AIEC Australian International Education Centre Budapest Europe
AIEC Budapest news about international education, study, student, travel and SEO marketing news for Australia, Europe and Turkey.


International Education Marketing (mis) Management in a Digital World:

If Australia is to diversify international education markets there needs to be less focus upon short term sales in core markets, but are personnel competent on how to achieve international student diversity effectively?

The difference now is that in the digital and knowledge economy and with all students online, the conventional means of marketing and communications are much less important, if there was ever any linkage?

Feedback from or about industry stakeholders on international education, both international and Australian, reflects Australian quality management and marketing culture, both past and present:

‘We have all these (high) fee paying international students on campus but nobody knows how we got them here on campus…… while our quality system is great ‘on paper’ but is merely that, an administrative process or box ticking.’  University International Manager mid noughties.

‘International students are viewed as an expensive nuisance to be tolerated’ U.K. VC in Times Higher Education Supplement, mid 1990s

Uni chief (VC) quits over travel row. Uni chief (VC) quits in travel row.  The university this week started an audit of travel by all senior management. La Trobe has argued that its strong international standing and high credit rating is evidence of its success…..’  The Age 2005.

‘Great news! We just received international travel approval, will be in touch to let you know when we shall visit‘ State TAFE International Head on email bulletin to all European agents mid noughties.

‘Gaining support from Senior Management for the need of international travel to be part of the marketing strategy.‘ same State TAFE International Head’s Job Description mid noughties.

‘If we used digital channels we would not need to travel’ University Language Centre Director at an education fair mid noughties.

‘Digital is not what we prefer as there are so many enquiries we do not bother to check emails, as we prefer face to face communication (even if students or agents have to wait one year?)’ TAFE Institute International Manager at an education fair mid noughties.

‘Offshore agents are suffering from fly in fly out FIFO Australian institutional representative fatigue (hosting or in country market support is demanded in contracts)’ International Education Consultant, Sydney 2011

‘It’s not a good look when one sees 10, 15, 20+ university, TAFE and state body international managers ‘distributing marketing materials’ at the same offshore event, out numbering prospective candidates, while using same agents (and unable to offer advice on visas, immigration, employment and occupations)’  International Education Consultant 2011

‘We simply don’t understand digital marketing, and especially search engine optimsation SEO, it is too technical (it’s not, albeit without benefit of any attempt at CPD in digital marketing)’ Statutory Marketing Body Senior International Education Manager, and most of the industry, 2013.

‘Afraid we cannot tell you anything about digital, web traffic and student profiles as it is neither on our job description nor do we have access to web analytics‘  University International Manager ‘on the road’ 2014

Nowadays most universities and TAFE international managers (and administrative managers in other sectors) have ‘dumbed down’ job descriptions focused upon physical outbound or offshore activity revolving round ‘distribution of marketing materials’ and ‘agent management’, seemingly bypassing the student experience and their needs, and ignoring digital channels.

Job descriptions should reflect the objectives of student satisfaction and quality with effective digital communications and marketing.  For more information about digital SEO in international education marketing click through.


Following is an overview via the Draft National International Education Strategy and impact of the digital economy and disruption in international education communications and marketing

The most significant change in the past ten years has been the digital revolution which creates digital disruption in administrative management through diverse digital communication and marketing channels available to students, or ‘atomisation’ of channels, while international management have not adapted.  

Australian international education management still equate business plans or strategies with ‘travel plans’ that owe more to promotion of commodity exports of the 1970s, while ignoring effective and well managed digital, all year round to be visible online.

Digital management and leadership in Australia is still lacking while the same leaders are informing strategy in the digital economy?  

Kimmorley Sarah Business Insider: ‘KIM WILLIAMS: Why Australia still isn’t ready for the digital era.  Former News Corp Australia chief executive Kim Williams says Australia “is not managing the change at all well” as digital disruption upends the global economy.

