Importance of International Student Satisfaction in Marketing Communications

IEAA International Education Association of Australia has released a report by Ravichandran Ammigan PhD and Debra Langton looking at four dimensions of the student experience arrival, learning, living and support services; an extract of the report follows below.

In summary, the very useful report finds important to focus upon satisfied students who then spread positive word of mouth to prospective students; this is supported by previous research.

However, the use of the traditional expression ‘marketing materials’ does not seem to match the language of international students who are ‘digital natives’ and would most likely use social media under the umbrella of digital marketing.  Further, related to marketing, and contrary to the report, Australia does have issues in developing diversity outside of PRC and India, for which effective digital marketing system (not a one off strategy) should be a solution.

Nonetheless, it does focus upon the need to have students as central in marketing and one could suggest that in addition to maintaining quality for satisfied students, also involving students in creating customer generated media that can be used in digital marketing.

International student experience in Australia

In today’s increasingly competitive market to recruit and retain international students, it is critical that higher education institutions stay current on student perceptions, preferences and experiences with various aspects of the university environment. Ensuring students have the right level of support and resources can contribute to their academic, social and cultural success. It can also directly influence their overall institutional satisfaction and whether they would recommend their institution to prospective applicants.

This paper investigates the experience of international university students in Australia with respect to arrival, learning, living and support services. It is based on previous research by Ammigan and Jones (2018) and uses data from the International Student Barometer (ISB), to examine the relationship between student satisfaction and institutional recommendation for over 21,000 international students at 34 Australian institutions.

This paper provides guidance for university administrators and support staff on how to adjust and improve resources and services for international students, which can be an important component for enhancing institutional recruitment and retention strategies.

International students in Australia

As with other leading destination countries around the world, the higher education student population in Australia is culturally diverse, which presents opportunities for both international and domestic students to interact with peers from different cultural, social and linguistic backgrounds (Arkoudis et al., 2013).

According to the Australian Government’s Department of Education and Training (2017), more than 600,000 international students chose Australia in 2017. This is a record high and represents a 13 per cent increase since 2016. International students now make up more than a quarter of all students at certain universities.

In 2017, the international student sector generated over AUD30 billion, making it the country’s third-largest export (ICEF Monitor, 2017). It is predicted that Australia will overtake the UK to become the world’s second highest destination for international students in 2019 (Marginson, 2018).

International student satisfaction Improving student satisfaction is a major goal for universities – a satisfied student population can be a source of competitive advantage with outcomes such as student retention, recruitment and alumni relations (Arambewela & Hall, 2009). Student satisfaction, which generally results from an evaluation of a student’s educational experience, occurs when actual performance meets or exceeds expectations (Elliott & Healy, 2001). In recent years, there has been a growing interest from international educators to gather and utilise international student satisfaction data as a way to influence campus change and strengthen support services for this community (Yu, Isensee, & Kappler, 2016).
This is not surprising as the international student experience can be a critical recruitment and retention strategy for providing a high-quality education and remaining competitive in the global student market and world rankings (Shah & Richardson, 2016).

The Australian Government’s National Strategy for International Education 2025 recognises the importance of student experience. Goal 2 outlines a number of actions that expressly address the delivery of supports that:

  • meet or exceed student needs
  • build capacity for employment; and
  • encourage a strong international student voice to inform continuous improvement.

A study on the attitudes, goals and decision-making processes of over 67,000 prospective
international students from 193 different countries found that course offerings was the main driver of student decisions on institution and location, with the expectation that the course of study would lead to career prospects (QS Enrolment Solutions, 2018).  Reviews and marketing materials showcasing the quality of teaching and experience of academic staff was the second most influential factor in choosing their institution.

The same study found that prospective students were most concerned about the cost of living and being able to afford their tuition fees. Having a relative or friend in a destination country and receiving information about local culture and customs can help reduce concerns and worries about going to study abroad and impact students’ choice of a particular location. Campus safety and a welcoming environment were also important factors in international students’ institutional and destination choice…..

Satisfied students are strong advocates

For international students, choosing an institution is based on a number of ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors, which may influence them to leave their home countries to study abroad (Banjong & Olson, 2016). Such factors include knowledge and awareness of the host country, quality of education, institutional reputation, tuition and living costs, scholarship opportunities, safety and security, university environment, quality of life, visa requirements and post-graduation employment options
(Mazzarol & Soutar, 2002).
Mavondo et al. (2004) suggest that institutional recommendation is closely related to satisfaction, where satisfied students are more likely to recommend their institution to potential or future students.  It is therefore important, especially from a marketing and recruitment perspective, for institutions to understand the factors that impact upon international student satisfaction which in turn drive propensity to recommend.

Reference:

Ammigan, R. & Langton, D (2018). The International student experience in Australia: Implications for administrators and student support staff. International Education Association of Australia (IEAA). Retrieved from www.ieaa.org.au

See original report via https://www.ieaa.org.au/research/student-experience IEAA Student Experience for full list of references.

For further articles and blogs on international education marketing, international students, information seeking journey, WOM word of mouth, student satisfaction and digital marketing click through.

 

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University Student Learning – Digital Marketing Skills for Work

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How does a university, or even high school student acquire digital marketing skills and related employment?

There is a now clear crossover between seemingly mutually exclusive disciplines language, communications, information systems, websites and marketing.  Following is a helpful article from Kim Le via Marketing.com.au:

5 Tips for University Students to Help Kickstart Your Career in Digital Marketing

October 16, 2018 By Kim Le

Having been born a first-generation Australian with immigrant parents who value good education, I was always pushed to perform the best academically. Against their will for me to study Medicine or Law, I’m currently completing my double bachelor’s degree in Business and Information Technology, majoring in Marketing and Enterprise Systems Development at the University of Technology, Sydney…..

