Marketing Distance Learning Programs & Courses: A Relationship Marketing Strategy
Relationship marketing has emerged as a dominant paradigm with consequences for marketing and management of a relationship-type marketing strategy. A number of researchers have advocated a move towards relationship marketing in the corporate world but application of relationship marketing strategies towards educational services has received little attention. This paper is an attempt to addresses the gap. The relevance of relationship marketing paradigm to student recruitment and retention in distance learning programs is described. Theory of student retention and the relationship marketing paradigm reinforce similar strategies to promote student retention and are complimentary to each other. A comparison of the roles and responsibilities of the marketing and non-marketing staff in implementing the relationship marketing strategy is discussed. Also included is a brief discussion of Service Center, an online application developed by the academic outreach staff of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the service management strategies by departments of three online graduate degree programs to build long-term relationship with the student and other collaborating partners.