…. Those who ignore that change are destined to fail.  Fragmentation in all things will accelerate and the outcomes will be unpredictable. The only certainty will be the relentlessness in innovation and necessity, and inevitability, for transformational change depending on your position and perspective.

More on digital technology and leadership in Australian business, government and international education in blog ‘Digital Leadership in International Education Marketing Management‘, conclusion:

‘Increasingly, however, with the pressure building to drive to key business goals we expect that emphasis will shift to measuring the effectiveness of the marketing effort against real business outcomes. In an international student recruitment context, that means students reached, enquiries generated, applications received, students enrolled, and, ultimately, retention levels and graduation rates.‘

For more information about international education digital marketing click through.


Is there anything else you would like to raise that will help develop the final National Strategy for International Education?

Other factors not highlighted but impacting the international education sector include mainstream or societal and media perceptions and demonisation of international education or students, ‘population growth’, visa, immigration and related ‘white nativist’ issues in Australia and the Anglo world.

Many senior personnel in statutory marketing bodies and related e.g. Austrade and DFAT who do not follow Australian media (yes it’s true!?), are a little out of touch with current mainstream ‘zeitgeist’ naively asking ‘we want more people to increase Australia’s population don’t we?’, without being aware of the demonisation of international students, and the alarmism surrounding modest population growth, due to temporaries.

Reactive visa and immigration changes which appear to be addressing issues in significant core markets (sometimes just media), have an impact on other (emerging) markets when any restriction is introduced it can decimate smaller markets which add to diversity, i.e. ‘butterfly effect’ when impacts are not thought through.  Unfortunately many changes are driven by public perceptions, politics and media; however these perceptions may not be the actual reality, let alone valid.

This has been facilitated by Australian ‘white nativist’ advocates in politics, academia and environment sector, who have been using negative proxy arguments and tactics from the USA and UK which ultimately demonises non-Europeans, by access and transmission through compliant mainstream media and related channels.

Population Growth and the NOM Net Overseas Migration

This is exemplified by ‘dog whistling’ and the sustainable population movement, known offshore as the ‘population bombers’ who are supported by ‘research’ from ‘Australia’s best demographer’ (according to former Senator Bob Carr, while the same demographer has ‘never seen an immigrant he liked’ after decades of ‘research’).  The techniques used include inflating headline population numbers for alarming effect, aided by credulous mono cultural mainstream journalists, with the result that terms such as ‘international students’ etc. have negative connotations in the eyes of mainstream Australia.

Negative impact or alarmism is achieved by focusing upon the NOM which includes anyone in Australia for 12+/16 months (since 2006 using the UN definition), i.e. students, 2nd year WHV, 457s, New Zealanders and describing them as ‘immigrants’, even though they are temporary ‘churn over’ (according to The Economist in U.K.’s case).  There is most probably an increasingly lower correlation with growth in population through ‘immigration’ or fertility versus prosperity i.e. Australians are living longer, bravo! But they still need a broad and younger working age tax base to support them.

Presently students are subjected to various ‘tests’ by DIBP when making a visa application namely GS Genuine Student, financial (which would be challenging for all middle class Australians) and the GTE Genuine Temporary Entrant.  The latter is both Orwellian and Kafkaesque whereby visa officers are required to make a subjective judgement based upon a personal statement, candidate’s situation in their home country and how they present at interview or on telephone.

Accordingly one would expect most officers to err on the (overly) cautious side in markets deemed to be ‘high migration risk’ as it is still unclear who is actually responsible for negative outcomes (whatever they are)?  Increased NOM?  Conversely many western Europeans, British or North America are often quite transparent about their future objectives e.g. permanent residency, yet most are not subjected to the same rigour as those on the highest visa (migration risk) assessment level.

