Page 1

Gerontology Program

Chris Adrian Aaron Aslin Catherine Praeger Howard Tran

Community Based-Learning Project

Expanding Understanding in Aging

Table of Contents 1.0









Research Findings


SWOT Analysis


Competitive Analysis


Original Service Map


Original Servicescape

4.6 GAPS Service Quality Analysis

4.7 5.0



Application of Other Services Marketing Models, Tools and Concepts


Strategy Tactical Plan

5.2.1 Product - Education

5.2.2 Place

5.2.3 Promotion

5.2.4 People

5.2.5 Price

5.2.6 Processes - Revised Service Map

5.2.7 Physical Evidence - Revised Servicescape



Program Brochure


Mentorship Program


Email Marketing & Landing Page

6.4 Budget


Measures & Metrics




APPENDICES (provided separately)


Executive Summary Gerontology The study of aging, is an emerging field striving to understand the meaning of age, the aging process, and the aged. Gerontology encompasses the following: • studying physical, mental, and social changes in people as they age • investigating the aging process itself • investigating the interface of normal aging and age-related disease • investigating the effects of an aging population on society • applying this knowledge to policies and programs As a society, we are inherently affected by changes in our cultural climate. With the advances in technology, science, and medicine, one major change we are seeing is that people are living longer. It is expected that one in five Americans will be over the age of 65, and 15 to 18 million persons over the age of 85 by the middle of the 21st century. Therefore, we should be prepared to shift our efforts and resources to meet the demands of an aging population. As a result of a growing aging population, there will be a demand for professionals with knowledge and expertise in the field of Gerontology. There are a variety of employment opportunities in the field of aging including: • • • • • •

Architect Engineer Elder Law Interior Design Fitness Trainer Assisted Living

• • • • • •

Home Security Career Planning Physical Therapy Human Resources Nutrition Counseling Recreational Therapy

• • • •

Home Safety Auditor Volunteer Management Health care management Communal Living Coordinator

The Master of Science in Gerontology degree offered by California State University, Fullerton is a viable option for students who wish to enter into this field with the knowledge and education required to be successful in the field. Although CSU Fullerton offers an exemplar educational program for these students, there is a lack of motivation for students to apply, attend, and complete the program. Despite their clear objectives and goals to serve students and the community, the program currently has only 6 students. A clear objective for the program to undertake is to ensure students and the community at large understand the value of these professionals and how the aging population and community can benefit.


VALUE PROPOSITION FOR STUDENTS: A MS degree in Gerontology from CSUF gets you the expertise you need to enter the workforce as a manager, executive, or consultant. VALUE PROPOSITION FOR EMPLOYERS: Employ managers, executives, and consultants who are specialists in understanding your aging clientele. Graduates of the MS program in Gerontology help your firm by: • Advising management on the largest population of individuals and the unique ways they need to be addressed • How to counsel aging individuals and their families • The policies and laws affecting this population In summary, the gerontology program at California State University, Fullerton’s mission is to prepare students for a variety of careers ranging from business to government to health and human services. CSUF graduates will be prepared to serve the growing aging population. The CSUF gerontology program desires to provide students with the best in class classroom learning, hands on opportunities, and research.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis findings suggest that CSUF’s gerontology program lacks diversity in educational options relative to the USC Davis School of Gerontology. For example, the USC gerontology program offers: a Master of Science in Gerontology, a Master of Arts in Gerontology, a Master of Aging Services Management (MASM), a Master of Long Term Care Administration (MLTCA), a graduate certificate in gerontology, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Gerontology (PH.D.) (USC Gerontology Pamphlet). According to a USC admissions counselor, students enroll at USC due to reputation, networking opportunities, and the “Trojan Family.”


Recommendations include a redesign and style guide for the Gerontology program’s hard collateral such as their brochures, flyers, and mailers, to create a sub-brand of CSU Fullerton. In addition, a redesign of the CSUF gerontology program’s website is recommended. Recommendations were developed based on analysis of three competing gerontology programs (The University of Southern California, CSU Long Beach, Cal State Dominguez Hills).


Based on our research analysis, a diverse skill set is necessary to be a successful provider of elderly services. More specifically, the ability to identify ways to better serve an aging population is necessary. Specific areas of desirable expertise include knowledge of social, psychological, and physical aspects of aging.

Service Gaps

In order to narrow the GAPS in the CSUF gerontology program’s service quality, four strategic actions have been recommended. First, the CSUF gerontology program should restructure current branding efforts. Second, employer partnerships and associations with community organizations should be built. Third, partnerships with the various colleges of CSUF should be established in order to increase the diversity and pool of potential students. Fourth, public perceptions about “social workers” and “caregivers” must be addressed.

Marketing Mix

The extended marketing mix (7P’s) outlines the proposed tactical plan. In order to address the CSUF gerontology website the various colleges throughout CSUF should work together to drive more traffic to the gerontology website. In addition, web marketing strategies and a landing page iarerecommended. Integrated email marketing campaigns should be created focusing on current students, prospective students, alumni, faculty, and community members. Also, an “advising center” would allow students and faculty to remain connected as well as fostering cooperation between students, faculty, staff, and the community.



Description of Service

According to the CSUF gerontology brochure, the California State University, Fullerton Gerontology program equips students with knowledge of the social problems of aging, social policy and practice, theory, research, and management and evaluation skills. The gerontology program consists of 12 units of required core courses, 6-9 units of multidisciplinary electives, and 0-6 units of a thesis, project or comprehensive exam. As a whole, the CSUF gerontology program provides students with an education. More specifically, students are provided with an education in “gerontology.” The education process (The service) can be broken down into three components. People, process and physical evidence are the three components of the expanded marketing mix (ZBG, Pgs. 24-25). The people, process, and physical evidence will all three help the customer (Students) understand the nature of the service experience (ZBG, Pg. 24). Thus, the service (Educating students) can be described using the expanded marketing mix.


People are the human components of the service delivery (ZBG, Pg. 24). The “people” associated with the service include faculty, staff and other students. It is important to manage the interactions between faculty/staff and students appropriately. Interactions include lectures, meetings, email contact, and telephone contact.


The processes are the procedures and flow of activities which deliver the service (ZBG, Pg. 25). The “processes” associated with the service includes the admissions process, the graduation process, the learning process, as well as all other processes associated with “educating students.” It is important that all associated processes are managed for maximum effectiveness and efficiency.

Physical Evidence

The physical evidence is essentially where the firm and customer meet (ZBG, Pg. 25). The “physical evidence” associated with the service includes the CSUF campus, the Ruby Gerontology Center, the gerontology website, pamphlets, brochures, and appearance of faculty/staff. All of the physical evidence associated with the CSUF gerontology program must be continuously maintained and updated.



Project Goals The primary goal of this marketing strategy is to increase enrollment in the gerontology program to 25 students within two years. The need for new student enrollment was the catalyst behind creating a marketing strategy for the program. We believe increasing enrollment to 25 students within two years is a stretch but achievable if the recommendations in this plan are implemented in a timely manner. The objectives of this marketing plan extended beyond increasing enrollment and included: •

 ecommendations on service marketing tactics to R improve the students outcomes including retention and employment


Redesign of the program website


Redesign of program brochure

These goals and objectives were identified by the Gerontology Program Council and were at the center when developing this marketing strategy.



Methodology & Findings To further understand the field of gerontology and to determine how best to reach our project goals and objectives, we gathered data from a variety of sources including: IN-DEPTH SURVEYS • Potential Employers and Organizations • Current and Prospective Students • Alumni and Faculty SECONDARY RESEARCH • Scholarly Journals • Government Reports and Statistics • Industry Publications COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS • U  niversity of La Verne, University of Southern California - Davis School of Gerontology, CSU Long Beach, and CSU Dominguez Hills The purpose of our research was to learn more about the expectations and perceptions in regards to the study of Gerontology, types of professions within this field, and the academic training needed in the field of gerontology. Along with our findings we have completed a situational analysis of the current gerontology program.


Research Findings IN-DEPTH SURVEYS POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS AND ORGANIZATIONS For this portion of our research, we targeted prospective employers and organizations who would be inclined to hire someone with a background in the field of gerontology. Our goal was to identify certain skills and overall qualities needed in order to be successful in providing care and assistance to an increasing aging population. We received six (6) responses from different organizations who were able to answer key questions in regards to how gerontology fits into their organization. Skills for Success Knowledge and insight into the aging process and knowledge of the effects that aging has on families is a benefit for an employer to have a gerontologist on staff. A gerontologist can act as a consultant or subject matter expert who understands aging individuals and their families as well as consulting, advising, and training management, employees, and volunteers of organizations.



Knowledge of the special needs of older adults in the areas listed above; a willingness to work with older adults and their families.


A gerontologist would be highly valuable in our organization with the understanding they would bring with them to assist our aging clients and their families.

Value to Employers Based on the survey, data employers appear to value a broad range of general knowledge from gerontology students. The businesses surveyed repeatedly mention needing people who can help their management and employees understand aging adults and how to provide them improved services and more relevant services. The responses can be organized into five distinct categories: 1. Understand influences on aging 2. Understand various changes taking place throughout the aging process 3. Understand how and where to find available resources 4. Understand regulation 5. Know how to apply knowledge to service output While this is the list generated from the small population of respondents to our survey it would be important to consider responses from a larger sample size encompassing several key industries for gerontology graduates The primary theme that emerged when asked how to increase hiring of gerontology graduates was to educate employers about the value gerontology graduates provide to an organization. Several tactics were presented including generation of press around the benefits of gerontologists, developing internship programs, providing free access to graduate research, and hosting seminars for business owners. All are feasible approaches to develop the market. A common theme for encouraging employers to hire gerontology graduates was internships. Internships are an excellent way for students to gain valuable insight and knowledge. In addition, internships can show employers the value of gerontology students relative to other employees. A concern for one employer appears to be the relative “value” of gerontology graduates (benefits – costs). Perhaps there is concern about how expensive gerontology graduates will be relative to “caregivers.” Promotion of Program through Community The responses from the surveys highlight two approaches to increasing enrollment: management initiated or employee initiated. The decision can be facilitated by management who see the need for gerontologists. Under this condition it was recommended that the school/program reach out directly to the employer through the human resources or employee benefits departments. It might have been overlooked that the management should also be contacted. The partnerships between company and school can create specific programs the employer seeks out to send their employees. The decision to pursue a gerontology degree can also be facilitated by employees who feel it is a necessary step to advance their careers and benefit their employers. The school should directly reach out with financial incentives, educational seminars, co-sponsored events, and direct advertising. The employers provide groups of employees who are likely candidates for the gerontology program. Synergies between the two approaches can have both the demand from the employees and support of management for a functional relationship with the gerontology program.


