could leverage this etablishment to tap the non-metro areas of Maharashtra, which offer varied student populace and interest in this field!

Interesting Problem. Fetched me 125 points.
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