Marketing Communication Strategy For New Student Registration

 

Andreas Eko Soponyono1, Anggoro Santoso2, Muhammad Nur Ichsan3

Universitas Siber Asia, Jakarta Selatan, Indonesia

2024.Andreasekosoponyono@Student.Unsia.Ac.Id

 

Abstrak

SMA ABC Bandung is a Collaborative Education Unit school with the largest number of competitors and is ranked second in West Java, has experienced an increase in the number of new student admissions, and has an international curriculum. The purpose of this research is to find out an overview of the marketing communication strategies used in recruiting new students. The research method used is a qualitative method with a descriptive approach, where the research informants are marketing communications staff, new students and parents. The impact of the marketing communication strategy used by SMA ABC Bandung on new student admissions can be analyzed based on several aspects. Through advertising on various platforms such as billboards, banners, radio, and social media channels such as Instagram and Facebook, the school is likely to increase awareness among the target audience about its offerings and educational programs. Sales promotions such as discounts on School Operational Assistance (SPP), Development Funds (DPP), referral programs, and scholarships are likely to encourage enrollment, attracting students who may have considered other options due to financial constraints. Based on the research discussion, it can be concluded that the marketing communications strategy carried out by SMA ABC Bandung during the researcher's research period in recruiting new students through a marketing communications mix included advertising, sales promotions, public relations, direct marketing and personal sales. Advertising is carried out through billboards, banners, billboards, radio, Instagram partner media, Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Google ads. Sales promotions provided include tuition discounts, DPP, referral programs, and 100% scholarship channels. Public relations activities carried out include Road to Give Bandung 2023. Direct marketing is carried out via email, WhatsApp and telephone. Personal Selling is carried out during Open House events, exhibitions at PVJ and Ciwalk, as well as online consultations

 

Keywords: Marketing, Communication, Strategy, Enrollment

 

Introduction

ABC Senior High School Bandung is a school with a Collaborative Education Unit (SPK). SPK itself is an educational unit established as of December 1, 2014, to replace the label of international schools in Indonesia. ABC Senior High School Bandung first appeared in the city of Bandung precisely in July 2023 (Rizania et al., 2023). This school is a branch of a school existing in Bekasi that has been operating for 18 years in 2024.

According to data from the official website of the West Java Provincial Education Office, as of December 6, 2023, there are 146 high schools in Bandung, comprising 27 public schools and 119 private schools. This data also indicates that Bandung is the second city with the most high schools in West Java after Bogor Regency. This demonstrates that ABC Senior High School Bandung faces considerable competition in attracting new students (Alfathan & Butt, 2023).

The increasing number of schools in Bandung poses its own challenges for ABC Senior High School Bandung in this era of intense educational competition. In each academic year, the enrollment of new students becomes the main focus for every school. The success of ABC Senior High School Bandung in attracting the attention of prospective students heavily relies on the marketing communication strategy implemented by the school. Various factors such as school reputation, distinguished curriculum, facilities, and school values play a crucial role in determining the choice of school for parents and prospective students (Espeland et al., 2016).

As a branch of a school in Bekasi that has been operating for 18 years, ABC Senior High School Bandung can leverage its success and experience in building a positive image. Despite having the advantage of an established network and reputation, its presence in Bandung, which has the second-highest number of high schools in West Java, demands ABC Senior High School Bandung to develop creative and effective marketing strategies to highlight its strengths.

In addition to facing numerous competitors, ABC Senior High School Bandung also encounters other challenges in recruiting new students, such as the increasingly fierce competition among private schools. This is due to the rising awareness among the public regarding the importance of high-quality education (Clark et al., 2017). Moreover, an increasing number of private schools offer various attractive programs and facilities to attract prospective students.

ABC Senior High School Bandung needs to implement marketing communication strategies in recruiting new students to address these challenges. Marketing communication strategies can help the school convey its messages to prospective students and their parents accurately and attractively (Heath et al., 2015). One of the main issues is the lack of knowledge and understanding among the public about the existence of ABC Senior High School Bandung. In the context of Bandung, which is densely populated with quality school choices, it becomes critical to identify and design effective marketing communication strategies to increase awareness of the school. Besides providing information, ABC Senior High School Bandung has a strong reputation, enabling it to compete with other leading educational institutions.