Methodology & Findings CURRENT AND PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS This portion of the research was completed by a group of colleagues (Allen et al). The goal of this research was to determine how current and prospective students perceive the Gerontology Program offered by Cal State Fullerton. There were more than fifty survey responses which allowed the group to further determine how students perceive the field of gerontology and the masters program offered. Through this research three major themes were identified. The primary and most critical theme identified was the awareness pertaining to the Gerontology field and the Masters program. Second, students need to have a passion for the related field. And last, an overall stigma seems to be placed on the elderly. These three crucial components create great opportunity for Cal State Fullerton to improve its Masters program in Gerontology. (Allen et al) Awareness In evaluating the data, it is clear there is a gap between the marketing efforts of the program and the information reaching the appropriate student(s). Alongside the marketing gap, is a gap between the lines of communication. Survey responses showed that current students pointed out that they should encourage prospective students to enter the program. Wordof-mouth is key to any marketing strategy. WOM builds awareness in a positive light because current students are encouraging others to join. Survey results showed that current students would have preferred extra guidance ie: a mentor. Unfortunately, they had to develop the passion and interest on their own. One survey revealed that a student asked an advisor about the program and yet found himself or herself still needing additional information. This encounter is evidence that sufficient information and motivation for the program is not being relayed.(Allen et al) Out of the fifty-five prospective students surveyed, many had little to no knowledge on the job opportunities within the Gerontology field. The students with little knowledge felt as though the only job opportunities were in hospitals, nursing and/or retirement homes, or physically taking care of the elderly. This is a critical factor because when prospective students are exploring different programs, one major factor is job opportunities and potential salary growth. With the aging population of the baby boom generation, it is that much more important to emphasize the available job opportunities and growth within the field. (Allen et al) Passion The results from the surveys showed that students have a passion for helping others; however, they have not been exposed to the environment of Gerontology. Survey results showed that candidates entertaining the Gerontology Master’s program have expressed some passion in helping others. Six of the students felt their own passion and interest in the service of the elderly attracted them to the program (Allen et al). Current students pointed out two crucial elements that would help them fulfill personal gratification in this field: to make a difference and help society. Both elements identify a common thread. Making a difference in other people lives and helping society as a whole empowers people to become passionate in this field. Unfortunately, the survey results showed the lack of passion among the faculty, alumni, and students. This is important to analyze because research has shown a potential reason as to why people are not interested in the program, drop out, or never actually finish (Allen et al). Stigma The prospective students do believe that Gerontology is important to society. Results clearly show that students are concerned with the aging population. The surveys revealed that the students feel it is important to improve the quality of life and help prevent, minimize, or eliminate diseases and illnesses. Even though students find an importance in this field, CSUF is lacking in its efforts to communicate the benefits of this particular field (Allen et al).


Although current and prospective students understand the importance of the Gerontology field, results show there is a stigma that goes along with working in this particular field. Many of the students expressed that it takes a certain person to work with the elderly. Others expressed not having the patience needed for the job. This is one of the many stereotypes that go along with this field. In order to change this perception, a plan of attack is needed to overcome this area of opportunity (Allen et al).

FACULTY AND ALUMNI This portion of the research was completed by a group of colleagues (Morris et al). The goal of this research was to determine how faculty and alumni perceive the Gerontology Program offered by Cal State Fullerton. The faculty and alumni perspective gives a much needed insight as to where improvements can be made. The Alumni survey received 17 responses, while the Faculty survey received 10 responses. Both surveys returned a wide variety of responses, with many different aspects of the Gerontology program highlighted. After reviewing the responses from the Gerontology Department faculty and alumni, the department is in dire need of a top to bottom makeover. Students and faculty alike are in agreement that the course curriculum and strategies to increase enrollment are in need of change.

Alumni From the student perspective, the key advantage of pursuing an MSG was the ability to take the course while simultaneously being employed full time. A low level of difficulty in the course material, and only 30 unit requirement for a Masters were definite benefits for the students during their time of enrollment. However, once graduated the alumni would have preferred classes that concentrated on specific fields of study like service work for social workers and caregivers. Additionally they would have appreciated classes that covered current policies that affect senior citizens like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Medi-Cal. It appears that a large number of graduates enter into the health care and caregiving fields of employment and courses specifically designed to prep students for these types of careers are needed (Morris et al). Faculty Many of the respondents stated that the program was effective, but could have focused on more disciplines within the field. Respondents believed that dedicated staff and the knowledge gained were the program’s most important strengths, however, lack of funding, lack of faculty, lack of marketing, lack of challenge, and lack of awareness were all weaknesses cited by faculty respondents. A variety of responses were given for improving the program, but the most popular recommendation was to improve marketing of the program. Modification of curriculum, limiting part-time faculty, licensing to create Gerontology jobs, and encouraging Gerontology as a minor were all suggestions also given by respondents (Morris et al).


Methodology & Findings SECONDARY RESEARCH Through our Secondary Research, we wanted to gain more insight on the need for more professionals with a background in Gerontology and additional opportunities for those interested in working with the elderly. One of the main goals of our secondary research was to obtain relevant statistics that would help support many assumptions that we make in regards for the need for increased expertise in this field. According to the studies provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2011), the amount of older Americans are increasing exponentially due to the aging population of Baby Boomers. And as the average life expectancy increases and time goes on, more and more people will be added to the pool of elderly Americans. Currently, a large percentage of the elderly live with their spouse (70% men, 41% women) or alone (19% men, 37% women) - these households will benefit the most from services directed at assisting the elderly. Additionally, a majority of income received by older people is through Social Security, income from assets, and pension plans, which all tend to be fixed sources of income. This is particularly important to address because they will need guidance in directing their finances to ensure they meet the necessary costs that accompany aging including a variety of services, healthcare, assistance, and housing. (A Profile of Older Americans, 2011) The National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information’s Home & community-based services (HCBS) provide the necessary support allowing the aging to live rich and independent lives. There are a wide-range of services and assistance needed in supporting the elderly that pull


from various industries including healthcare, construction, food, and financial services. The following are services that HCBS offers and would be viable career opportunities for recent graduates: • • • • • • • • • • •

Adult Day Service Case managers or geriatric care managers Emergency response systems Friendly visitor and companion services Home health care services Homemaker or chore services Home modifications Meals programs Senior centers Transportation services Nursing homes

In 2011 the first wave of baby boomers will turn 65 and by the year 2030 all 78 million baby boomers would have turned 65. This large demographic requires social workers to reshape the current delivery of services, as well as redefine aging and what it means to be old. The article states that gerontology offers the ‘perfect hybrid career’.(Worthington, 2008) While Raver-Villanueva warns that “working with older adults is not for the timid,” she quickly points out that emotional and financial rewards await gerontological professionals who are culturally competent, possess strong knowledge of the healthcare delivery systems, recognize appropriate methods for accessing various social service programs, and are familiar with the workings of the aging network and benefits eligibility criteria. “The sky is the limit,” she says of professional gerontological prospects for social workers. (Worthington, 2008) The article (2008) outlines challenges that we have seen in our research: translating competencies to employment. “Older adults are complex individuals and to serve them effectively, one must be in touch with the various systems that affect their lives individually and collectively. There is an ‘intimidation factor’ as one of the barriers to social workers’ foray into the field of gerontology. Social work students tend to be younger and some are intimidated by working with older adults. This can be caused due to younger adults helping their own parents. There was a report (Masunaga et al, 1998) done on the effectiveness of the Gerontology of its graduates to evaluate the success of both the graduates and the program itself. Previous studies on employment of gerontology program

graduates show that 75% of programs reported having a professional orientation exclusively or in combination with a liberal arts or scientific approach. 81% of the respondents indicated that they enrolled in the program to secure employment in the field of aging. Some studies reported that between 49% and 92% of graduates have full-time jobs in the field of aging. The study evaluated the success of the graduates and the program using the following variables: Graduates • Employment Status • Salary Level • Job Satisfaction Program • Graduates’ perceived usefulness of the program • W  illingness to enroll the program again if the choice could be made a second time • W  illingness to recommend the program to others were assessed The USC study found that 51% were employed full-time and 15% were part-time. 58% reported a salary of more than $40,000 annually. The mean salary was $48,400. 68% said they were satisfied with their jobs and 29% were somewhat satisfied. The study (1998) found that 64% of the graduates reported that the course work in gerontology was very useful in their job, and 32%, somewhat useful. In addition, 88% said they would enroll in gerontology at USC again and 94% saying they would advise others to enroll in gerontology at USC. According to Span (2012), 39.8 million people have provided unpaid care to someone over the age of 65 due to an “aging” issue. Only about 16.3% of care provides are elder care providers, and of this percentage 42.4% of care was provided to a parent. Nearly a quarter of 45-64 year olds are considered eldercare providers. Of those providing eldercare 20% provide daily care while 24% provide care multiple times per week. Based on these statistics about elderly care, it is apparent that aging parents and an aging population as a whole are extremely relevant. The percentage of individuals who care for an aging person is alarmingly high (Specifically family members). The relatively small amount of professional eldercare services provides an excellent opportunity for gerontology graduates to find a niche in the workforce.

