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.
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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 started to rise as a result of increased interest in the Scheme prompted by marketing initiatives in 2003-04 and the Home Office announcements of an immigration led regulatory initiative for education providers, including English language providers, and the subsequent implementation of the DfES education providers’ register in January 2005.
3. GROWTH POTENTIAL
3.1 Given the current market, with a significant increase in interest in the Scheme from the private sector but taking account of potential losses in the state sector cancelling out some of the gains in the private sector, a growth to 420 members by June 2007 would represent a good indication of growth .
3.2 It is expected that compulsory accreditation will be a requirement for entry on the new Home Office register of education providers from mid-2007 for the ELT sector. Increased demand for Accreditation UK accreditation and growth in market share is expected as a...