Based on data from the Public Relations division of ABC Senior High School Bandung, in the academic year 2023/2024, there were 31 active high school students who entrusted their education to this school. This is a commendable achievement as it reached 124% of the initial target set in the early planning, which aimed to fill one classroom with 25 students. The achievement of this initial target undoubtedly results from the marketing communication strategies implemented by ABC Senior High School Bandung. This aligns with (Farahdiba, 2020)  assertion that the extent of product or service sales can indicate the success of marketing communication strategies. The increase in the products or services produced in the context of this school's practice is the number of active student enrollments.

This research aims to describe the marketing communication strategies implemented by ABC Senior High School Bandung in recruiting new students. This research is expected to provide an overview of marketing communication strategies in recruiting new students at private schools in Bandung. Based on the background provided above, the author chooses the title of this research as "Marketing Communication Strategy for New Student Enrollment at ABC Senior High School Bandung."

Communication is the process by which an individual (communicator) conveys thoughts or feelings to another person (communicatee). Feelings can include beliefs, certainty, doubt, concerns, anger, courage, and enthusiasm, among others, while thoughts can consist of ideas, information, opinions, and other mental phenomena. Additionally, states that communication is the act or process of disseminating information, which includes the provision or reception of meaning, the exchange of information, concepts, images, or emotions, as well as the processes of reception, perception, response, and efforts to influence. According to (Jones et al., 2016)  sharing experiences is also part of communication. Based on the exposition on communication, which shows that the definition of communication is broad and context-dependent, it can be concluded that communication is the process of conveying thoughts, feelings, and experiences between the communicator and the communicatee, where the communicator can provide feedback or criticism as a result of the communication process.

Marketing aimed at encouraging market share to accept, purchase, and remain loyal to a company's product through information dissemination and persuasion is known as marketing communication . In addition to this definition, (Krizanova et al., 2019)  states that marketing communication is communication conducted by (Cortez & Johnston, 2020) that aids in marketing decision-making and directs exchanges toward greater satisfaction by ensuring that all parties do well. Based on the information above, it can be concluded that marketing communication involves introducing or conveying information, persuading or encouraging producers to use, wear, or buy products or services, and receiving and responding to criticism.

According to (Alexandrescu & Milandru, 2018) the three main objectives of marketing communication are as follows: (1) Disseminating information about a product (informative communication), including information about price, distribution, and others; (2) Influencing consumers to purchase a product or enticing competitors' consumers to switch to another brand (persuasive communication); and (3) Reminding consumers to purchase again. Based on this exposition, it is essential to understand the concept of marketing communication that one of the focuses is on the information conveyed to consumers, which plays a significant role in providing persuasive messages that can influence consumers to purchase or remind them to repurchase products or services.

Marketing communication strategies serve as a means to achieve goals by providing information, influencing, and promoting marketing activities to achieve company success. The marketing communication strategies used by a company are crucially tailored to the marketing communication goals to be achieved. Additionally, several factors influence the selection of marketing communication strategies used, such as the market segment to be reached, the type of product or service offered, and other factors. This is important because the selection of the right marketing communication strategy will facilitate achieving the desired marketing communication goals.

Marketing communication strategies refer to plans or actions designed to achieve specific marketing communication goals. Marketing communication strategies undoubtedly involve selecting specific steps or methods to achieve the desired marketing communication goals. The primary objective of implementing a marketing communication strategy is to create awareness, build a positive image, and enhance consumer understanding of a product or service.

The marketing communication mix is a combination of the five main promotional tools of a company, namely advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing, to achieve marketing goals. The marketing communication mix is closely related to the marketing mix, known as the 4Ps, which include Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. The marketing mix aims to optimize the combination of these 4P elements to meet market needs and achieve business objectives, while the marketing communication mix aims to create brand awareness, influence consumer perceptions, and encourage purchase behavior.