As the aging population continues to grow along with the number of non-professionals caring for an elderly individual the benefits of gerontology graduates also increases. This presents possible opportunities such as: • Raising awareness of aging in America • Identifying the current professional care available • Increasing awareness for the need of professional care for the elderly • Relieving the amount of time non-professionals spend caring for an aging individual (Parent, relative, etc.) • Communicating statistics and increasing awareness in the local and national community As there are a range of employment opportunities to help those aging, it is difficult to pinpoint one specific skill needed to be successful. It is apparent, however, that an in-depth understanding and a keen ability to identify ways to better serve an aging population is necessary. Many common themes we encountered while researching and collecting data are the need for expertise in the social, psychological, and physical implications of aging and understanding how to apply them in a practical manner. Therefore, being able to pick up on the needs and concerns of the elderly while being sensitive to their current physical and mental state will be crucial in bridging this gap. Some practical skills that will be needed include: Setting policies and procedures pertaining to the elderly Providing counseling for the aging, as well as their loved ones Coordinating efforts to serve the elderly (finances, transportation, housing, healthcare, etc.) Educating/advising/training for those caring for the aging (staff, loved ones, caregivers) Appropriately directing and allocating resources Those with a background in Gerontology and looking to find work in this field will be required to address challenging issues in order to better assist the aging. It is important that one in this position fully understands the implications of aging and the different nuances in service design and assistance they’ll need in order to provide them a better quality of life. By having in-depth knowledge of the aging process and a genuine concern for the elderly, one will be better at advocating for them in areas that most affect their lives. board in order to make the verbiage more impactful. The goal should be to provide them with relevant information that presents the value in having a background in Gerontology and direct them to the appropriate resources in order to learn more about the program and possibly applying to it.


Methodology & Findings 4.2


According to the CSUF brochure, strengths of the Master of Science in Gerontology program at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) include an interdisciplinary program, flexible course schedule, active involvement opportunities, as well as reduced prerequisites. Multidisciplinary electives range from history to anthropology to political science. Exposing students to an interdisciplinary program provides a breadth of relative general knowledge. The CSUF gerontology program’s flexible schedule offers both afternoon and evening course options. Flexible program scheduling provides students with an opportunity to fit education around their busy life. CSUF gerontology students have the option of getting involved with The Student Association for Gerontology Education (SAGE) and Sigma Phi Omega. The Student Association for Gerontology Education offers service and research opportunities. In addition, Sigma Phi Omega focuses on professionalism, scholarship, and elderly service. Lastly, content prerequisites have been removed from the program increasing the ease of transition into the gerontology program. The entire program can be completed in two years and is composed of 21 units of core courses and 9 units of electives (Interdisciplinary). WEAKNESSES

Weaknesses of the Master of Science Gerontology program at CSUF include the layout, design, pictures, and overall presentation of pamphlets and the CSUF gerontology website. In addition, admissions into the gerontology program are relatively low (CSUF Gerontology Brochure). Some students even fail to complete the program. In addition, the CSUF gerontology program is relatively narrow. The program only offers a Master of Science in Gerontology with a focus on administration and policy (CSUF Gerontology Brochure).. The field of gerontology is so rich and diverse. Perhaps, CSUF should provide a wider selection of course offerings.


OPPORTUNITIES According to, the broad field of gerontology offers an excellent opportunity for students to follow their passion and find a niche in a professional setting. Career options include home and community based services, adult

day services, case managers, companion services, home health care and various others. In addition, various support opportunities are available including transportation services and meal providers. According to,, the population of 65+ has increased by 5.4 million (15.3%) since the year 2000. The aging population is drastically increasing. Career opportunities in the field of gerontology are expected to skyrocket. Now is the time to prepare for a rewarding career in elder care. 39.8 million people (Over age 15) have provided care to somebody over the age of 65 (Unpaid care) (Span, 2012). This statistic demonstrates the need for professional employees in the field of gerontology. Professional gerontologists will be able to alleviate the stress of unpaid caretakers (e.g. family members) while providing knowledgeable service. THREATS

One possible threat to eldercare service providers is increased independence of the aging. According to, people who reach the age of 65 have an average additional life expectancy of 18.8 years. Today life expectancies are substantially longer. For example, the 85+ population is expected to increase to 6.6 million by 2020. The elderly are able to maintain their independence longer due to longer/healthier lives. This increase in health and life expectancy could decrease the need for eldercare services. Another threat to eldercare service providers could be the reluctance of family members to pass on the burden of their aging loved ones. 42.4% of eldercare providers are providing care to a parent. 20% of these service providers are providing daily care while 24% provide care multiple times per week (Span, 2012). These individuals are clearly engaged in the lives of their loved ones. It may be difficult for family members to give up control of the services provided to their aging loved ones. For example, family members may have a difficult time trusting “outside� caregivers with the lives of their loved ones.


Methodology & Findings 4.3

Competitive Analysis There are multiple degree options for students looking to pursue a career in gerontology. In order of distinction from lowest to highest there are Certificate, Masters, and Doctorate available that provide specialization in Gerontology. Students can achieve these credentials from an educational institution providing campus courses, online courses, or a hybrid of both. Out of the 52 graduate level programs in California eight (8) are campus locations and forty-four (44) are online programs. The Gerontology program at CSU Fullerton is a Masters program offered exclusively on-campus which is located in the greater Los Angeles area. This competitive analysis will focus on those schools with similar characteristics to the CSU Fullerton program. There are four direct competitors matching these criteria that were considered in this analysis. They were University of La Verne, University of Southern California, CSU Long Beach, and CSU Dominguez Hills. UNIVERSITY OF LA VERNE

University of La Verne is a private school offering a Masters of Science in Gerontology from the College of Business and Public Management. Concentrations are available in Business Administration, Gerontology Administration, Counseling, Health Service Management, and Public Administration (University of La Verne, 2012). The program is offered on campus only. The program is described as multidisciplinary and focuses on training from an integrative and developmental perspective (University of La Verne, 2012). The program requires 36 credit hours at a cost of $575.00 per credit hour or approximately $20,000 for the duration of the program. The ratio of female to male students is 79 percent to 21 percent with a total of 29 students currently enrolled. Of these students just over half are full time (Program in Gerontology, 2012). Eligibility requirements for the program are a GPA of 2.5 or greater during the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework and 3.0 or greater for any graduate coursework (University of La Verne, 2012)/ If these criteria are met with two letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and current resume GMAT or GRE test scores are not required. International students are accepted.


UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA The University of Southern California (USC) is a private school located in the heart of Los Angeles. USC offers multiple Masters level degree programs for students including: Master of Science in Gerontology, Master of Arts in Gerontology, Master of Aging Services Management (MASM), and Master of Long Term Care Administration (MLTCA), (USC Gerontology Pamphlet). The Gerontology program is housed inside of its own college, the USC Davis School of Gerontology on the USC campus. Courses are offered both on campus and online. The program is described as preparation for students seeking employment in career fields that respond to the needs of the aging population (University of Southern California, 2012). Courses prepare individuals for both scholarly and professional careers in gerontology (University of Southern California, 2012). Currently 132 students are enrolled in programs at the Davis School of Gerontology. The gender ratio of these students is 80 percent female and 20 percent male. The average tuition for the duration of the program is approximately $50,000 (Mandy, 2012). According to a USC admissions advisor students choose to enroll in USC’s gerontology program for three main reasons. First, USC offers the number one gerontology program in the world. Second, USC provides students with a strong network of professionals working in the gerontology field. Third, the “Trojan Family” provides contacts and connections for gerontology students (Mandy, 2012). The USC program actively marketing itself online. The school aggressively uses Google Adwords to place itself in the top of the paid advertising space for keywords relating to Gerontology. The adwords link clicks to a landing page where a prospective student can submit their information via online form and download the program brochure. After the information is submitted the prospective student receives ongoing email communication and a phone call from an admissions counselor. The USC program also markets itself through its faculty conducting research in the field of Gerontology. A USC admissions counselor claimed in an interview that most gerontology textbooks are written by USC professors. The body of work being generated by the academics at USC further extends the Davis school and Gerontology programs.


California State University, Long Beach, is a public school in the CSU school system. CSU Long Beach offers a Master of Science in Gerontology. The program is offered through the college of Health and Human Services and courses are only offered on campus. The program is described as promoting interdisciplinary learning, research, and service through local partnerships with community organizations in support of aging (California State University, Long Beach, 2012). Currently 31 students are reportedly enrolled in the masters program with a ratio of 97 percent female students to 3 percent male students. Approximately 85 percent are part time students. (California State University, Long Beach, 2012). CSU Long Beach is located approximately 30 minutes from CSU Fullerton. CSU DOMINGUEZ HILLS

California State University Dominguez Hills is also a public school in the CSU school system. CSU Dominguez Hills offers a Master of Arts in Gerontology from the College of Health and Human Services. The program is described as a program of study with the goal of professionalizing students in the field of Gerontology. The school hosts a Student Alumni Gerontology Association for continued networking beyond graduation. According to Peterson’s fourteen students are enrolled in the program with five enrolled full-time and nine enrolled part-time (Program in Gerontology , 2012). CSU Dominguez Hills is approximately 30 minutes from CSU Fullerton.

From the competitor analysis the private schools appear as the most credible options for pursuing a masters degree in Gerontology. Their superb web design, ability to communicate the essence of their program through multiple online channels, and strong search rankings make these schools top competitors for prospective students of CSU Fullerton. While CSU Fullerton is competing against these private schools for students it has the ability to compete on its core competency: value for money. The private programs cost significantly more than a corresponding program at CSU Fullerton. To compete CSU Fullerton should highlight its credibility as California’s premier state university. Secondly it should highlight the value students get for attending the program when compared directly with the aforementioned private schools. To further support the comparison CSU Fullerton needs to invest in a more professional website and online marketing initiatives to mirror its competitors. Such changes would require minimal investment and help the school showcase itself as a legitimate option for students considering a Masters in Gerontology.

All schools listed above market themselves through word of mouth referrals, online database results, program websites, and on-campus print materials. The USC gerontology program is the only program actively recruiting students through search engine marketing and email marketing campaigns. The websites for the CSU schools resemble the website for the CSU Fullerton gerontology program. The websites for USC and La Verne were the most functional with excellent use of whitespace and simple call-to-actions. Screenshots of each school’s website can be found in the appendix.


Methodology & Findings 4.4

Original Service Map

During the investigation process students will form an opinion about the CSUF gerontology program (First impression). Students will decide whether or not they want to apply to the CSUF gerontology program and where CSUF ranks among alternative programs. The investigation phase is the ideal time to highlight the benefits of attending CSUF relative to the costs. CSUF must differentiate itself in the minds of potential students relative to competing gerontology programs. CSUF’s gerontology program should be a top destination for potential gerontology students not a backup plan.