This issue is being dealt with now in a bi or multi partisan level in the UK where there is agreement by all parties that international students should not be included in the NOM.  Former Business Secretary Vince Cable explained that it produces a ‘torrid and emotional’ debate and most British do not view international students as ‘immigrants’ (‘UK urged to drop NOM targets‘).  This has also been reinforced by new Minister Education Jo Johnson:

Morgan John, THES: ‘Jo Johnson is new universities and science minister.  Jo Johnson has been appointed as the new universities and science minister….. Mr Johnson’s reputation as a pro-European is likely to please vice-chancellors, many of whom are concerned by the Tories’ pledge to hold an in-out referendum on EU membership by 2017.  Universities UK has pointed out that British higher education institutions benefit from around £1.2 billion in European research funding each year.  Mr Johnson also co-authored a 2012 Financial Times article calling for overseas students to be taken out of the government’s net migration targets.’

The issue of negative perceptions surrounding ‘international education’ and ‘international students’ (with all the other supposed +ve correlations through -ve proxies) has been researched recently by Tran and Gomes:

Stereotyping international students is unjust.  A recent ABC Four Corners Episode and associated comments over social media thrust international students into the spotlight……it presented overused stereotypes of international students only interested in gaining permanent residence rather than pursuing an education in a country they highly respect. Our research, however, contradicts conventional notions of international students as simply victims, cheaters and mere permanent residence hunters.

Instead, our separate studies show that, despite the challenges they face, many international students are dynamic individuals who are highly skilled at adapting to living and studying in Australia while at the same time having cosmopolitan aspirations of living and working overseas.’

Australia’s Brand Image

Not only are onshore perceptions damaging Australian international education brand, but offshore in Asia in core markets, there have been few if any positive reports about Study in Australia in media according to the Australian Financial Review:

Overseas education efforts under pressure……. According to a study by media research company Media Tenor, Australia’s universities are falling under the radar in generating publicity overseas.  In countries such as Taiwan and Thailand, a positive TV or print mention of an overseas university can hugely influence the decisions that students and parents make about where to study. Media Tenor analysed 2600 recent media reports about education on TV news shows. “For the entire year in 2012, there was only one report on education in Australia on international TV shows,” the report says. “The low visibility of Australian education is a missed opportunity for the country to create a strong brand and an attractive image.”

Read more in blog ‘Australia’s international image (in Asia)’


Following is a simple SEO search engine optimisation guide 2015 infographic from applicable to international education marketing and recruitment .  The focus is upon ‘buyers’ or ‘students’ to give feedback and generate quality digital marketing content, multi-lingually, that improves your web presence, for your target audience.

Summary of activity for international marketing management and strategy should include:

  • interviewing students for feedback and digital marketing content;
  • blogging the content consistently in relevant languages and English;
  • linking to other internal or external pages that are relevant;
  • making sure these pages are SEO;
  • analyse strategy.

These tasks will ensure you are on the way to increasing search visibility for prospective students online and attracting those who do not know you.
For more information and resources about SEO digital marketing in international education click through.


Introduction to AIEC Australian Draft International Education Strategy Submission May 2015:

If one scans the whole international education ’empirical field’ to inform an Australian international education strategy, inputs and desired outcomes are limited to selected aspirations or objectives, and preferred or conventional channels for ‘activity’, with some glaring omissions and contradictory objectives.  

This submission is an effort to both highlight and stress some of these others elements including more focus upon students onshore or on campus, quality according to students and stakeholders, not managers or commissioners.

1. Please outline your (or your organisation’s) interest in Australian international education:

Managing AIEC the Australian International Education Centre Budapest, Hungary, conducting market development throughout Europe, Turkey and elsewhere using mostly inbound SEO digital techniques (no events), i.e. creating visibility all year with limited resources.

In addition to completing a Master of Education (Victoria University) with research thesis from 2001 titled ‘International Education: The Experience of Students and Stakeholders’ focusing upon students and related stakeholders (Western and Central Eastern Europe, Turkey and Australia), education quality, access to information, effective marketing and diversity, using grounded qualitative research techniques to elicit feedback. There was and still is a dearth of research and data on the experience of students and Australia’s international profile at micro level.

