1. Introduction

In the recent era of globalisation, business strategic planning is essential to run the organisational activities efficiently. The main purpose of this assignment is to acknowledge the strategies of the organisation Education First (EF) and develop effective marketing planning after analysing the current market structure of education industry. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the market opportunities and evaluate the strategy of product expansion after identifying the organisational goals and objectives (Wei and Rod, 2015). Through discussing the objectives as well as analysing the market structure, it is possible to develop an efficient marketing planning through which EF can achieve their organisational objectives.

2. Background of the company

Education First (EF) is a global English language learning provider and was founded by Swedish national, Mr Bertil Hult, in 1965 (Hult, 2015). The mission of EF is to break down the barriers of language, culture and geography that divide us. In the past five decades, EF’s educational programs have helped people of all ages and nationalities become citizens of the world. Mr Bertil Hult discovered that learning languages in a classroom was often challenging. During a trip to the UK, Mr Hult discovered that he was able to learn English quicker through exposure in the host country (EF, 2016). In 1965, he set up a language travel company called ‘Europeiska Ferieskolan’ and led groups of students to the UK to learn English during their summer breaks. In 1967, following on from the success with English, EF launched similar language travel programs in France and Germany.

Figure 1: official logo of the organisation
(Source: The EF-Cambridge Open Language Database, 2016)

The government deregulated air travel, this made travelling to the UK more affordable for many people. So began a rapid period of growth for EF, and its language travel initiative. During the early 1980’s, EF launched it’s ‘Educational Tours’ program in America. In 1985, in line with the company’s diversification into language learning, the brand changed its name to EF. In 1994, EF’s name was officially changed to ‘Education First’ and its logo was redesigned. EF now has headquarters located in London, Boston, Dubai, Shanghai and Zurich. The company is sited in 112 countries, and employs over 43,000 people. There are over 500 schools globally through which the brand tries to expand their branches across the globe and achieve their goals and business objectives efficiently within appropriate time period.

3. Business strategies of EF

3.1 Product development strategy

The institution is famous for providing effective English language learning class and in this regard EF tries to implement product differentiation strategy to place the brand uniquely in the market. The language learning centres are (EF Tianjin, 2016):

  • EF Academy
  • EF English First
  • EF English Live
  • EF International Language Centres

The organisation provides English learning platform to the students aged between 3 and 18. More research and development team of EF tries to provide online learning facilities to the students so that it can expand their activities across the globe through online activities. The online educational sites of EF are:

  • EFSET (EFSET, 2016)
  • EF EPI
  • EF English Live

Moreover, under the product development strategy, the institution provides quality learning materials to the students which improve the uniqueness of the brand. The materials are:

  • EF Backpacks
  • EF Stationery Sets
  • EF Notebooks
  • EF Clothing
  • EF Pencil Cases

3.2 Financial strategy

EF is privately owned by the Hult family and it was started the company on a budget of $750. The institution does not needs any outside funding and capital investment and therefore, the organisation tries to utilise own resource pool for further expansion of the brand.

3.3 Marketing and expansion strategy

The organisation is successful in gaining effective market share in the international education industry and in each school the average percentage share of each age group would be:

  • Small Stars 35%
  • High Flyers 45%
  • Trailblazers 15%
  • Frontrunner 5%

The main marketing and growth strategy of EF is to target the young student and the parents for enrolling their children in the institution. Through implementing several promotional strategy, the brand tries to launch their brand in effective market and expand their activities worldwide. The marketing strategies are:

  • Social media:

In the recent era of globalisation, there is increasing number54 of mobile users in China which influences the brand to adopt social media advertisement through QQ, Weibo and Wechat for offering educational advice and arranging educational campaigning (Nianli, 2015).

  • Internet:

EF English Live and EFSET are essential sites through which students can gain authentic information about language learning and the products and services of EF.

  • EF events:

In order to retain the students across the globe, the brand arrange different events through which the students and organisational staffs can interact with each other which is an essential strategy for launching their products and services.

  • Partnership:

The organisation is successful to become an efficient official language provider for Beijing, Sochi and Rio Olympic games.

  • Celebrity endorsement:

In 2014 – 2015, EF used a famous Chinese model’s son called Tian Tian, to help endorse the product and secure awareness of the EF brand. High visual KV’s were deployed around Chinese cities, online video clips and promotions.

2015, Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, who studied English at EF in Russia, was on a space mission to the ISS (International Space Station). Whilst serving in the ISS, the cosmonaut edited a video release about his studies with EF.  In 2016, EF confirmed another celebrity endorsement, famous Chinese actor Hu Ge.

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