Look, design, layout of promotional material (e.g. website and pamphlets)

Awareness of CSUF Gerontology Program: Referral, website, pamphlet, other

CSUF campus, Ruby Gerontology Center (Interior and exterior), counselors, staff, professors, students

Ease of use, organization, design, aesthetic appeal of website

Visit CSUF Gerontology website

Contact Institute of Gerontology, Ruby Gerontology Center: (714) 278-7057 (General information and schedule on campus visit)

Take student on campus tour Introduce student to gerontology faculty, staff, and students

Greet potential student, provide relevant information and answer questions

Backstage Contact Employee Actions Support Processes

Visit Ruby Gerontology Center and meet with counselor

Greet potential student, provide relevant information and answer questions

Onstage Contact Employee Actions

Customer Actions

Physical Evidence

The investigation process begins with the potential student becoming aware of the CSUF Gerontology program. Awareness can come about through referrals, pamphlets, brochures, the website or others. The next step is for the prospective student to visit the CSUF gerontology website. Next, the potential student will contact the Ruby Gerontology Center (714-278-7057) for general information and to schedule an on campus visit. The student

Schedule on campus visit for potential student

Website design and maintenance, pamphlet design and distribution, promotional planning and preparation

Website design and maintenance

Note appointment, notify staff, and prepare relevant documents

Call potential student to verify appointment (Reminder) Arrange for faculty, staff, and students to meet with potential student

Appropriate scheduling of faculty/ staff

will then visit the Ruby Gerontology Center and meet with Karen Wong (Advisor). The prospective student will collect pamphlets, application material, and various other program material. The prospective student will analyze the CSUF Gerontology program’s value proposition (Tuition, commute, prestige, faculty etc.). The prospective student will weigh the benefits vs. the costs. Now the prospective student will research/visit competing gerontology programs such as USC, UCI, and CSULB. The student will analyze the value propositions provided by the competing gerontology programs. Once the student has analyzed both the CSUF and the competing program’s value propositions he/she will compare the associated value propositions.Lastly, the student will decide whether or not to apply to the CSUF Gerontology program. Listed above is the general path a potential student will take during the “investigation process.” California State University, Fullerton’s gerontology program will be evaluated by potential students during this process. As such, the CSUF gerontology program must offer prospective students an enticing value proposition during this process. The CSUF gerontology program has the following tools at its disposal: physical evidence, contact personnel (Visible), contact personnel (Invisible) and support processes.

Pamphlets, application, and program material design, layout, aesthetic appeal etc.

Collect pamphlets, application, and various program material

Campus, website, pamphlets, promotional materials, faculty, staff, students

Analyze CSUF gerontology program’s value proposition (Tuition, commute, prestige, faculty etc.)

Research/ visit competing institutions (e.g. USC, UCI, CSULB)

Benefits vs. costs

Analyze competition’s value proposition (Tuition, commute, prestige, faculty etc.) Benefits vs. costs

Compare CSUF’s gerontology program to the competition Benefits vs. costs

Decide whether or not to apply to the CSUF gerontology program

Line of Interaction Provide potential student with pamphlets, application and various program materials

Greet, inform, answer questions, tour, provide materials etc.

Line of Visibility Print, organize, and arrange pamphlets, applications, and program materials

Prepare/schedule tour, and materials

Line of Internal Interaction Continuously update and monitor pamphlets, applications and program materials

Maintain/update website and promotional materials


Methodology & Findings 4.5

Original Servicescape The design of the current CSU Fullerton Gerontology Department website is outdated and unappealing. The site looks unprofessional and ill-maintained, which reflects badly on the Gerontology program and CSU Fullerton. The site itself isn’t balanced as the left side fills much more space than the completely blank right side. Some of the provided links are old and/or do not work. Additionally, the pictures that are within the site are pixelated and of bad quality, which (among many other things) makes the site appear to be unpolished. There are far too many redundant and unnecessary links that would serve better if they were consolidated to allow for a more seamless user-interface. The site is not organized in an intuitive manner, which makes it frustrating for those trying to navigate it. As most prospective students learn about the Gerontology Program through the CSU Fullerton Gerontology website, it should be easy to use, provide useful information, and allow for seamless opportunities to engage with the department in order to encourage enrollment into the program. At it’s current state, it does not do any of that.

The CSU Fullerton logo should be displayed clearly at top to provide credibility and CSU Fullerton branding. Outdated links throughout site. Too many links which make it more difficult to navigate. Two navigation bars are unnecessary and should be consolidated into one navigation bar for a more seamless user-interface to better direct prospective students to the pertinent information. Pixelated pictures should be swapped out for more highresolution images. Feature News & Events to stay relevant. Current CSUF has little/none or are really outdated. Pictures will also attract more readers! We believe job opportunities is a main driver in enrolling in the program. It’s good that the current site has a job board, but it needs to be better organized, they look sloppy/ unprofessional on current site. Include clear contact information, especially an email address as this is the most convenient way for prospective students to engage with the Gerontology Department.


Methodology & Findings 4.6

GAPS Service Quality Analysis The GAPS analysis is a service marketing model we used to analyze how closely the services rendered by the Gerontology Department at CSU Fullerton meets the expectations and needs of its stakeholders. The analysis looks at four service provider gaps: 1. H  ow closely the gerontology program listens to the needs of its stakeholders. 2. How closely the Gerontology program designs its service to match its stakeholder expectations 3. How closely the Gerontology program’s service design and standards match the service delivery 4. How closely external marketing matches the service delivery. Are promises made promises kept? The purpose of the GAPS analysis is to identify deficiencies in the service design that widen gaps and lower stakeholder satisfaction. The closer the gaps are, the more expectations can be met and exceeded thereby delighting the stakeholders. When stakeholders are delighted, it facilitates the sharing of experiences thus generating word-of-mouth marketing. In order to conduct the GAPS analysis a survey was sent to each of the three main Gerontology Program stakeholders. The stakeholders are current and prospective students, alumni, and employers. The collected responses were used to fill in the gaps (pun intended).

Gap 1 is the listening gap, or how closely the

Gerontology program listens to the needs of its stakeholders. The Gerontology Program can narrow gap one by embracing a commitment to listening to stakeholders. Market research is often the foundation of any such analysis and there was no such research available from the Gerontology program. This insufficient market research likely means there is a disconnect between what faculty believe and what the stakeholders are experiencing. There is a simple solution the Gerontology Program can implement immediately to shrink this gap. Use a Faculty Panel to Listen to Stakeholders (ongoing) Start a faculty panel comprised of Gerontology Program educators, staff, and administrators. The purpose of said panel is to collect and review feedback from students, alumni, and employers that can be used to improve the


overall student outcome and success of the program. The creation of a panel will institutionalize the collection of student feedback and show department wide commitment to listening to the needs of stakeholders. We recommend three meetings per semester. Meeting one will collect employer feedback, meeting two will collect student feedback, and meeting three will collect alumni feedback. The solution proposed above addresses the stakeholders in general and is a simple solution that can be undertaken immediately to better understand stakeholder expectations. To further close this gap the Gerontology Program needs to embrace a relationship focus. What this means is creating groups of like-minded stakeholders and addressing their unique needs directly. How USC Segments Incoming Students The competing program at USC does this extremely well. They have identified two distinct prospective student groups, each with their own needs and expectations. Group one is comprised of students who are seeking advanced knowledge of the aging population to better serve the business community through entrepreneurial ventures or business services. This group is exposed to business mentors and leaders in the business community as well as coursework that is more applicable to business administration and management positions. The second group is comprised of students who are seeking advanced knowledge of the aging population to better serve the scientific community through research, counseling, and social work. This group is exposed to such mentors that would be applicable to the scientific disciplines. While both groups participate in the gerontology program seeking to gain advanced knowledge of the aging population they have very different goals from one another. In the above example the USC program directly speaks to the goals and interests of each student group and the subsequent communication and advising fosters a deeper more relevant relationship between the students and the program. The Gerontology Program at CSU Fullerton can capitalize on this distinction by recognizing the different goals of its prospective student groups and restructuring the program’s communication to directly talk to each segment. Note: Little to no restructuring of the actual program is needed to accomplish this goal. Implementing this segmentation strategy is simple. To do so follow these 4 steps: 1. S  urvey incoming students to identify which segment they align. Try asking questions about their interests and end goals with the program.

2. Create two sets of materials: one for the business group and one for the scientific group. Note: save money by printing both groups’ information on the same material but use colors and images to separate the sections. 3. Establish mentorship programs for each group, inviting business leaders to engage business minded students and social workers and scientists to engage scientific minded students. This engagement can be in the form of a semester long mentorship, professor for a day, or other type of engagement. 4. Create a Gerontology Mentorship Program (GMP) to institutionalize the building of relationships in the program. This satisfies two stakeholder groups. First, it strengthens relationships between students and the program and second, it creates relationships between students and employers.

Gap 2, the difference between the service design

and stakeholders’ expectations of service delivery, is also minimized by the above recommendation. In the survey responses from alumni a reoccurring theme was the desire for extra guidance and mentorship, which students saw as lacking in the program. – Allen et al. Following the above steps will help close this gap, providing students with mentorship they desire. In the surveys there was little mention of dissatisfaction with the service environment and overall design. This suggests the Gerontology Program has designed its services to be in close alignment with stakeholders’ expectations.

