This paper presents an outline of the strategic sales and marketing tool, technically known as “the Priority Institution Scheme” (PIS), to have been applied by CMI Vietnam in its work experience in successfully referring students to its selective education providers worldwide. The strategy is based on the reality of the overseas study market in Vietnam.
By definition, the Priority Institution Scheme (PIS) is aimed:
- To enhance the capacity of CMI Vietnam for much better sales of selective programs offered by a number of selective providers;
- To mitigate the burden overloaded by CMI Vietnam in representing quite a number of providers, resulting in a lack of concentration and full understanding of counselors towards all programs provided by international schools/institutions due to maintaining so many international communications; and
- Therefore by doing these, PIS allows CMI Vietnam to work closely with the selective Provider under an exclusive agreement as specified hereunder and also helps the Provider not having necessarily to deal with so many education agents in the territory of the market.
- Commercially, this PIS enables CMI Vietnam to concentrate on, via its Rep. offices, sub-agents, associated –agents, referral bases, the exclusive, targeted sales of the PIs programs, therefore, produce more results for the PIs and higher commission, bonus for CMI Vietnam and its colleagues. Additionally, the targeted and combined strength of resources with the Priority Institutions ( PIs) also enable CMI Vietnam to operate all promotional, P.R activities, services to students with its expertise and connection in Vietnam, therefore saving largely the fund and human resources for the PIs. This requires only reasonable fund and efforts from the PIs instead of larger commitments, if they work alone on such activities from distance and foreign position, and/ or with numerous agents in the country.
2. An outline of the PIS :
2.1 Commitments by CMI Vietnam:
- To refer the number of students as agreed upon on the priority basis;
- To observe international/local standard of ethics and legal matters in order to safeguard reputation and quality of the provider and to protect rights of students;
- To provide proposals for joint promotional activities, market strategies and positioning;
- To guarantee loyalty under conditions and terms set forth under the PIS agreement; limited representation of Providers in the territory of the PI to prioritize the introduction of students to the programs of the PI, and
- To provide, under separate agreement, extra services for the benefit of the provider in the area of education and training in the Vietnam, e.g: co-operative, twining, credit transfer, sister / exchange relationship , customized training programs, delivery of the Providers’ programs, set up of full foreign owned educational institution in Vietnam, tender of international funding for education in Vietnam…
2.2 Commitments by the Provider:
- With technical and marketing advice of CMI Vietnam, to select the whole or selective programs of the PIs in order to recommend to local students;
- To finance the joint promotional activities proposed by CMI Vietnam in addition to offering a special commission structure on which CMI Vietnam can base to work with its associate agents for the priority purposes of sales and marketing of the programs of the provider; and specially a scholarship system as an initiative for business development;
- To update information on the programs and services by emailing to counselor in charge assigned by CMI Vietnam and mailing all promotional materials, including but not limited to brochures, leaflets, posters, films in VCD or DVD, and other literatures available;
- To train in-house counselors and those from associate agents of CMI Vietnam during the visit of representatives of the provider to Vietnam for such marketing activities as: public seminars, exhibitions, and road shows; meeting with local media and parents arranged by CMI Vietnam; and
- To refer all enquiries from those students approaching the Provider directly from Vietnam to CMI Vietnam.
3. Business Plan:
3.1 To mount regular advertisements on major local media with some special articles about the Provider or exclusive interviews with the media (the interview can be done by email or distance mode or by without the presence of the representative from the Provider);
3.2 To hold public seminars at major hotels, selective schools during the visits of representatives from the Provider to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam or by CMI Vietnam own specialists. To host Provider booth at major exhibition and follow up with visitors;
3.3 To carry out road shows (seminars to be organized in provincial or surrounding areas to Ho Chi Minh City in conjunction with CMI Vietnam’s associate agents); and
3.4 To present products and services of the Provider on the website of CMI Vietnam in the Vietnamese language; link to the Provider web site and assigned counselor to reply to related queries of viewers.
4. Marketing Strategies:
4.1 To further develop the associate-agent network, with an immediate focus on the surrounding areas of Ho Chi Minh City and the southern part of Vietnam. Currently, CMI Vietnam has associates in Hanoi, Hue , Ho Chi Minh City and Vung Tau .
4.2 To closely work with the central and local media representatives with whom CMI Vietnam has privilege to have its professional comments often quoted in their newspaper’s overseas study columns. Apart from the professional comments, CMI Vietnam can arrange an interview between school and media representatives for public relations;
4.3 To organize seminars at selective high schools and to regularly send counselors there for free counseling sessions; and
4.4 To join the associate-agents in carrying out road shows where CMI Vietnam finds potential markets for recruitment.
Take our experience in working with “Cesar Ritz”, a Swiss University of Hospitality and Tourism Management as an example. In late 2003, we successfully brought Cesar Ritz to Vietnam , subsequently , enrolment of 11 students and transfer from other professional schools in Switzerland to the University. Prior to the cooperation Cesar Ritz representative spent large amount of fund and time working in Vietnam unsuccessfully.
Since then, we have maintained student referrals to the University at each of the four annually intakes . The success is a result of the Exclusive Agreement we have been working with each other. On this basis, “Cesar Ritz” is treated as our exclusive Priority Institution in Switzerland to receive students from CMI Vietnam. In return, “Cesar Ritz” offered us a certain amount of fund for promotional and marketing activities. The fund is on top of the commission structure for every year of the student attendance at Cesar Ritz and being used for provisions of advertisements, seminars, road shows, press articles, meeting between school and parents, skillful accurate translation of brochures and other promotional materials from English into Vietnamese to deliver to our network of associate agents in the southern part of Vietnam. In addition to student referrals, we have been discussing with “Cesar Ritz” to launch a Foundation Program to be held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to secure a larger number of students for the programs offered by “Cesar Ritz” in Switzerland after the Foundation Course in Vietnam. We also referred students to Cesar Ritz affiliated colleges in Australia and the US.
In fact , we don’t press for exclusive agreement with all providers , Cesar Ritz is an exception as it only provided training for hospitality and tourism, while we don’t represent any other Swiss providers of other fields of education .
Various providers from Australia and New Zealand joint our PIS by way of supporting our Vietnamese language web site with a yearly fund, inviting us to attend their booths at education fairs in Vietnam and providing fund for our other marketing targets . They became our PIS without exclusive agreement, enjoyed the targeted number of students sent by us, as well maintaining freedom to work with other agents .