The research found a strong need for Australia to market itself further to increase awareness and diversity, closer liaison with existing students and stakeholders through regular feedback, access to up to date information using internet or web sites, assuring quality according to students, focusing upon providing employment and internships, in addition to more clarity on visas and immigration…. little has changed in over fifteen years?

Little has changed except that ALL students are online and sharing information via word of mouth or social media, more quickly and directly, which in turn impacts the search visibility of any destination and institution.

2. Does the vision statement in the draft strategy represent Australia’s aspirations for international education?

The statement is an admirable attempt to articulate desired outcomes or objectives which are similar to ten or twenty years ago, albeit from a limited empirical field, precluding outside input.

More important are strategy and tactics i.e. how will these sometimes conflicting statements be achieved with existing conventional/preferred methods, short term outlook, focus upon travel approval, digital economy with consequent ‘disruption’, funding, sub-optimal human resources, increasing international competition, and much antipathy in Australia towards international students?

One needs to include history and context of Australian international education to understand the current situation, and directions for the future.  Unfortunately many inside the sector may not be able to see the ‘forest for the trees’ and further, many do not know the history since Australia started promoting ‘full fee’ study to international students, after the successful Colombo Plan.

Student Focus and Market Intelligence:

Several questions need to be asked of ALL enrolled on campus students, as they are the fulcrum for feedback on quality, which in turn relates to marketing:

  • How did you learn about our country, city, institution, course etc. and which communication channels were used to inform your decision during this time researching study abroad options?
  • How has your study, social and employment experience been?
  • Would you recommend your school, course or destination to other students?
  • How would you suggest reaching these students?

This is supported by ICEF European based organiser of international education events, in addition to market intelligence on students and digital marketing:

Enhancing the student experience with essential student services.  This article touches upon some of the more common concerns affecting international students, no matter where they are studying, and offers some tips and ideas on how your education institution can respond and support them. Robust student services can mean an enhanced student experience, which in turn can result in greater interest in your school or university.

For more information about international education marketing services click through.


The Australian international education community is encouraged to provide feedback and examples of specific institutional, state and territory, and community-based initiatives that further the proposed goals.  Draft National Strategy for International Education submission from AIEC Australian International Education Centre click through.


If one scans the whole international education ’empirical field’ to inform an Australian international education strategy, inputs and desired outcomes are limited to selected aspirations or objectives, and preferred or conventional channels for ‘activity’, with some glaring omissions and contradictory objectives.

This submission is an effort to both highlight and stress some of these others elements including more focus upon students onshore or on campus, quality according to students and stakeholders, not managers or commissioners.

Executive Summary of Submission Key Points:

Any outcomes of an international education strategy should be increased innovation, sustainability, digital presence, diversity, productivity, transparency, efficiency and effective means to increase the success of Australian international education.

  • Australia, and the international education sector are no longer in the 20th century, but in the 21st century exemplified by digital economy;
  • ALL students are online, where does your institution appear internationally in related search results? Are you visible?
  • Australian international education focus is upon short term promotion and sales, not long term market development for an increase in diversity;
  • Digital economy requires a move away from equating international marketing with an ‘approved international travel plan’ for ‘offshore recruitment events’ with unclear outcomes;
  • The expression and preference for ‘marketing materials’ needs to be replaced (inc. ESOS Act) by ‘digital content’;
  • Focus on enrolled students’ and stakeholders’ (not just insiders) ongoing views and feedback regarding quality and supporting (mostly) digital international marketing strategy;
  • Need to for industry personnel, commissioners, peak/statutory bodies or institutions, to acquire 21st century digital literacy and skills with commensurate redesign of job descriptions, organisation structures, communication and marketing channels;
  • Peak or statutory bodies can focus more usefully onshore in facilitating CPD corporate professional development of institutions for digital;
  • Outcome is dramatically reduced need for travel with digital communications and marketing allowing savings of $100 million annually, or target 20% decrease annually, from peak bodies down to institutional level.