Gap 3 is the performance gap, or how closely the

Gerontology program’s service design and standards match the service delivery. Essentially this is where the rubber meets the road. Overall the feedback from students, alumni, and employers was positive or non-existent, suggesting the service is being delivered as expected by the stakeholders. However, the survey results did identify several deficiencies. First, the alumni survey pointed to a “lack of passion among faculty, alumni, and students.” – Allen et al. Several factors may be influencing this assessment. First, there exists a lack central mission and/or purpose for the Gerontology Program. As a result faculty may find enthusiasm for their roles difficult to muster. A central mission statement for the Gerontology Program may be all that is needed to encourage enthusiasm and excitement for the program from faculty and students. While another, more sensitive area is faculty compensation, a review of the compensatory and reward system maybe

a useful step when evaluating effectiveness of the current program. People respond to positive reinforcement and an internal audit may identify a weak evaluation and reward program. Improving such a program does not mean looking at compensation alone. Faculty and student achievement awards may be just as effective in increasing enthusiasm as increased compensation. In continuing the evaluation of the performance gap there is an opportunity to more clearly define stakeholder roles. This means informing stakeholders of what is to be expected from them throughout the program and beyond. The five examples listed below are meant to suggest roles for each stakeholder. New Students The role of new students is to enter the program as conduits of ideas to be shared with peers, faculty, and employers. The sharing of ideas empowers these students and facilitates the cross pollination of enthusiasm between them. This can be as simple as an hour in orientation sharing with each other and the group what they are looking to accomplish with the program and their motivation for joining. Alumni There are two roles alumni can play. First, alumni can play the role of mentor for current students. This deepens the relationship between alumni and the school while providing another channel for mentorship for current students. The second role is ambassador of the Gerontology Program at CSUF. Just as university alumni are empowered to be ambassadors of their school through apparel, license plate frames, other pieces of physical evidence and alumni communications, so should Gerontology Alumni be empowered. The opportunity to define these roles can be completed prior to graduation when graduating students are asked to sign-up for future mentorship opportunities, and are provided an opportunity to purchase merchandise. A formal letter to the graduating alumni can further clarify the school’s expectations of their role. Employers Clarifying the role of employers may help to streamline the funnel of applicants to employers. The role we recommend for employers is that of participant in the Gerontology Mentorship Program (GMP). Their participation can be rewarded with a “members only” gala or social, funded by the school, kicking off their participation in the program. Get the most bang for the buck out of this idea by inviting new students and alumni to the function as well. The role of employers also needs to be clarified for students. The expectation should be set


Methodology & Findings from the beginning that no employer has an intention or obligation to hire students from the program, although it is encouraged. Clarifying this upfront will seek to settle any missed expectations after such a program concludes. Faculty We recommend two roles for the faculty. First and foremost to be educators, providing the highest quality education they can. Second, to be a resource to students who seek to learn beyond the classroom. Clarifying this role can come at a program orientation session where faculty and students are introduced. The ideas proposed above seek to ensure the services being delivered to stakeholders meet and exceed the expectations of these stakeholders. The simple solutions provided can be implemented with little change to the existing program and for little cost. Proactively addressing the deficiencies in the service delivery will go a long way in generating delight that, as previously discussed, will facilitate the spread of positive word of mouth communication about the program.

Gap 4 identifies how closely external marketing

matches the service delivery. What this means is: are promises made promises kept? It has been brought to our attention a Gerontology Program Marketing Committee has been recently formulated. This is great news and we strongly support such a program. In order to close the gaps between what is being communicated to stakeholders and their expectations, it is important to bring all the external marketing communications under one umbrella. It is our sincere hope that by better understanding the service offerings and gaps as displayed discussed above, a strong internal marketing program will be created. We recommend the following guidelines to establish an effective and cohesive marketing program: 1. W  ork with the marketing and advertising departments and faculty at CSUF to develop cohesive brand standards for the program. 2. Work with the marketing and advertising departments and faculty at CSUF to develop cohesive cross-channel messaging campaigns. These campaigns would touch most external facing communications including website, print enrollment materials, print alumni materials, online marketing materials, and etcetera. Be sure to segment the messaging for key stakeholders.


3. Create a system of control for all external facing marketing communications. This can be as simple as a review and approval checklist signed off by the marketing committee members or as elaborate as formal meetings held to review communications prior to publication. 4. Adopt the above recommendations to close the feedback loop between decision makers and stakeholders. Following these guidelines will help ensure the major pitfalls of a wide communication gap are avoided. The biggest pitfall to avoid is overpromising and under-delivering. This needs to be moderated in any external communication including advertising and person-to-person discussion. Defining promises made to the customers might help to guide future communications to stakeholders. Failure to do so creates ineffective management of the stakeholders’ expectations and wider gaps resulting in less positive word-of-mouth referral business to the program. A final caveat is to share the cohesive marketing communications plans and guidelines with all internal staff in an effort to create a consistent voice across the program. We recommend the use of a recurring newsletter, sharing the marketing goals and plans. Relate this content to the impact on the reader’s contact with stakeholders for an extra impact. Effectively marketing the gerontology program requires a deep understanding of the differences between stakeholder expectations and promises made by the Gerontology Program. The above analysis provides an in-depth look at existing gaps with practical recommendations on how to shrink the gaps. Shrinking the gaps is equivalent to meeting and exceeding stakeholder expectations which creates positive goodwill inspiring word-of-mouth marketing. The Gerontology Program Marketing Committee has the ability to control the expectations of the stakeholders through its control of external communication. The program faculty and staff have the ability to control the expectations by matching their delivery of service with that promised by the program. The program seeks to benefit significantly from the cohesive effort of all involved.


Application of Other Services Marketing Models, Tools and Concepts In order to highlight the importance of “each” aspect of the California State University, Fullerton Gerontology program various service marketing models, tools, and concepts were applied. The models used provide a basis for further examination of various gerontology program components. The analysis utilizes the Continuum of Evaluation for Different Types of Products, the Tangibility Spectrum, the RATER, and exhibit 4-1 from Dr. Leonard L. Berry’s book Discovering the Soul of Service. An excellent evaluation model is Figure 3.1: Continuum of Evaluation for Different Types of Products. (ZBG, Pg. 51). According to Services Marketing: An Integrated Customer Focus Across the Firm (ZBG, Pgs. 50-51) search qualities can be determined by a customer prior to purchasing a product, experience qualities can only be determined following or during consumption, and credence qualities may be impossible to evaluate. Search qualities of the California State University, Fullerton Gerontology program include website design, pamphlets, brochures, the CSUF campus, and the Ruby Gerontology Center. Other search qualities include the gerontology program’s reputation, graduation rate and number of students hired following graduation from the program. Prospective students will evaluate CSUF’s gerontology program on search qualities prior to making

an enrollment decision, as such it is imperative that these qualities be maximized in order to appeal to prospective students. Experience qualities include the competency of professors, the amount of educational assistance provided, and the knowledge gained. Student enrolled in the gerontology program should feel like they have accomplished something upon completion of the Master of Science in Gerontology. Credence qualities represent the “value” of the education provided by CSUF. Students may find it difficult, if not impossible, to evaluate their time spent at CSUF. As such, it is imperative that the gerontology program provides students with “tangible evidence” to represent their experience at CSUF. Examples of tangible evidence include guaranteed internships or temporary positions with local companies following graduation. Figure 1.2: The Tangibility Spectrum provides a basis for evaluating the tangibility of various aspects of the CSUF gerontology experience (ZBG, Pg. 6). According to ZBG Pg. 6, the tangibility spectrum ranges from tangible dominant (e.g. salt) to intangible dominant (e.g. teaching). Most services will have both tangible and intangible components. Experiencing an education at CSUF is no different. Tangible components of the education process include textbooks, supplies, the CSUF campus, the Ruby Gerontology Center, professors, staff, and






Methodology & Findings fellow classmates. Intangible components include lectures and assistance outside of class. It is important to realize the importance of both the tangible and intangible components of education as they work together to create the final “service.” The RATER The service provided by CSUF’s gerontology program will be evaluated by students’ assessments of “service quality.” According to ZBG Pgs. 111-115, service quality will be judged based on the quality dimensions of the RATER. RATER is composed of reliability, assurance, tangibility, empathy, and responsiveness. RELIABILITY is dependable/accurate service performance. ASSURANCE is the ability of staff members to foster confidence and trust as well as provide courtesy and knowledge. TANGIBLES are the look of personnel, materials, and the facility. EMPATHY is the individualized care and concern provided to customers. RESPONSIVENESS is prompt service and a willingness to assist customers. Reliability is dependable/accurate service performance. Assurance is the ability of staff members to foster confidence and trust as well as provide courtesy and knowledge. Tangibles are the look of personnel, materials, and the facility. Empathy is the individualized care and concern provided to customers. Responsiveness is prompt service and a willingness to assist customers. It is important that the CSUF gerontology program addresses each component of the rater in order to continually provide outstanding service quality. Reliability relates to the gerontology program’s ability to educate students about the field of gerontology. The gerontology department should have a list of objectives and goals that students will achieve throughout the duration of their education. Upon completion of the gerontology program students should be aware of their completion of the programs stated objectives and goals. The CSUF gerontology program’s objectives and goals should be unique and valuable to students relative to competing gerontology programs.


Assurance relates to the expertise and experience of CSUF’s gerontology professors. In addition, assurance relates to the professors ability to express his or her knowledge to the students. Also, gerontology staff members must be familiar with all processes related to the gerontology program. Staff members will be evaluated on how effectively they can assist students in the application, counseling, and graduation processes among others. Tangibles relate to the overall appearance of the CSUF campus, the Ruby Gerontology Center, the website, pamphlets, brochures, forms, and both faculty and staff. All of the previously listed tangibles must be coordinated and visually appealing to both current and prospective students. Empathy relates to the attention students receive from all faculty and staff members. Empathy will be judged based on professor-student interactions as well as any contact with staff members. It is important to remember that students are the customer and should be treated as such. Responsiveness relates to the willingness and promptness of professor-student and staff-student interaction. Faculty and staff should respond to students in a prompt and caring manner. Discovering the Soul of Service: Exhibit 4-1 Strategy Connection Dr. Leonard L. Berry’s book, Discovering the Soul of Service, provides an excellent framework to further examine the service provided by CSUF’s gerontology program. According to Discovering the Soul of Service (DSS) pg. 64, a company’s core values, core strategy, integrated sub strategies, and execution form the Strategy Connection (Exhibit 4-1). Core values channel and inspire strategy and execution. In addition, core values are unchanging. The core strategy defines the business and rarely changes. The sub strategies are the activities that form the business and change frequently. Execution is the action of the sub strategies and must be continuously changed. In relation to the CSUF gerontology program, the core values are the basis of what the gerontology program is and what the program stands for. For example, core values could be, “Education Improving Lives.” The core values can also be thought of as the “mission statement.” The gerontology program must design all actions around achieving their mission. The core strategy of CSUF’s gerontology program is, of course, providing students with an education in the field of gerontology. The integrated sub strategies represent how CSUF delivers a gerontology education. Deliverables include class times, class locations, variety of classes, variety of majors, study plans, counseling, number of professors etc. One sub strategy of concern is CSUF’s lack of diversity in focus. For example, CSUF only offers one focus, “Administration and Policy.” Perhaps,



