Welcome to the the Ivey HBA Retail Marketing Management blog. Retail marketing is an exciting, dynamic, important, and very visible aspect of the overall field of marketing. Throughout the year, students will be posting comments regarding contemporary retailing issues. Although this is intended to be used by Bus 4411 students, industry marketing professionals are also invited to join in if they like.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Education Retailers

Have you ever considered Ivey as a retailer? Have you ever thought of how they sell their education and how students are convinced to ‘buy’ from them?

I would argue that Ivey’s RVP is the experience and selection they have to offer. Ivey encourages a ‘work hard – play hard’ environment where you are rewarded for the time you put in. Ivey also prides itself on the opportunity to earn dual degrees through an affiliated Western faculty, and the choice of electives available for students to broaden their business acumen. So what kind of return do we get from our investment?

Similarly to measuring success of other retailers, business students can use an ROI metric to gauge their return on the education they bought from Ivey. It works like this. If I graduate from Ivey and score an Investment banking position earning 60K salary and a 30K bonus in my first year (i.e. 90K total), after paying approximately 40K for my tuition (that’s not including my first 2 years at Western), my fancy finance job has earned me $2.25 per tuition dollar. Although, realistically working in Investment banking isn’t as lucrative as in previous years, so the average salary earned from an Ivey student in their first year would be closer to 45K. That puts salary earned per tuition dollar at $1.13. Ivey itself could use this metric, by measuring the dollars spent on marketing (i.e. student recruitment) versus the sum total of tuition paid by students and future donations from these students.

What about the retail format Ivey uses? – Ivey operates like a ‘private business school’ where admission is competitive and only a select few have the opportunity to attend. The format of Ivey is catered to the smaller graduating class sizes, among other things as well. The classrooms, the place where you get most of the education you paid for, influence your behaviour as a customer. By arranging the seats in a declining semi-circle, facing the professor, your attention is directed towards the front of the room and each customer (i.e. student) receives full attention from the professor because all are in clear view. In this format, customers are directed to receive the full benefit of each classroom session that contributes to the education you paid for.

Customer relationships at Ivey are the connections that Ivey professors and mentors create with their customers. Ivey’s strong alumni network is testimony to the strong affection customers have for their retailer. The positive experiences consumers have are reflected back in the retailer’s behaviour as students give back to Ivey and allow Ivey to give more to their incoming customers. The relationship between Ivey and its customers is one of commitment, where Ivey is committed to offering students a superior education and enhanced success with the Ivey brand, while their customers are committed to giving back and remaining loyal. Customer loyalty is evident through grad gifts, student involvement, and the willingness for Ivey alumni to partner with Ivey as mentors.

Obviously, the probability of growth for Ivey is great. In response to the one question marketing survey I know I would answer “It is extremely likely that I would recommend Ivey to a friend or colleague”.

Source: "Return on Investment: Public Business Schools Rock" http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/mar2009/bs2009032_982142_page_2.htm

By: Julie Terry

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