The result will be satisfied students and stakeholders, continuous visibility in multiple markets, with a commensurate decrease on costs and carbon emissions, adding to institutions’ ‘sustainability’ credentials.

Other issues not addressed:

  • ‘White nativist’ advocates, influenced by the same in the USA, in academia and environmental movement, via (mostly centre left) media and political proxies, demonising international education and international students through (thin academic veneer of) highlighting population growth from impact of the NOM net overseas migration, in addition to perceived visa and immigration issues.
  • The U.K. has cross party consensus to remove international students from the NOM as British neither view students as ‘immigrants’ nor as negative contributors to society, while focus upon the NOM feed a ‘torrid and emotional debate’.
  • Developing diversity, Africa, the only continent expected to have both economic growth and young mobile population by mid-century, is being ignored in favour of Latin America, which is expected to have demographic issues?
  • No evidence of (positive) mainstream media exposure, neither onshore nor offshore about ‘Study in Australia’, something for peak bodies to focus upon?
  • The sector does not look at similar industries for marketing best practice e.g. tourism, but is self-informed, like ‘circular referencing’.

For more information about international education marketing resources and for a blog titled International Education in Immigration Population Politics – ‘Does Australia want international students?’ click through


2015 Avustralya yılı olacak.  Avustralya ve Türkiye arasında güçlü bir kültür köprüsü kuruluyor.

Avustralya, bugüne kadar kültür ve sanat dünyalarına sayısız eser ve yetenek sunmuş oldukça zengin bir coğrafyaya sahip. Özellikle 1970’ler ve sonrasında çağdaş sanatlar, sinema, müzik, tasarım, gastronomi ve spor alanlarında uluslararası bir çok başarıya imza atan Avustralya’yı genç, heyecanlı ve yenilikçi bir bakış açısıyla yeniden tanıyacağımız 2015 yılı boyunca Türkiye’de çok sayıda etkinlik gerçekleştirilecek.



Avustralya eski Başbakanı Gillard’ın 2012 yılında yaptığı bir açıklamayla, 2015’te iki ülke arasında sosyal, kültürel ve tarihsel bir köprü kurulacağının ipuçları verilmişt.  Avustralya hükümeti ve Avustralya Uluslarası Kültür Konseyi (AICC) işbirliği ile hayata geçecek 2015 Türkiye’de Avustralya, 2015 yılı boyunca aralıksız olarak devam edecek. Avustralya’nin kültür sanat hayatına popüler bir bakış açısı sunarak daha geniş kitlelere ulaşmayı amaçlayan etkinlikler, ağırlıklı olarak İstanbul ve Ankara’da olmak üzere Bodrum, Mardin, İzmir, Diyarbakır, Göreme ve Karadeniz dahil Türkiye’nin çeşitli bölgelerinde gerçekleşecek.

Görsel sanatlar, tasarım, gastronomi, müzik, sinema, sahne sanatları, eğitim, spor ve teknoloji gibi kategoriler altında toplanacak olan bu etkinlikler, Anzak Günü kutlamalarına paralel ancak bağımsız bir atmosferde gerçekleştirilecek.

Modern dünyanın en hızlı gelişen, dinamik ve genç toplumlarından birine sahip olan Avustralya’nın sunacağı 2015 Türkiye’de Avustralya’nın öne çıkan etkinlikleri arasında; sıra dışı tasarımcı Joost’un Şişhane Park’ta kuracağı sürdürülebilir restoran projesi Greenhouse, tiyatro, dans ve sirk gösterilerini birleştiren hipnotize edici performansiyla Strange Fruit, kıtalar arası kısa film festivali Tropfest, animasyon, projeksiyon, multimedya ve canlı müzik eşliğinde gerçekleşen bol ödüllü kukla gösterisi The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer, İstanbul Film Festivali, Ankara Film Festivali ve SineMardin Film Festivali’nde özel gösterimler, dostluk temalı futbol karşılaşmaları, Avustralyalı sporcuların katılacağı Karadeniz Dağ Bisikleti Şampiyonası, İstanbul Babylon ve Göreme’de yapılacak Avustralya Müzik Festivali, mimarlik atölyeleri ve Microsoft Oyun Projesi gibi projeler yer alıyor.