Marketing Plan

Strategy After analyzing our findings we have determined that the best course of action for the Gerontology Department would be to adopt a plan that narrows the provider gaps as outlined in section 4.6. In order to generate 25 enrollments per year within two years it is recommended that the Gerontology Department increase awareness and interest by creating an improved process of information gathering on the prospective students behalf. Narrowing the gaps and communicating the benefits that the program offers these students would increase awareness and thus increase enrollment. This can be completed by implementing email marketing campaigns to foster leads generated from the website. To improve service quality and overall program effectiveness the processes and physical evidence should be revamped. These items include the department’s website and physical collateral such as the brochures. In addition to the physical evidence, programs that facilitate learning and community support should be adopted. Such programs could generate relationships between potential employers and students resulting in a stronger network of individuals who work with and study the aging population. These strategies will lead to the reaching of the short term goals of increasing enrolment as well as the long term goals of having a solid gerontology program which will help grow the field and benefit not only the aging population, but the community as a whole. 5.2 TACTICAL PLAN Implementing the strategy set forth above requires specific implementation of programs, collateral, and communication medias. • Website Homepage Redesign • Program Brochure

5.2.1 PRODUCT The CSU Fullerton Gerontology Department offers a Master’s Degree in Gerontology. The basic product offering is an education in the field of Gerontology. Once attaining the knowledge offered, a graduate can expect to join the ranks of esteemed professionals in the field. Some careers available include elder law, interior design, fitness trainer, assisted living, home security, career planning, physical therapy, human resources, nutrition counseling, recreational therapy, home safety auditor, volunteer management, healthcare management, communal living coordinator, social worker, caregiver, and care coordinators. Some opportunities that aren’t highlighted enough are executive and director positions available for professionals with a graduate degree in gerontology. Benefits that an individual with this degree bring to an organization are: Understand influences on aging: • Biological • Cognitive • Psychological • Spiritual • Cultural Understand various changes taking place throughout the aging process: • Cognitive • Psychological Understand how and where to find available resources: • Healthcare • Community • Elder abuse and prevention Understand regulation • Policies • Theories • Applications for caregivers and recipients

• Landing Page • Email Marketing Campaign • Mentorship Program Including Two Brochures Sections below outline each marketing mix segment as the current program stands and includes recommendations for change as set forth by the marketing strategy.

Know how to apply knowledge to service output: • Counseling • Advising • Hands-on assistance


Marketing Plan Recommendations Based on data gathered from our research, there are many opportunities for product improvement which includes increasing awareness among prospective students and taking into consideration the feedback given by faculty and alumni survey respondents. Implementing the faculty panel described in section 4.6 above can narrow the listening gap and ensure that needs of all stakeholders are met.

Acquisition In order to increase new student enrollment in the gerontology program an online marketing campaign should be adopted. This would ensure the gerontology program is top-of-mind for those students who are searching for Master’s Degree in Gerontology. Please see 6.3 for the detailed marketing strategy.

5.2.2 PLACE The current gerontology courses are offered throughout campus. The Spring 2013 schedule shows classes being held in College Park, University Hall, McCarthy Hall,and the Humanities buildings.“The master’s program is flexible with required courses offered late afternoons and evenings allowing a student to pursue the degree full-time or parttime. In addition, students can choose electives from several disciplines to tailor their study plans to meet personal career objectives.” (Graduate handbook) The flexibility of having online courses available is an added benefit to students who wish to continue a career while attending graduate school.

Gerontology Mentorship Program The Gerontology Mentorship Program (GMP) is a first-ofits kind program geared towards building relationships between students and employers in their field of study. For students the program provides them with access to industry professionals who mentor them by answering questions, providing career advice, identifying goals, and leading the student to a successful future in gerontology. For mentors, the program provides direct access to the next pool of emerging gerontologists and strengthens their network of current and future industry contacts. The Gerontology program benefits with a new level of advising that builds a long lasting and meaningful connection to the school, program, and surrounding community.

Recommendations Many survey respondents expressed a need for advisement and a place where students and faculty can congregate. Having a place where students can meet and attain advisement would be beneficial in ensuring program enrollment and retention. 5.2.3 PROMOTION Many of our recommended actions fall into the promotion section of the marketing mix. The main goal as determined by our research and current goals of the Gerontology Department is promoting the Master’s Degree in Gerontology which is most crucial in attracting and retaining students. Branding A brand is greater than the sum of all of its parts. Therefore it is important that every customer facing piece of a brand communicates the values and positioning of the brand. The most important customer facing brand touch points include the website, print brochures, and marketing communications. We recommend a redesign of the following items and have created initial drafts that can be viewed in section 5.2.7 below. • Website • Landing Page • Brochure


Retention Strategies

While USC adapted their curriculum to create two programs, the CSU Fullerton does not have this luxury. In-fact the program at CSU Fullerton can achieve similar personalization through the mentorship program without changing the curriculum at all. How It Works The program works by dividing incoming students into two distinct segments, each with their own unique expectations and goals. Through our primary research and competitive analysis we found students viewed a Masters in Gerontology as a means to a career in business or science. Business careers include management positions at nursing and retirement facilities, policy consultants, and business consultants. Scientific careers include therapists, counselors, and researchers. GMP surveys incoming students to determine the most appropriate segment then assigns the student a professional mentor from the distinction of their choice. The mentorship program would seek to align the students and mentors based on interest in the chosen career. A mentorship kickoff event would be held at the beginning of each school year to introduce the students with their mentors. The event could be a catered dinner or cocktail social on campus. Holding a kick-off event provides a memorable bonding experience for both students and mentors and deepens the connection with the school and program.

Throughout the year the students would be expected to meet with their mentor for a minimum of three meetings per semester. Meetings could be held on-campus, at the office of the mentor, or off campus. The year would conclude with a grand banquet celebrating the accomplishments of that year and setting the tone for the future. The Gerontology Program at CSU Fullerton would need a faculty member in charge of leading the mentorship program. This person would be in-charge of matching students with a mentor, coordinating the beginning and end-of-year banquets, and following-up with students and mentors to ensure they are on-track with their meeting and communication goals. Requirements The mentorship program should be required for all incoming students. Their involvement helps facilitate a stronger connection to the Gerontology Program and positive outcome in the program. High quality mentors are important for the success of the program as well. Mentors play an influential role and should be selected with care. Mentors need to agree on the time-commitment ahead of time. They must be able and willing to court students and want to provide their expertise. They must be an alumni of CSU Fullerton. To ensure success from the program needs a leader inside the gerontology program. The leader must be able to champion the program and feel comfortable bringing students and professionals together. 5.2.4 PEOPLE Many students are already interested in the field of gerontology either by word of mouth, or having taken undergraduate classes that emphasize or highlight the study of aging. Many students are nursing students who would like to expand their careers. A common theme found among the surveys of current and prospective students revealed that many had a passion for the field. The survey also highlighted elements that would help students attain personal gratification in this field: making a difference and helping society. The students surveyed unfortunately didn’t have positive views of the faculty and alumni. They felt that the faculty and alumni didn’t share in their passion for helping others through the field of gerontology. Recommendations In addition to the mentor program outlined above, the program should strive to attract the best and brightest faculty and staff that would pass on the commitment to the study of aging to students who would then take that passion to the community they will serve upon graduating.

5.2.5 PRICE Compared to other programs in the state, CSU Fullerton’s fees are acceptable. CSU Fullerton Full Time Tuition Fees (Enrolled in 7 or more units per semester) Graduate Student Living Item Fees* Books & Supplies Room/Board Misc. Transportation TOTAL

Off Campus Apt. $8,012 1,720 12,212 3,000 1,400 $26,344

Part Time Tuition Fees (Enrolled in 6 or less units per semester) Item Fees* Books & Supplies Room/Board Misc. Transportation TOTAL

Graduate Student Living Off Campus Apt. $4,922 1,720 12,212 3,000 1,400 $23,254

University of Souther California The price of a Master’s in Gerontology from the University of Fullerton is drastically less than The University of Southern California. Master of Arts in Gerontology Tuition Application Fee Books & Materials TOTAL Master of Arts in Gerontology Tuition Application Fee Books & Materials TOTAL

$41,244 $85 $450-$1,000 $41,779-$42,329 $47,136 $85 $450-$1,000 $47,671-$48,221

Recommendations We do not recommend any pricing changes.


Marketing Plan Revised Service Map

Look, design, layout of promotional material (e.g. website and pamphlets)

Awareness of CSUF Gerontology Program: Referral, website, pamphlet, other

Based on the recommended deliverables the service map (Investigation process) will be drastically improved. Prospective students will follow a similar process, however, changes have been made including web page redesign, program brochure redesign, greater program offerings (Mentorship program), and the addition of a landing page as well as email marketing. The redesigned website will allow students to explore the CSUF gerontology program much more effectively. In addition, students will be impressed by the functionality and aesthetic appeal of the website. The program brochure redesign will provide prospective students with an excellent first impression

Ease of use, organization, design, aesthetic appeal of website

Visit CSUF Gerontology website

Contact Institute of Gerontology, Ruby Gerontology Center: (714) 278-7057 (General information and schedule on campus visit)

Onstage Contact Employee Actions

Customer Actions

Physical Evidence


Support Processes

Backstage Contact Employee Actions

Greet potential student, provide relevant information and answer questions


Schedule on campus visit for potential student

Website design and maintenance, pamphlet design and distribution, promotional planning and preparation

Website design and maintenance

Note appointment, notify staff, and prepare relevant documents

Call potential student to verify appointment (Reminder) Arrange for faculty, staff, and students to meet with potential student

Appropriate scheduling of faculty/ staff

of the CSUF gerontology program. For example, the brochure is both professional and aesthetically pleasing. The addition of the “mentorship program” provides a basis to differentiate the CSUF gerontology program from competing gerontology programs. The landing page will increase the ease of gathering information about the CSUF gerontology program for prospective students. In addition, the landing page will improve the application process. The email marketing campaign will expand the customer base while simultaneously maintaining customer contact. The recommended deliverables are expected to improve CSUF’s value proposition relative to competing gerontology programs which will aid in obtaining more applications. As such, enrollment is expected to increase.

CSUF campus, Ruby Gerontology Center (Interior and exterior), counselors, staff, professors, students

Visit Ruby Gerontology Center and meet with counselor

Pamphlets, application, and program material design, layout, aesthetic appeal etc.

Collect pamphlets, application, and various program material

Campus, website, pamphlets, promotional materials, faculty, staff, students

Analyze CSUF gerontology program’s value proposition (Tuition, commute, prestige, faculty etc.)

