A Communication and Marketing Strategy Plan 2009-2010 has been developed to support the AVU's Vision, Mission, strategic objectives and business plan. Its overall aim is to increase AVU's enrollment, membership, donor support and funding, as well as to sensitize about the change of focus and management at AVU. The strategy plan addresses issues emerging from the AVU's 2005 market survey, which indicated that while a strong but varying portion of the population is aware of eLearning, many people do not have an accurate understanding of what it is and how it works. As a result, many people do not enroll to pursue eLearning options, do not know which opportunities are available or do not know how to access them
This communication and marketing strategy effectively achieves publicity, advocacy marketing with partners and key stakeholders in selected countries and world-wide.
African Universities are faced with a big challenge in providing access to education for the ever increasing student population who are qualified to join universities. The challenge is mainly due to lack of adequate physical facilities, access limitations and affordability. To mitigate this challenge, an increasing number of universities have launched innovative methods of delivering education by embracing Open, Distance and e-Learning programs to run alongside the conventional face to face programs. Invariably, these institutions fail to take a structured approach in planning and introducing the new programs rendering them ineffective operationally.
According to the AVU's 2005 market survey, while a strong but varying portion of the population is aware of eLearning, many people do not have an accurate understanding of what it is and how it works. As a result, many people do not enroll to pursue eLearning options, do not know which opportunities are available or do not know how to access them.
The AVU Multinational Project is in its final implementation stage and requires a communication and marketing strategy that effectively achieves publicity, advocacy and marketing with partners and key stakeholders in selected countries and world-wide.
To increase the AVU's enrollment, membership, donor support and funding, as well as to sensitize about the change of focus and management at AVU. Specific objectives include:
- Enhance public awareness about eLearning education
- Market the AVU's service offerings
- Increase participation in subscription to AVU's services
- Increase AVU brand recognition
- Increase AVU brand value
The general message throughout this strategy is to build up a positive view about AVU as the pre-eminent leader in ODeL-based tertiary Network in Africa. It will be carried out in consultation with all stakeholders with the following specific messages:
- AVU is the first continent-wide eLearning network established in Africa when eLearning was still in its infancy in the West
- AVU is a leading Open Distance and eLearning -based network in Africa
- AVU works across Africa beyond technological and cultural barriers to increase access to education for all
- AVU has reviewed its strategy to increase its impact
- When you think of eLearning in Africa, think AVU
The strategy implementation will be a continuous process through which the following goals will be achieved:
- Clear and accurate public knowledge about
- What the AVU is
- E-learning services offered by AVU
- How AVU works
- The opportunities available at AVU and how they can be accessed
The overall objectives will be achieved through the following specific strategies:
- Internal communication to increase information sharing and build support for AVU activities among staff of the AVU Partner Institutions
- External communication to enhance the positive image of AVU in the eyes of the external audience, hence making it possible to attract support from its donors, governments and publics as well as increase eLearning enrollment by institutions and individuals
- Establishing public participation mechanisms that will provide the stakeholders with a platform to contribute to the achievement of the AVU communication & marketing plan. An advocacy will be undertaken to change people's perception and understanding of the AVU's services.
- A public relations campaign to promote accurate knowledge about AVU's services. This will be a publicity strategy focusing on how AVU wants to be perceived by internal and external audiences. This calls for consistent and persistent dissemination of positive key messages through the media, publications, AVU website, special events and launches.
The implementation plan outlines detailed key objectives of the strategy; segmentation of the target audience; marketing and communications channels and tools to be used to reach each target group; strategies to be used to achieve objectives and specified budget for each strategy. In order to improve the marketing initiatives, a monitoring and evaluation framework has been developed to assess AVU's capacity for or performance, essential to communications practices. This will determine what is working well, what is not, and what might work better if adjustments are made. Expected outputs and time frame and task leaders are also outlined. It is important that key information, lessons learnt and tacit information gained in the process of developing and implementing the Communication & Marketing Strategy are recorded in a systematic way and shared with the relevant stakeholders for future reference. This strategy is in line with the AVU Business Plan 2009-2014.
The key target audience comprises internal and external audiences:
- AVU staff
- Partner Institutions
- Foreign learning institutions
- International organizations
- Development agencies
- Government agencies
- Private companies
- Electronic and print national, regional and international media
- Higher learning institutions and other
- Learners (past, present and future)