A marketing model for the Texas Tech University Department of Theatre and Dance graduate program: a professional problem
Thompson, Joe Bill
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More and more colleges and universities annually compete for a decreasing market of students. Current population trends indicate that the traditional undergraduate market made up of eighteen-to twenty-two-year-old students will continue to shrink as the nation moves into the twenty-first century. As the nations' working adults' career needs change, colleges and universities must develop new programs that will satisfy the needs and wants of the new market and they must also promote those new programs. Institutions of higher education are confronted with questions concerning the justification for and the quality of their academic programs. In times of fiscal difficulty, legislators, board of regents, and administrators focus their attention on what they perceive as the less important programs. Many times, the arts are viewed as expendable. If an educational theatre program is to survive and succeed into the twentyfirst century, educational theatre must begin to look at students as individual customers, not faceless enrollment statistics. Each program must determine who the real customer is and learn how to satisfy their wants, needs, and concerns. Developing a marketing model is a positive step in identifying the real customer of educational theatre programs and their wants, needs, and desires. Research can provide a backbone for developing a productive marketing model. The research gathered can enable programs to make valuedriven decisions and to distinguish themselves from the competition. Higher education marketing is about communication. If educational theatre programs are to survive and excel, it will be necessary that an educational theatre program identify its primary and secondary markets and develop a system to communicate with each. In addition, the system must possess the capacity to identify the program's market position in relationship to its competitors. A marketing methodology can assist theatre arts programs in analyzing and evaluating their student recruitment program. A marketing methodology can identify the theatre arts program's market position, potential target market, competition, student's wants and needs, and the graduate students' perceptions of the program. A marketing methodology can provide accurate information for the development of a marketing strategy.