Research/ visit competing institutions (e.g. USC, UCI, CSULB)

Benefits vs. costs

Analyze competition’s value proposition

Compare CSUF’s gerontology program to the competition

(Tuition, commute, prestige, faculty etc.)

Benefits vs. costs

Benefits vs. costs

Decide whether or not to apply to the CSUF gerontology program

Line of Interaction Greet potential student, provide relevant information and answer questions Take student on campus tour

Provide potential student with pamphlets, application and various program materials

Greet, inform, answer questions, tour, provide materials etc.

Introduce student to gerontology faculty, staff, and students

Line of Visibility

Karen Wong for any additional questions

Prepare/schedule tour, and materials

Line of Internal Interaction Continuously update and monitor pamphlets, applications and program materials

Print, organize, and arrange pamphlets, applications, and program materials

Maintain/update website and promotional materials


Marketing Plan 5.2.7

Physical Evidence Revised Servicescape We considered USC Davis’ School of Gerontology website to be best-in-class due to its clean and easy to navigate website. Their website does a great job at engaging prospective students and providing them with pertinent information, without overwhelming them. Their site is much more directed and overall aesthetically pleasing. Using this site as a model, we developed an entirely new design of a more dynamic CSU Fullerton Gerontology Department website. The major issue that we aimed to solve through the redesign of the homepage is making it easier to navigate the site with succinct descriptions of links and a more intuitive user-interface. By having one navigation bar, students can easier target where they can obtain certain information. Another issue with the current CSUF Gerontology website is that a lot of the information is out-of-date or old. We wanted to ensure that the Gerontology Department appear active and relevant, so we made a “Featured News & Events” section, as well as a specific “Updates” section in regards to policies and procedures as it relates to the Gerontology Department. Additionally, it is important to add contact and social media information immediately on the homepage to allow for easier engagement with the Gerontology Department. In addition to re-working the website, the department should incorporate web marketing strategies to drive more traffic to the site. A landing page with a web form would entice prospective students to request more information. This can eliminate having to going through the expansive website in order to request more information. Instead of a student perusing the website looking for information, they can be directed to ask for more information where they can then be matched up with an advisor or office personnel to acquire more information.



Deliverables, Budget & Performance Measures


Redesign of Program Brochure ADMISSION TO THE Gerontology DEGREE MASTER’S PROGRAM Applicants must satisfy the university’s requirements for admission into graduate degree programs: a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution; at least a 2.5 grade point average in the last 60 units attempted; submission of the formal application form; and submission of two copies of transcripts from all institutions attended. In addition to the unversity application, a Gerontology Progams Application form must be filed with the Gerontology Programs Office. The following requirements need to be met: ▪

A bachelor’s degree in gerontology or in a related field with an undergraduate minor, certifcate or emphasis in gerontology, or the equivalent. In the absence of these, the applicant must have 12 units of upper-division coursework in gerontology, or their equivalents, and have completed a statistics course

A grade-point average of at least 3.0 in gerontology-related coursework

Three (3) letters of recommendations

A letter from the student stating professional objectives

In addition, the following factors will be taken into consideration: ▪

Previous paid or volunteer experience in working with elderly people

Research experience

Applications who have minimal deficiencies in these requirements, but who are otherwise highly qualified can be admitted in Conditionally Classified standing, with provisions made to remove deficiencies prior to the granting of classified standing. Students who have met the requirements for conditionally classified standing will be granted Classified standing upon submission of an adviserapproved study plan to the Graduate Studies office.



The master’s in gerontology requires 30 units of approved graduate work. Each st with the program coordinator, will develop a formal study plan that will include: REQUIRED CORE COURSES (12 units) ▪ Gerontology 500 Processes of Adult Development and Aging (3 units) ▪ Gerontology 501 Research Methods in Gerontology (3 units) ▪ Gerontology 503 Aging and Public Policy (3 units) ▪ Gerontology 595 Gerontology Internship (3 units)

GERONTOLOGY ELECTIVES (6-9 units) ▪ Gerontology 504T Selected Topics in Gerontology (3 units) ▪ Gerontology 506 Economics and Aging(3 units) ▪ Gerontology 507 Professional Issues in Gerontology (3 units) ▪ Gerontology 526 Administration and System Management in Programs f ▪ Gerontology 599 Independent Study (3 units)

MULTIDISCIPLINARY ELECTIVES (6-9 units) ▪ Afro-Ethnic Studies 401 (Special Course Only); Anthropology 408; Co Adults]; History 413 (Special Course Only); Kinesiology 455; Kinesiolo 448; Political Science 426 (Special Course Only); Psychology 520[T] [C Psychology 543; Sociology 433; Sociology 460; Sociology 501[T] [Life Women’s Studies 410

THESIS, PROJECT OR COMPREHENSIVE EXAM (0-6 units) ▪ Gerontology 597 Project (3-6 units) ▪ Gerontology 598 Thesis (3-6 units) ▪ If a project or thesis is not included on a student’s study plan, an additiona courses and a comprehensive exam must be successfully completed


tudent, in consultation

for Older Adults (3 units)

ounseling 475[T] [Older ogy 473; Philosophy Cognitive Aging]; e Span Development];

al 3-6 units of elective


Deliverables, Budget & Performance Measures 6.2

Mentorship Program The Gerontology Program at CSUF recognizes the

At the beginning of the program students are paired

understanding of the im

unique goals of its student. Through its one-of-a-

with a mentor and gerontologist who works in a

play in the workforce. T

kind Gerontology Mentorship Program students are

scientific discipline. Throughout the course of the

to have a first-hand look

paired with a professional mentor whose real-world

program this mentor will often become a valuable

at work.

scientific experience provides direction, clarification,

network contact and personal friend. Students are

and support in completing the Gerontology Master’s

introduced to their mentors at the Grand Gala event

program and securing employment.

kicking off the program!

At the conclusion of graduates to become

the next class fills in th Throughout the program students will meet with

celebration and optimis

their mentors a minimum of three meetings per

the students achieve th

semester. Meetings are held on-campus, at the

This monumental occas

mentor’s place of business, or off campus. Each

of-the-year banquette!

meeting is an opportunity to converse in detail about

students, faculty, and m

the gerontology program, its application to business,

their experiences throug

and other topics that help facilitate a deeper

How Does It •

Grand Gala and introduction of mentors

Meetings with mentors throughout the year

End-of-year Banquette with mentors to celebrate

Learn from


Professional Gerontologists

Social Workers and Direct Service Providers



mportant role gerontologists

This is a chance for students

k at successful gerontologists


each year as one class professional gerontologists,

heir place. This is a time of

sm for all those who helped

heir goals including mentors.

sion is celebrated at an endThe ensuing party is where

mentors get together to share

gh-out the program!


Business Focus


EXPANDyour network LEARN from business professionals personalize your learning

EXPERIENCE California State University, Fullerton P.O. Box 6848, Fullerton, CA 92834-6848 College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Deliverables, Budget & Performance Measures 6.3

Email Marketing & Landing Page The USC gerontology program is pervasive online. Search queries for gerontology and related words trigger an advertisement for the USC program. USC is using this online marketing campaign to be listed on the top of the page for prospective students searching from a gerontology program. This placement does several things. First, it increases awareness for the USC program with every impression of the advertisement. Second, it creates an opportunity to build a database of prospective students through its subsequent landing page and form-capture. The landing page and form capture feed an email database used to repeatedly connect with prospective students, proactively engaging them in their information search. CSU Fullerton has an opportunity to create awareness and more leads by leveraging this same online marketing system. Setting up this online marketing campaign is relatively simple and inexpensive. What is needed is: 1. A dedicated landing page with contact capture form 2. Contact management system to capture leads from the form-fill 3. Program brochure to give to prospective students when they complete the contact capture form 4. Email marketing platform to message contacts 5. Email templates to send to contacts An example of a dedicated landing page and email marketing messages are included for reference in the appendix of this report. The best way to see for yourself how the USC program works is to try it out! This type of online marketing is paid for using a cost-perclick business model. what this means is CSU Fullerton only pays Google Adwords when a prospective student clicks on the link in the advertisement. If the landing page is successful in converting students to filling out contact capture form the Gerontology program is paying for more prospective students. On average there are 1,600 Google searches per month for the keyword, “masters in gerontology”. The gerontology program at CSU Fullerton needs to proactively market to this niche in order to proactively position itself in the prospective student’s set of attractive schools.


College of Humanities & Social Scie


expanding und



Learn more

about our Master of Sc in Geronology

Our Master of Science program is re the best in the nation, combinining tr scientific and applied areas of geron various departments across the Univ the program, the student is able to d that will meet his or her individual ne

In addition to course work in researc program provides preparation for wo settings. It can also be tailored to me student who wants to prepare for a d

M.S. in Gerontology – aimed students with the specific skil necessary to respond profess effectively to the needs of an

To receive a FREE informational bro complete and submit the form on thi

2012 CSU Fullerton College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Ru Gerontology Center - 08 Phone (657) 278-7057



derstanding in aging


Faculty & Research

News & Events


Student Center




ecognized as one of raining in both the ntology. Because versity participate in design a study plan eeds.

ch and theory, the ork in a variety of eet the needs of the doctoral program.

d at equipping lls and knowledge sionally and aging population

ochure, please is page.


Download Brochure Fill out the form below to receive your free program brochure. All fields are required Full Name

Are there opportunities for financial support?

There are several opportunities for financial support including graduate assistantships, student loans, and scholarships. Information on student loans can be found on the Web at Information packets and applications for other general scholarships and awards can be obtained from the Graduate Studies Office, McCarthy Hall, Room 103, (714) 278-2618. Information on assistantships is available through the program office in which you would like to work.



Beverly and Arnold Miller University Scholarships in Gerntology These awards, about $1,000, are open to continuing junior, senior or graduate students in gerontology with a specialization in older adult health/wellness. Criteria include academic achievement, professional promise and demonstrated interest in a career in the area of older adult health/wellness. Emeriti Memorial Scholarship II This award, about $500, are open to continuing junior, senior or graduate students with declared minor or emphasis in gerontology who have completed at least 12 units of the gerontology program. Criteria include scholastic achievement, academic accomplishments, community service and professional promise.

Zip Code

How can I obtain more information?


How can I apply?