The enrollment of new students in high school refers to the process of selecting and acquiring students who wish to enroll in upper secondary education programs. This process involves several stages, from registration to determining whether the student meets the requirements for admission to a specific high school. Admission criteria can vary, including academic aspects, achievements, extracurricular skills, and other factors considered relevant by the school. The process of admitting new students to high school aims to form diverse student groups and ensure that accepted students can achieve academic success and personal development. These criteria may vary between schools, depending on school policies, national education standards, and local conditions.

The researcher in this study utilized five relevant previous studies as well as being reviewed by the researcher based on similarities, namely the use of qualitative methods and similarities in marketing communication strategies. The review of previous studies was conducted by looking at similarities and differences with the research conducted by the researcher.

To enhance the research, we will add an explicit focus on the research objectives, analyze the relevance of previous research findings to the context of SMA ABC Bandung, and add data or statistical support to support the statements made.

Research Objectives: The main objective of this study is to describe the marketing communication strategies implemented by SMA ABC Bandung in recruiting new students. Specific research objectives include: Identifying the marketing communication strategies used by SMA ABC Bandung. Analyzing the effectiveness of these strategies in attracting new students. Evaluating the challenges faced by SMA ABC Bandung in student recruitment. Providing recommendations to improve SMA ABC Bandung's marketing communication strategies.

Analysis of Relevance of Previous Research Findings: Previous research findings provide valuable insights into marketing communication strategies adopted by various educational institutions. For example: Muhamad Vriyatna's study on Sekolah Integral Luqman Al-Hakim Hidayatullah Surabaya highlights the importance of internal and external promotions in recruiting students. This finding is relevant to SMA ABC Bandung as it helps understand the importance of promotional activities in increasing visibility and attracting prospective students.

The research by Venna Try Anggraeni, Sugandi, and Kheyene Molekandella Boer on SMA Plus Melati in Samarinda City emphasizes the use of social media and direct marketing in student recruitment, which can be applied in the context of SMA ABC Bandung, considering the influence of digital platforms in communicating with prospective students.

Katerina Winiharti, Bintang R. Simbolon, and Dameria Sinaga's study on SD Santo Bellarminus Bekasi highlights the challenges despite promotional efforts, providing insights into potential obstacles SMA ABC Bandung may face in recruitment strategies. Euis Nofita Widiyati & Edy Prihantoro's research on SMK Teratai Putih Global 3 Bekasi emphasizes the effectiveness of social media, particularly Instagram, in attracting prospective students, suggesting worthwhile strategies for SMA ABC Bandung to consider in its marketing communication efforts. Rasid Husin's study on STAI As-Sunnah offers insights into the importance of active stakeholder participation in refining marketing strategies, which could be valuable for SMA ABC Bandung in fostering collaboration and feedback mechanisms for continuous improvement.

Data or Statistical Support: Data provided by the Public Relations division of SMA ABC Bandung indicates that in the academic year 2023/2024, there were 31 active high school students enrolled. This information reflects the school's enrollment performance and serves as a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of marketing communication strategies. By integrating these elements, this research will provide a comprehensive analysis of the marketing communication strategies used by SMA ABC Bandung and offer practical recommendations to enhance student recruitment efforts.

 

Methods

This research employs a qualitative research method with a descriptive approach. According qualitative research is intended to understand phenomena such as the experiences of research subjects, such as behaviors, perceptions, motivations, actions, etc., holistically, and through description in the form of words and language, in a specific natural context and utilizing various natural methods. This research adopts a descriptive qualitative approach. This approach is chosen to gain an in-depth understanding of the marketing communication strategies applied in the enrollment of new students at ABC Senior High School Bandung.

The selection of informants is done through purposive sampling, where informants are chosen based on specific criteria relevant to this research. Key informants involve parties directly related to marketing communication strategies, such as Marketing Communication staff, new students, and parents of students. The research was conducted at ABC Senior High School in Bandung. The research took place from November 1, 2023, to February 28, 2024.