Daha fazla bilgi Avustralya’da sanat ve kültürü hakkında ve Avustralya’da eğitim AIEC Avustralya Uluslararası Eğitim Merkezinin Avrupa.



In recent years, or maybe forever, most people assume immigration equals unemployment, whether that be media, unions, environmentalists, politicians and people in general.

From Ross Gittins in the Sydney Morning Herald:


Rise in employment all part of the service sector…..  Population growth is slower because fewer Kiwis are coming to Oz and more are going back home where, for the moment anyway, the economy’s prospects are brighter. As well, the end of the mining construction boom means fewer workers and their families are coming in under temporary 457 visas.  If the economy’s potential growth rate is lower, that means we can stabilise unemployment at a lower rate of actual growth. In our present circumstances, employment growth is probably being encouraged by the lower dollar and the exceptionally slow growth in wage rates.  Note that when the economy grows more slowly because the population is growing more slowly, we’re not left worse off in terms of growth in income per person. But lower immigration does make it easier to get on top of unemployment – something economists prefer not to mention.’


How population growth can make us worse off.  …. Just about every economist, politician and business person is a great believer in a high rate of immigration and a Big Australia. But few of them think about the consequences of that attitude – which does a lot to explain our economic problems.  The latest figures from the Bureau of Statistics show our population grew by 1.4 per cent to 23.6 million in 2014. Less than half this growth came from natural increase (births exceeding deaths), with most of it coming from net migration…. Lower immigration would help reduce a lot of our economic problems – not to mention our environmental problems (but who cares about them?).


Interesting the assumption of a high correlation, and causal link between ‘immigration’ (in Oz perceived to be and described as high due to conflation with temps) and ‘unemployment’, so much so that it has become a truism, but is it?  In fact evidence from Australia and internationally shows that immigration actually creates jobs, James Supple in article on Solidarity titled:


Immigration is not to blame for cuts to jobs and wages. The suggestion that bringing 457 visa workers from overseas is coming at the expense of “local jobs” reinforces the myth that immigration causes unemployment and drives down wages.  In his book, Immigration and the Australian Economy, William Foster’s surveys over 200 studies on immigration and wages. He found there was: “a marginally favourable effect on the aggregate unemployment rate, even in recession”.  In a 2003 paper economist Hsiao-chuan Chang wrote in ‘Immigration is not to blame for cuts to jobs and wages’ that:  “there is no evidence that immigrants take jobs away from the local Australian over the past twelve years… This supports the conclusion from existing research”.


In the past year UK Tory govt. was demonising the EU to appease it’s far right loon pond and UKIP (who view the EU as Marxist with its internationalist tendencies), it’s internal mobility, especially workers, so it commissioned research on the perceived link….. the report was shelved because it found no correlation (possibly the opposite).  There is another elephant in the room, how many baby boomers are either ‘holding chairs’ and staying in the workforce longer to top up their super, or to remain active (not a criticism, just an observation)?

More recently in Oz at an ACOSS conference via ABC RN Big Idea ‘Jobs of the Future‘, the real issue was highlighted, although significant unemployment, it’s more to do with the mismatch in skills needed for employment now, and the disconnect of the education and training sector with industry (ditto EU, churning out law, economics, arts etc. graduates for ‘white collar’ careers that no longer exist….)

The advice for anyone young wanting middle class mobility, or wishing to retrain, don’t just listen to your friends/family and enroll in higher education for vague outcomes, but do apprenticeships, vocational education and training; more from New York Times ‘A New Look at Apprenticeships as Path to the Middle Class‘.