Visit our website at:

You can visit or call:

INSTITUTE OF GERONTOLOGY Ruby Gerontology Center, Room 8 California State University, Fullerton (714) 278-7057

The easiest way is to apply online at AdmissionApp/grad_apply.asp. Alternatively, you can request an application through the Gerontology Programs Office at (714) 2787057, or contact Admissions, California State University, Fullerton, CA 92834-6900, (714) 278-2011.

WHY PURSUE A Master of Science in


What is the Master of Science Degree in Gerontology?

Well-trained specialists with expertise in gerontology are critical to meeting the challenges we face as the aging population in our society continues to grow. The Master of Science in Gerontology is an interdisciplinary program with a focus on administration and policy and provides training in both scientific and applied areas of gerontology. The Master’s degree in gerontology provides students with appropriate knowledge of theory and research; social policy and practice; program design, management and evaluation; and analysis and repsonse to social problems of aging. In addition to course work in research and theory, the program provides preparation for work in a variety of settings. Because various departments across the University participate in the program, the student is able to design a study plan from several disciplines to meet personal career objectives or tailored for students who want to prepare for a doctoral program.

California State University, Fullerton P.O. Box 6848, Fullerton, CA 92834-6848 College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Download Program Brochure

Deliverables, Budget & Performance Measures 6.3

Budget The above budget was created to estimate the cost incurred by the gerontology program should they implement the recommended deliverables. Each item is a best guess and is subject to change based on already established relationships the gerontology program can leverage to lower the price. The website redesign is the most expensive piece. Custom web design agencies and consultants would charge $20,000 or more to redesign the Gerontology program website. We acknowledge that while this is an ideal solution it is likely out of budget for the program. Therefore we recommend partnering with the I.T. department at CSUF to find a viable solution within this price range. It is likely the I.T. department will need to authorize and approve any changes to the program website. It is also likely the website is built on an existing content management platform that can be easily changed to reflect the recommended design. We are confident an internal consultant can be located for $5,000 or less. The brochures for the program as printed by CSU Fullerton and are not a direct expense to the program. The mentorship program brochures will need to be printed by the gerontology program. We budgeted 50 brochures per semester at a cost of $0.50 per full color brochure. A mainstay of the mentorship program was holding a kickoff event and end-of-the-year event. For each event we offered a budget to-not-exceed $1,000 which covers food, decorations, certificates, awards, and entertainment. The purpose of the events are to build relationships with

Deliverables Website Redesign Program Brochure Mentorship Program Brochure Mentorship Program Events Online Marketing - Google Adwords Online Marketing - Landing Page Online Marketing - Email Platform TOTAL


the students and their mentors facilitating word of mouth promotion for the program. The online marketing budget includes a Google adwords campaign, the design of a landing page, and use of an email program. The Google adwords budget is based off of Google’s traffic generating and budget tool ( com). In order for the CSU Fullerton gerontology program to appear in most searches related to the gerontology program it would cost approximately $10 per day. The gerontology program would only pay when an ad is clicked minimizing the risk. The dollar amount per day is budgeted to double in the spring to account for an increase in search traffic as students search for masters programs. This budget outlay would ensure CSU Fullerton appears in strong position when students search for a masters program in gerontology. The budget includes $2,000 to design and develop the landing page for the campaign. The design of a landing page is the lynchpin in the success of converting visitors to leads for tee program. Therefore we recommend using a professional developer to build a landing page optimized for conversion and link it to an email marketing and contact management system. The email marketing platform is the portal from which communication will be automatically sent to new subscribers. We recommend using a service such as Constant Contact or MailChimp which will cost approximately $50 or less per month.

Spring 2013 $5,000 $0 $50

Fall 2013 $0 $0 $50

Spring 2014 $0 $0 $50

Fall 2014 $0 $0 $50

Total $5,000 $0 $200

$1,000 $1,800 $2,000 $150 $10,000

$1,000 $900 $0 $150 $2,100

$1,000 $1,800 $0 $150 $3,000

$100 $900 $0 $150 $2,100

$4,000 $5,400 $2,000 $600 $17,200


Measures & Metrics Measuring and tracking results is the only sure way to determine if a marketing strategy is successful in achieving its goal. Measurement should be done in layers with each layer providing new information that can be used to refine and improve the marketing and gerontology program. One person should be assigned the responsibility of tracking all relevant data and providing frequent updates on the status of each tracked variable. There are many tools available to track this information and it will be up to the gerontology department to determine the best tools to fit their needs. The primary goal of the marketing strategy is to increase enrollment in the marketing program to 25 students in two years. The first layer of tracking is the number of students enrolled in the program. Since the current number of students enrolled is six (6), tracking this number will be relatively easy. The next layer of tracking is the number of new student applications received by the gerontology program. Now the number of applications can be compared to the number of enrolled students. If applications increase. while the number of enrolled students stays the same or decreases there is a problem in the conversion process that needs further investigation. This number will provide indication of how attractive the CSU Fullerton gerontology program as it compares to competitors by assuming every applied and accepted but non-enrolled student chose a competing institution. The number of applications should be tracked over time to show seasonality in the application process. The applications should also be tracked by referral source.

To do this, include a section on the application asking: “Where did you learn about the Masters in Gerontology at CSUF?” Options should include: • Google Search • Google Ad • Website: • Current Student • Alumni • Advisor • Other: This information will help refine future online marketing efforts by focusing advertising dollars when students are most likely to apply and in places where they are discovering the program. The final layer of tracking is the degree to which current students would recommend the program to a friend, and how likely they are to remain involved with the program post graduation. The first measure shows the level of satisfaction the students have with the program. If they are satisfied they will be likely to recommend the program to friends. However, if they are unsatisfied further follow-up should determine the cause of their dissatisfaction. The second measure is an indication of the level of stickiness of the gerontology program. What this signifies is the strength of the relationships students developed with their teachers, mentors, and peers during the program. Strong relationships suggest success in the retention marketing strategy. Both measures should be collected via an exit interview or follow-up survey with students in the program.


Deliverables, Budget & Performance Measures

Other Recommended Steps to Improve Enrollment FACULTY PANEL Start a faculty panel comprised of Gerontology Program educators, staff, and administrators. The purpose of said panel is to collect and review feedback from students, alumni, and employers that can be used to improve the overall student outcome and success of the program. The creation of a panel will institutionalize the collection of student feedback and show department wide commitment to listening to the needs of stakeholders. We recommend three meetings per semester. Meeting one will collect employer feedback, meeting two will collect student feedback, and meeting three will collect alumni feedback. ONLINE DIRECTORIES Online directories are an important source of information for people searching for a specific topic. There are numerous online directories for graduate programs including,, and While it is assumed a schools’ program is listed on here this is not always the case. For example, claiming to be the number one graduate school directory did not list the Masters program at CSU Fullerton. Fortunately both the and GraduateGuide. com did link to CSU Fullerton, however these sites should be continually updated with the latest on the program and to ensure it is being listed. INTERNSHIP PROGRAM Creating an internship program that benefits students and the community is something that the department should focus on. The recognition of aging as a normative life stage, with the unique needs of the aged deserving of attention and care, is one in which all members of society have a vested interest. (Olson, 2007) Because there is an increase in the aging population, preparing individuals for the important work in the gerontology field is crucial. In an article published by Nursing Economics (2006), Alison Smith explains the benefits that internships bring to organizations: “A truly successful internship experience benefits the student and the host organization. Organizations often underestimate the value that an intern can bring to their organization as well as cite the supervisory burden and the expense of an intern as reasons for not offering such opportunities. In fact, interns can accomplish a great deal with a modest amount of orientation and supervision.”




References Allen Et Al. (2012). Master in Gerontology Program Current Student Survey [Research Summary] Allen Et Al. (2012). Master in Gerontology Program Prospective Student Survey [Research Summary] Aslin Et Al. (2012). Master in Gerontology Program Organization Survey [Survey Responses] Berry, Leonard L. (1999). Discovering the Soul of Service. New York, NY: The Free Press. California State University, Fullerton: Master of Science in Gerontology. College of Humanities and Social Sciences. [Brochure] California State University, Long Beach. (2012). December 16, 2012, from california/Los-Angeles/united-states Friedland, R. B., Summer, L., & National Academy on an Aging Society (Gerontological Society of America). (1999). Demography is not Destiny. Washington, DC: National Gerontology Academic Program. (2009). Mission and Goals. October 26, 2012, from Mandy. (2012, 10 11). Admissions Counselor. (A. Aslin, Interviewer) Morris Et Al. (2012). Master in Gerontology Program Faculty Survey [Research Summary] Morris Et Al. (2012). Master in Gerontology Program Alumni Survey [Research Summary] National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information. Home and Community Based Services. October 26, 2012, from Services/ Home_Community_Services.aspx Olson, M. D. (2007). Assessing attitudes toward older adults and interest in gerontology among social work students. Barry University School of Social Work). ProQuest Dissertations and \ Theses, , 208. Retrieved from id=9840. (304742421). Program in Gerontology. (2012). December 16, 2012, from Peterson’s: graduate-schools/university-of-la-verne-college-of-business-and-public-management program-in-gerontology-000_10017988.aspx Program in Gerontology . (2012). December 16, 2012, from Peterson’s: http://www.petersons. com/graduate-schools/california-state-university-dominguez-hills-division-of-health sciences-program-in-gerontology-000_10019961.aspx Smith, A. P. (2006). Internships: A glance beyond the bedside. Nursing Economics, 24(6), 331-2. Retrieved from


Span, Paula (2012). New Numbers on Elder Care. Retrieved from http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes. com/2012/07/05/new-numbers-on-elder-care/ United States. (2011). A Statistical profile of older Americans. Washington, DC: US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging. University of La Verne. (2012). December 16, 2012, from http://www. University of Southern California. (2012). December 16, 2012, from http://www. University of Southern California: Davis School of Gerontology. [Brochure] USC Davis School of Gerontology. (2012).Graduate Programs. October 26, 2012 from http://gero. USC Davis School of Gerontology. (2012).The Cost of Your Education. October 26, 2012 from http:// Zeithaml, Valerie A., Bitner, Mary Jo, Gremler, Dwayne D. (2009). Services Marketing: Integrating Customer Focus Across the Firm. New York, NY: Mcgraw-Hill/Irwin.


Expanding Understanding in Aging

Chris Adrian Aaron Aslin Catherine Praegar Howard Tran

Gerontology CBL Project  
Gerontology CBL Project  

Gerontology CBL Project