 

Results and Dicussions

The marketing communication strategies used by ABC Senior High School Bandung, as described from the marketing communication mix, are outlined as follows:

1.      Advertising Marketing

a)      Advertising through billboards at several locations around Bandung. Billboards are large outdoor marketing media placed on the roadside and surrounding areas. ABC Senior High School Bandung advertises on billboards at various points, such as on main roads in Bandung, intersections near the school, and other selected locations. The goal of billboard advertising is to increase brand awareness among the local community. This is because ABC Senior High School Bandung is a new school that needs to enhance its brand awareness. Based on the offers received, ABC Senior High School Bandung opts for yearly contracts, despite the higher costs compared to monthly contracts, as the difference is quite significant. One characteristic of advertising is its potential high cost for some types of media. Apart from boosting brand awareness, it is expected that through billboard advertising, consumer perceptions can be influenced, and consumers can be encouraged to choose ABC Senior High School Bandung as their educational institution. This is in line with (Shawyun, 2016) who states that conducting school promotion is a crucial key to achieving desired goals and targets, especially through well-planned advertising strategies, which include planning steps and expected achievements.

b)      Advertising through banners and billboards at various locations around Bandung. Advertising banners and billboards are also placed at several points around Bandung. These banners and billboards, sized 1 x 6 meters and 6 x 1 meters, are strategically positioned in secondary streets frequently traversed by the public. The locations are carefully selected based on pedestrian or vehicular traffic potential and the desired target audience. For instance, banners are placed near shopping centers, schools, or busy public areas. Advertising through banners and billboards has a more localized coverage and can reach segments of the population that may not be reached by billboard ads. Therefore, this strategy complements billboard efforts by targeting the market on secondary streets with high consumer potential. Through a combination of billboard, banner, and billboard advertising, it is hoped that ABC Senior High School Bandung can achieve synergistic effects to increase brand awareness, reinforce the school's image, and stimulate community interest in choosing ABC Senior High School Bandung as their educational institution.

c)      Advertising through radio commercials. ABC Senior High School Bandung also advertises on the radio. Several radio stations, such as Ardan Radio, MGT Radio, Urban Radio, and others, are utilized for this purpose. This activity is carried out to reach an audience that frequently listens to information or news on the radio, such as those in vehicles. Similar to billboard advertising, radio can be an effective channel to increase brand awareness of ABC Senior High School Bandung. Radio ads can reach a wider audience and provide information about the school to listeners who may not be reachable through other media. Radio has broader coverage, including areas that may not be reached by billboards or banners. The objective may involve expanding marketing reach so that information about ABC Senior High School Bandung can be heard by more people, including those in areas that may not have a full understanding of the school. Radio ads can also be designed to encourage listeners to take specific actions, such as visiting the school's website, signing up for school tours, or contacting the school for further information.

d)     Advertising through Instagram media partner accounts. The active media partner accounts currently used for advertising are Instagram @infobdgcom, @whatsnewbandung, @ardanradio, @bradio, @mgtradio, and @urban1063fm. Presence on social media platforms like Instagram provides ABC Senior High School Bandung with the opportunity to interact with audiences directly and deliver up-to-date information about school activities, achievements, and various school programs. Collaboration with social media accounts allows the school to utilize visuals, text, and interactive formats to create engaging content. Advertising through media partners also includes ads about school activities, student achievement announcements, and various relevant educational information. Through partnerships with media partners, ABC Senior High School Bandung can increase brand awareness among the public and potentially gain support from the local community.

e)      Advertising through Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, and Google Ads. Advertising through Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, and Google Ads provides the school access to highly popular platforms among various age groups, including teenagers who often use Instagram. Through paid ads on these platforms, ABC Senior High School Bandung can target audiences based on various demographic, interest, and behavioral criteria, ensuring that the school's marketing messages reach the most relevant and potential groups. Advertising through Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, and Google Ads creates opportunities for deeper engagement with digital audiences, expands reach, and builds a larger online community. With a multi-platform approach, ABC Senior High School Bandung can increase brand awareness and school attractiveness in the digital realm, while still focusing on achieving predefined marketing communication goals.