For more information about employment, work and jobs in Australia click through here.


Recent article from The Conversation Australia about issues in preparing Australian youth for vocational education and training, and unemployment:


Preparing young people for work: do we really have a crisis?  In the last 12 months, Australian governments of all persuasions have alluded to a crisis in how we prepare young people for trade and technical jobs. These concerns come in response to a decline in uptake of apprenticeships and concerns about youth unemployment.

A national framework for vocational education and training (VET) for secondary school students released at the end of 2014 set a clear objective for schools in preparing young people for the world of work.

Governments across the country are announcing funding for state-of-the-art trade training facilities. The federal government is also talking up the importance of closer ties between schools and industry, with the piloting of the controversial P-Tech model.

If the policy objective is to support young people in getting sustainable employment, is building a few new trade training schools the way to go? Do we need greater input from business in schools? Is there really a problem with current approaches to trade training in schools? ……

…. A recent study of VET in Schools found vocational education programs in schools should be promoted as a pathway to higher-level post-school VET study, rather than as a pathway directly to jobs without further training.

Achieving this requires greater support for schools in making sure young people understand how to combine a VET in Schools program with their other school studies in a way that gives them the best chance of continuing in post-school training. For example, a student undertaking allied health needs to be doing biology and psychology, and a student hoping to continue into an electrical apprenticeship needs to be doing maths and science.

Strengthening trade training is not simply a question of funding new facilities. While the communities lucky enough to host a new trade training facility would certainly benefit, the resourcing could be better used in supporting schools everywhere to adjust their support of young people, and their use of VET in Schools, in response to the realities of today’s labour market.’

For more information about Australian employment work and jobs click through.


Recently the Department of Education with Minister Christopher Pyne developed a draft national strategy for international education, and since then various news reports have referred to this strategy.  However, many do not view the draft as a strategy but merely a list of aspirations and wishes or objectives, lacking anything about how this strategy should be executed, the ‘emperor has no clothes’?


From the AFR Australian Financial Review: Christopher Pyne jumps on the international educationbandwagon.   Education observed as resource exports fall, the federal government is getting right behind the strongly growing international student business.

It is any wonder that Education Minister Christopher Pyne is very keen to put some focus on Australia’s education exports? 

At a time when resource exports are falling, the standout performer among Australia’s top export industries is education, worth $17.5 billion a year. To be sure, it’s not at the level of coal at about $40 billion, or the top performer iron ore at over $70 billion, but education is the third-largest export, bigger than any other commodity or manufactured export, and ahead of tourism (worth $14.5 billion a year) as a service export.

It also has the virtue of being in a strong growth phase, still lifting strongly after the slump (driven by the high dollar and safety concerns) that set in, in 2010.

Nearly 600,000 were enrolled in onshore educational institutions last year, including 250,000 in universities. This year’s total number of student enrolments is 11.2 per cent ahead of last year in the four months up to April.​….

….The commission also focused on the very extensive use of education agents by Australian universities and colleges to recruit international students. “The commission received considerable anecdotal evidence that suggested unscrupulous behaviour of agents is an issue,” its report said.

These would be the threats, but there are also opportunities. While Trade Minister Andrew Robb was not at the round table he conveyed, via Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, that he is still backing the ambitious goal that he floated while in opposition, that it is possible for Australia to be educating 10 million international students through online courses.

It’s a big goal and we wait with interest to see whether Robb can come up with a strategy to pull it off.’


