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Eaton, Sarah Elaine - Marketing of Revenue-Generating ESL Programs at the University of Calgary- a Qualitative Study

Eaton, Sarah Elaine - Marketing of Revenue-Generating ESL Programs at the University of Calgary- a Qualitative Study

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Sarah Elaine Eaton, Ph.D. thesis, University of Calgary, 2009 - Marketing of Revenue-Generating ESL Programs at the University of Calgary- a Qualitative Study

Sarah Elaine Eaton, Ph.D. thesis, University of Calgary, 2009 - Marketing of Revenue-Generating ESL Programs at the University of Calgary- a Qualitative Study

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Published by: Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton on Feb 10, 2013
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09/17/2013

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Both Uma and Ornelle commented on how word-of-mouth had been a successful

way of promoting their programs. Uma said:

We really haven’t openly marketed in the last two or three years. No brochures.

We haven’t gone out and hit the pavement or anything like that. And it’s been

word of mouth. It’s been interesting to see how many family members we’ve had

come through. So someone will come through and then, when they’re done, a year

later they bring their brother or sister or husband or wife, or a cousin. And we’ve

done quite well through family relations and we found that very surprising

because, for us, that’s a different level of satisfaction, when someone is that

pleased with the level of learning and the level of English that they’ve obtained

from us and … that they would want someone that they really care about to come

and also join the program. So that’s been very nice to see.

Ornelle made a point to differentiate between advertising and marketing,

explaining that to him:

Advertising has… direct advertising has very little to do with my conception of

marketing. If I put an ad in a foreign print magazine or put up a bus sign or

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whatever it is, I’m an unknown entity in possibly an unknown country that’s

delivering a message, in a language that I don’t understand. I mean, it’s… there’s

a lot of… there’s so many… so much potential for failure there. As opposed to, if

I have a student, who’s completed this program and had a wonderful time and

their experience here far exceeded their expectations that student will do more for

me in terms of advertising. Many many many fold more, than that billboard, that

newspaper ad, that print ad, that web banner, that whatever. So, the most effective

way of me getting my message out is to have ambassadors for the program.

The idea of having students act as ambassadors for the program is a notion the

researcher has explored elsewhere (Eaton, 2005a). The program managers clearly

indicated in their interviews that word of mouth was a powerful tool for promoting their

programs.

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