 

2.      The second description of sales promotion carried out by ABC Senior High School Bandung. The marketing communication strategies employed in this marketing communication mix are as follows:

a)      Promotion with discounts on School Fee and Admission Fee. There are several payment elements made by prospective parents of students to enroll their children at ABC Senior High School Bandung, namely (1) Admission Fee or often referred to as DPP (Educational Development Fund) or also known as the Initial Fund paid once for 3 years throughout high school; (2) School Fee or often referred to as SPP (Educational Development Contribution) or also known as Tuition Fee paid monthly; (3) Activity Fee or activity fee for one academic year paid annually in advance; (4) Book Fee or book fee paid annually in advance; (5) Uniform Fee or uniform fee paid annually in advance or when specific uniforms are needed only; and (6) Registration Form or registration fee paid once at the beginning. Considering the urgency and significant amount of these fees, the promotion offered is on the School Fee and Admission Fee. For the academic year 2024/2025, ABC Senior High School Bandung offers an Early Bird Discount program for prospective students who register and complete payment by January 28, 2024. This program offers discounts of up to 40% for the Educational Development Fund (DPP) and 35% for the Tuition Fee. The DPP is a one-time fee for a three-year study period. With the promotional program, the DPP fee is reduced to Rp30,000,000 from the normal price of Rp50,000,000. With the promotional program, the Tuition Fee is reduced to Rp8,385,000 per quarter from the normal price of Rp12,900,000 per quarter.

b)      Promotion with discounts through a referral program. Promotion through a referral program is a marketing communication strategy that encourages consumers (in this case, active students or parents of students enrolled at ABC Senior High School Bandung) to invite new consumers (prospective students or parents of new students) to join ABC Senior High School Bandung. This referral program applies to students and parents who are officially registered or active and can invite prospective students or parents until the registration process is completed. The promotion with this referral program offers benefits in the form of receiving a voucher worth Rp1,000,000 per student. This referral program creates an organic promotional channel through the network of registered students and parents. This organic promotional channel can be used to increase brand awareness, attract new students or parents, and increase new student admissions. By providing incentives in the form of vouchers, ABC Senior High School Bandung appreciates those who contribute to expanding the school community. In addition to providing financial benefits to both referrers and referees, the referral program can also create stronger bonds within the school community. By providing opportunities to share positive experiences about ABC Senior High School Bandung, this program not only serves as a promotional strategy but also builds positive relationships with students and parents.

c)      Promotion with scholarships up to 100% for both academic and non-academic paths. Promotion with scholarships up to 100%, whether through academic or non-academic paths, is one promotion strategy that can attract the attention of prospective students or parents with high potential and achievements. These scholarships can cover various fields, such as academic achievements (e.g., Mathematics, Science, or Social Studies) and non-academic achievements (e.g., Basketball and Solo Singing). By providing opportunities for prospective students to obtain scholarships up to 100%, ABC Senior High School Bandung not only provides access to quality education for high achievers but also creates opportunities for students who may be financially disadvantaged but have excellent achievements.

 

3.      The third description of Public Relations (PR) activities conducted by ABC Senior High School Bandung. The marketing communication strategy employed in this PR communication mix is the PR activity in Road to Give Bandung 2023 in collaboration with Marriott International. Road To Give Bandung 2023 is the largest charity run competition in Bandung, successfully gathering over 1,000 people from various backgrounds to support charitable causes. This event resulted in donations amounting to Rp125,000,000 to be donated. In this activity, ABC Senior High School Bandung was one of the main sponsors of the event. PR at ABC Senior High School Bandung collaborated with the Event Organizer (EO) from Marriott International. This public relations activity can build a positive image of ABC Senior High School Bandung in social activities such as charity events. This can certainly be a positive aspect for the internal community of ABC Senior High School Bandung because this activity also involves all students and teachers in actively participating in charitable activities. This can increase awareness of sharing and strengthen the character of each stakeholder involved. In addition to this charity event, ABC Senior High School Bandung also became one of the sponsors of the Perbasi Bandung Cup 2023 event and the Happy Festival 2023 event with Bandung Zoo at the Sheraton Hotel.