Fact checking or elaboration on statements accepted as fact from or by politicians, media and the international education industry:

  • Education exports were growing but were hamstrung or stymied by concerted media campaigns in cooperation with the white nativist lobby stereotyping negatively the international education sector, while leaders in the same sector remained silent.  This negative focus centred around agents, international students, immigration, visas, private colleges, quality standards, population growth/NOM impact upon environment and infrastructure, cheating, property prices etc. resulting in visa and immigration restrictions.  However, no one scrutinised the fact that the industry is managed by Australians as is the quality system, visas and immigration, neither international students nor agents.
  • Highlighting ‘enrolments’ which can be short and rolling multiple for same student and e.g. enrolment for 12 weeks of English cannot compare with 2 years of TAFE or 2+ years of university study.
  • Agents contracts that neither outline clearly what are the responsibilities of university’ international managers supposedly training and managing agents, and enforcing recruitment targets, that may lead to aggressive promotion, selling and short cuts (while ignoring all digital marketing channels on campus)?
  • Highlighting MOOCS only shows the digital and technical ignorance of leaders as MOOCS are nothing new; open university, off campus, external, distance and online study have been a fact of life for some time.  If international students are not welcome to study onshore in Australia, why would they bother studying an Australian MOOC vs in country elsewhere, especially when open university degrees etc. are not recognised in many countries?  Is the preference for MOOCS from offshore more about limiting the NOM net overseas migration?
  • Marketing strategies are avoided as someone maybe personally responsible, most prefer that strategy and execution is outsourced to external consultants and agents (sales targets)….. begs the question, what are international managers’ core competencies apart from acting on ‘approved travel plans’ and ‘distribution of marketing materials’, and ignoring digital analysis, again ‘the emperor has no clothes’?

For more about international education marketing click through to AIEC.


Organic Destination/Course Search vs Paid Offshore Promotional Events/Campaigns.

SEO organic inbound search results versus paid or sponsored outbound.  What is the difference between paid ‘outbound’ conventional events or digital campaigns via AdWords etc., and organic ‘inbound’ SEO for course and destination search?  Why use SEO techniques as part of the marketing mix versus campaigns or events?



Google search results for generic search has paid ‘outbound’ adverts on right and top, while the main game are the trusted ‘inbound’ organic search results all year round due to well SEO website.


Inbound Organic SEO Marketing – Outbound Paid (Digital) Marketing Campaigns

21st century main game  –  20th century redundant

Bottom up  –  Top down

Inbound digital skills  –  Physical size and budget

Informed by client feedback  –  Informed by management

Direct access to MIS/analytics  –  Managed by ‘web marketing team’

Authentic marketing content  – Official advertising copy

Know how and digital culture  –  Administrative management ‘box ticking’

Resources on multiple channels  –  Gambling resources on one channel

Access to many diverse markets  –  Focus on fewer big markets

Multiple markets simultaneously –  Physical location at one time

Highly targetted  –  Vague correlation

Long term marketing  –  Short term sales

Grow market ‘cake’  –  Preserve market ‘cake’

Lower but relevant traffic  –  Higher untargetted traffic/interest

Custom search results  –  Promoting or pushing school

Economic over time  –  Expensive ‘one off’ budget

Accumulating marketing content  –  Use by date on marketing materials

Continuous activity –  Stop/start

Objective outlook  –  Subjective outlook

Rich qualitative market intelligence  –  Quantitative data (if analysed)

Evaluation of ongoing quantitative  –  Evaluation of campaign or ‘event’

Organic  –  Artificial

Cumulative increase in visibility  –  ‘One- off’ event or ‘spike’

Open and transparent  –  Closed and opaque

Multilingual  –  Mostly English only

All state bodies and institutions’ international marketing should be encouraged to conduct emerging market development, not mature market development where there is already visiblity.

This should include producing a comprehensive digital and SEO marketing strategy outlining who is responsible, architecture of their web and social media networks, digital KPIs, development of ‘marketing content’ and incidental or related media releases (for website, blogs and social media) informed by students and stakeholders, that can be found online internationally.

Examples of stakeholders include prospective or existing students, faculty, agents, admissions, international managers and IT/web teams, in relevant languages, focused on course and destination search optimisation or SEO, with goals/targets analysed via analytics, and on campus students asked ‘how did you find us and which online channels did you use?’.

For more information and resources in international education marketing click through.


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