 

4.      The fourth description of direct marketing conducted by ABC Senior High School Bandung. The marketing communication strategy employed in this direct marketing communication mix is as follows:

a)      Direct marketing via email. ABC Senior High School Bandung implements direct marketing strategies via email as part of their marketing communication efforts. In this direct marketing approach, the school uses email as a communication channel to reach their target audience, involving students, parents, teachers, and other relevant parties. In this direct marketing approach, information about various school activities, student achievements, and important announcements is conveyed. Emails are also used to remind about important events such as registrations, exams, and parent-teacher meetings. Moreover, direct marketing via email is also used as a means to communicate various school initiatives, extracurricular programs, and special projects involving student participation. This strategy aims not only to provide information but also to build a strong relationship between the school, students, and parents. Email is used as a formal communication tool to enhance stakeholder engagement by inviting them to participate in school activities and support various programs run by ABC Senior High School Bandung.

b)      Direct marketing via chat on WhatsApp application. ABC Senior High School Bandung uses instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp as a tool for direct marketing. By utilizing this channel, the school can reach its audience quickly and directly, including students, parents, teachers, and school staff. Direct marketing via WhatsApp chat allows ABC Senior High School Bandung to send promotional messages, announcements, and updates more interactively. The WhatsApp chat platform provides an opportunity to answer questions or provide support directly. Students, parents, and other stakeholders can easily communicate with the school, creating an open and efficient communication channel. The importance of direct marketing via WhatsApp lies in the speed of information delivery and the ability to interact directly with the audience. The use of WhatsApp is perceived as quite effective because it can provide quick feedback and can monitor progress maximally. The use of WhatsApp at ABC Senior High School Bandung is also supported by WhatsApp marketing tools.

c)      Direct marketing via phone calls. ABC Senior High School Bandung implements direct marketing communication strategies via phone calls as part of the marketing communication mix. By using phone calls, the school can engage in direct communication with its audience, such as students, parents, teachers, and school staff. Direct marketing via phone calls provides benefits in terms of personalization and deeper interaction. Phone calls can provide more detailed information, explain the details of school programs, and provide direct responses to questions or concerns that prospective students or parents may have.

 

5.      The fifth description of personal selling conducted by ABC Senior High School Bandung. The marketing communication strategy employed in this personal selling communication mix is as follows:

a)      Personal selling through Open House events. Open House is a marketing communication strategy in the form of personal marketing mix. This activity involves ABC Senior High School Bandung directly explaining to prospective students and parents, showcasing student achievements and abilities, student testimonials, and even demonstrating learning activities at the school. The purpose of this activity is to convey school information directly by providing experiences that can influence the decision-making process in choosing a school. Additionally, during this event, consumers can interact and ask questions directly to build trust in the school services offered. ABC Senior High School Bandung holds Open House events three times a year, in August, November, and February. In these events, there are also educational workshops where ABC Senior High School Bandung invites Ms. Ina Liem, CCDC., MMTIC., DIC, who is a World Certified Career Direct Consultant and the founder of Jurusanku.com, with the theme "Journey to The Future." The goal of this occasion is to provide insight to students, parents, prospective students, and prospective parents about the latest majors that will be highly demanded in the future. This is also part of achieving marketing communication in building personal relationships with consumers.

b)      Personal selling through exhibitions at PVJ and Ciwalk. During the period from November 2023 to January 2024, ABC Senior High School Bandung participated in two exhibition events. Firstly, the School Fair exhibition held at Paris Van Java (PVJ) mall from late October to November 5, 2023. Secondly, the Edufair 2024 exhibition held at Cihampelas Walk (Ciwalk) on January 16-20, 2024. Both exhibition events are personal marketing communication strategies where the audience can directly meet with the Public Relations team to inquire about programs and educational consultations at ABC Senior High School Bandung. This is done as a step to reach more prospective consumers, introduce the brand more frequently, and provide services to build communication that can be accessed not only in the school area.

c)      Personal selling through online consultation. The impact of online learning during the Covid-19 pandemic has led to the development of personal marketing systems, one of which is consultation through virtual meetings, such as through gmeet or zoom applications. ABC Senior High School Bandung regularly conducts open consultations for prospective consumers who do not have time to attend school in person or want to ensure school programs through virtual meetings. In online consultation activities, the Public Relations team provides flexible consultation schedules to meet the needs of prospective students and parents. Prospective consumers can ask questions, discuss student educational needs, and obtain further information about school programs. This process allows prospective students and parents to gain a deeper understanding without having to come directly to the school location.

 

One indicator of the effectiveness in achieving marketing communication strategies at ABC Senior High School Bandung is the increase in the number of new student admissions. The following data shows the addition of new student admissions at ABC Senior High School Bandung between the academic years 2023/2024 and 2024/2025 from July 2023 to January 2024.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2 Number of New Student Enrollment

Mont

New Students Enrollment

SY 2023/2024

New Students Enrollment

SY 2024/2025

Selisih

Initial Target

25

50

+25

July

0

6

+6

August

0

7

+7

September

0

18

+18

October

0

21

+21

November

1

25

+24

December

1

26

+25

January

1

31

+30

February

1

N/A

N/A

March

2

N/A

N/A

April

3

N/A

N/A

May

22

N/A

N/A

June

31

N/A

N/A

Number of Students

31

31

 

 

Table 2 above shows the number of new student admissions at ABC Senior High School Bandung from the academic year 2023/2024 to 2024/2025. Based on the table, in the academic year 2023/2024, it can be seen that although new student admissions were opened in July 2022, there were no new student additions until October 2022. This was influenced by various factors, such as ABC Senior High School Bandung being a new school in Bandung, so awareness of the school's presence was still very low and generally unknown to the community. Additionally, it was necessary to build a positive image and instill trust in the school among the public because there were no graduates yet. ABC Senior High School Bandung is a branch of GPS Bekasi, but it is still not widely recognized within the Bandung community, and its quality is not well-known.

The table also shows that the effect or influence of the marketing communication strategy used began to be felt after 4 months, but even then, it did not show a significant increase. The significant increase in new student admissions occurred in May 2023 and June 2023. The initial student admission target was based on the school's facilities' capacity to accommodate students and the number of human resources available at the school. In this first intake, 124% of the initial target set was achieved, and because the maximum class size was 25 students per class, two study groups were opened for the first intake.

In the academic year 2024/2025, it can be seen that in July 2023, 6 students were accepted as new students. This trend continued with incremental additions, although monthly additions were not definite. As of January 26, 2024, 31 students had been admitted. This data shows that 62% of the initial target of 50 students had been fulfilled. Many factors influenced the increase in the number of new student admissions, such as the experience of the learning process building trust in the community, the gradual awareness of the presence of ABC Senior High School Bandung, albeit not significantly, and other marketing communication strategies simultaneously increasing the number of new student admissions. This is in line with (Chang, 2015)  who states that the success or failure of a marketing communication strategy in the school environment is evident from the number of new student admissions. This is also in line with the research by (Afifah & Wiyani, 2022) which states that the goal of marketing communication conducted by schools is to attract new students according to the predetermined quota or target.

The increase in new student admissions is influenced by many factors, and one of the contributing factors is the marketing communication strategy used by ABC Senior High School Bandung. In facing the challenge of building trust and increasing public awareness (brand awareness), ABC Senior High School Bandung needs to continue and enhance the marketing communication strategies that have been implemented. One step that can be taken is to increase school brand awareness through social media, educational exhibitions, and collaboration with relevant parties in the education sector.

The importance of building a positive image and providing clear information about the school's advantages is one of the key factors that can be complemented by effective marketing communication strategies. Testimonials from students who have studied at ABC Senior High School Bandung, academic achievements, and the school's outstanding facilities can be the main attractions in packaging marketing communication strategies.

Based on the marketing communication strategies implemented, the SWOT analysis is as follows. There are three strengths in the marketing communication strategy. First, media diversification (Tropp & Baetzgen, 2022). The use of various communication channels such as billboards, banners, radio, social media, and email provides broad coverage and potential to reach various types of audiences. This refers to the utilization of different media channels to convey messages or information to the target audience. Media diversification strategy involves using a combination of different media to achieve specific marketing or communication goals. Second, participation in social activities to enhance positive image. Involvement in charity events and sponsorship of events like Road to Give Bandung can enhance a positive image and build good relationships with the community. Participation in social activities, such as charity events and event sponsorships like Road to Give Bandung, can provide several benefits in the context of marketing communication strategy objectives, such as; enhancing positive image and reputation because involvement in charity activities and support for social events can help the school build a positive image in the eyes of the public. This creates the perception that the school cares about social issues and is willing to contribute to the common good. Additionally, social activities provide an opportunity to engage directly with the community. This creates a relationship between the school and the local community, builds trust, and creates deeper connections. Third, ease of access, inquiry, and confirmation of any matter in influencing consumers to purchase this school's services. This is clearly seen as one of the impacts of media diversification. Consumers have many opportunities to access the necessary information very easily and can be done anywhere, for example, through online consultations, mall exhibitions, or even through WhatsApp applications.

There are three weaknesses in the marketing communication strategy. First, the cost involved in the marketing communication mix is very expensive. Advertising conveyed in the form of billboards is one marketing communication strategy that requires a considerable amount of money to be placed in several locations. Additionally, digital ads also require significant monthly costs. The use of advertising media such as billboards and radio can be expensive. This can be a barrier especially if marketing funds are limited. By developing a well-thought-out marketing communication plan, such as identifying the right target market and planning promotional programs, you can effectively reach potential students Second, the lack of effectiveness analysis of the marketing communication strategy used. Many marketing communication strategies are used by ABC Senior High School Bandung, but there is no efficiency planning by looking at the effectiveness of the media used. There needs to be an analysis per item of the marketing communication strategy used. Third, the achievement of the target market is still not specific. If seen from the school fees that have been outlined, the target demographic that can afford these school fees is middle to upper class. This is important to note because the sustainability of learning in private schools depends heavily on the tuition fees paid by students, including in the teacher and staff salary system. The effectiveness of using marketing communication strategies will affect the achievement of the expected target market. This is in line with (Yoseph et al., 2020), who states that market segmentation refers to the process of categorizing the entire market into smaller markets based on common characteristics related to consumer behavior.

There are two opportunities in the marketing communication strategy. First, the use of social media to reach a wider community. The presence of social media as one of the marketing communication strategies opens up opportunities for direct interaction with prospective students and parents, as well as building a large online community. Second, referral programs to expand networks. Referral programs can be an effective strategy to expand networks and increase the number of new applicants by providing incentives to students and parents who refer others.

There are two threats in the marketing communication strategy. First, competition from other competing schools. Competition in the education market can be challenging, especially if other schools have effective and strong marketing communication strategies. Second, changes in government policies. Changes in education policies or government regulations can affect cost structures and registration processes.

 

 

 

Conclusion


Based on the discussion presented, it can be concluded that the marketing communication strategy implemented by ABC Senior High School Bandung in attracting new students through the marketing communication mix consists of advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, and personal selling. Advertising efforts span across various platforms including billboards, banners, radio, and social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, and Google. Sales promotions involve discounts on tuition fees, referral programs, and scholarships. Public Relations activities like Road to Give Bandung 2023 are also part of the strategy. Direct marketing is conducted through email, WhatsApp, and telephone, while personal selling occurs at events like Open House, mall exhibitions, and online consultations. Moving forward, recommendations for optimizing the strategy include streamlining advertising funding, assessing the effectiveness of large tuition fee discounts, enhancing charitable activities for PR, integrating WhatsApp for efficient direct marketing, and ensuring adequate manpower for personal selling events without disrupting school operations. Coordination between different teams is crucial for the successful execution of these recommendations.

 

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