How can university students learn digital marketing?

Digital Marketing Internships (Image copyright Pexels)

….As one of the countless number of students approaching their final years of tertiary studies, it was only natural for me to begin to contemplate about which career path I should take. It wasn’t until my 4th year at university that I discovered digital marketing was the perfect bridge between my two university degrees. The more I researched about the industry, the more intrigued I became. For those students who are looking to get started in digital marketing, these are the steps I took which I believe helped me get my first job in digital marketing, and I don’t doubt that it will help you too.

  1. Start a Blog or Website

If you don’t already have a blog or website, start one! If you’re a beginner, blogs are super easy to make, they’re free, and anyone can do it. WordPress is a great platform to use for both blogs and websites and having one will allow you to practice and improve your design, SEO, social media, basic programming and marketing skills. Your employers will also look upon it favourably!

  1. Don’t Just Rely on What You’ve Learnt at University

Marketing subjects at university teach very broad concepts and usually don’t delve deep enough into digital marketing…..In my degree, the elective subject Digital Marketing and Social Media is the only subject which concentrates on digital marketing concepts. Because the options for digital marketing subjects available were limited, I found it difficult to acquire an in-depth knowledge about digital concepts. It would be highly beneficial for students like myself who are interested in the digital world if universities could incorporate more core digital marketing subjects in their curriculum.

  1. Search for Opportunities Yourself

The world of digital marketing is constantly growing and is extremely competitive. With a lot of entry or intern marketing positions nowadays looking for interns or graduates with ‘at least 2 years previous marketing experience required’, it’s a small wonder why many students like myself are finding it difficult to get our foot in the door in the digital marketing industry.

  1. Grasp Every Opportunity

Push yourself out of your comfort zone and grasp every opportunity that comes your way. I received an email one day from UTS Careers services about Digital Cadets, a free one-day digital marketing event, hosted by Indago Digital. I didn’t have to think twice about applying because digital marketing events and opportunities don’t come by very often and I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn more about digital marketing from industry professionals.

  1. My First Digital Marketing Job with Indago Digital

A few weeks after the event, I reached out to Indago Digital to provide feedback for the event as well as inquire about their current positions and internships. A staff member was quick to respond, and I had an interview scheduled for the following week. The first part of the interview process was with the Managing Director, Gary, to get to know more about me. I then proceeded onto the second step, which involved a skills test to examine if I was a good fit for the role. I was able to successfully pass the test and began my internship at Indago Digital not long after.’

 

One could also add that the ATDW Australian Tourism Data Warehouse Marketing e-kit is a very useful resource for those learning about digital marketing, especially sole or small business in tourism and hospitality, plus other services.

For more articles about digital marketing, SEO etc. click through.

 

 

How Should Digital Marketing be Taught?

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Marketing has changed significantly in the past ten or fifteen years due to digital channels and more services versus products.  This impacts not just what expertise or qualifications lecturer, teacher or tutor needs, but how marketing is taught in the classroom and coursebooks used e.g. inclusion of relevant digital content and a change in concepts.  Digital communication technology leverages word of mouth and horizontal communication while precluding control of messages.

Teaching, tutoring or lecturing for digital marketing

Digital Marketing Requires Different Teaching and Lecturing Expertise

Following is an introductory summary to teaching marketing round digital concepts in the classroom:

Marketing Digital Offerings Is Different: Strategies for Teaching About Digital Offerings in the Marketing Classroom.

Scott D. Roberts The University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas, USA Kathleen S. Micken Roger Williams University, Bristol, Rhode Island, USA

‘Digital offerings represent different challenges for marketers than do traditional goods and services. After reviewing the literature, the authors suggest ways that the marketing of digital goods and services might be better presented to and better understood by students……. The authors also present specific suggestions for assignments and class discussions to foster students’ critical thinking about the marketing implications surrounding digital offerings.

When the U.S. economy shifted away from its manufacturing base, services marketing theory arose to help marketers deal with the unique nature of the increasingly intangible offerings (Berry 1980). More recently, the economy has shifted again, driven by digital technologies. Not only have products been digitized, but information and communication technologies have also made it possible to distance producers from consumers, both in space and time. Marketing practice has responded to this environmental change, but academic marketing thinking has not come as far.

We first became aware of the problem while teaching MBA students concentrating in digital media management. For their marketing management course, we used Kotler and Keller’s (2009) Marketing Management. Kotler’s work has arguably been one of the central repositories of marketing’s received theories and ideas. We quickly realized, however, that the discussion of the digital offerings that these students were so engaged with (film, music, and video games) was lacking……

…..How has the marketing discipline responded? Our purpose here is not to suggest that there has been a dearth of literature about the impact of digital technology but rather that there are significant gaps in the literature about how to address digital offerings conceptually….What is missing, however , are pedagogical proposals for teaching about the challenges of marketing digital offerings.

The need to fill this gap comes not only from marketing practice, but also from accrediting bodies. The 2013 Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) standards man date that business programs include learning experiences that help students understand the integration of information technology in business…. Clearly, it is time to equip our students with tools for understanding and embracing all things digital. And it is time to equip faculty with the tools to do so. Faculty are faced with students for whom digital offerings are pervasive, yet who need to learn how to market those offerings strategically…..

IHIP framework of Intangibility, Heterogeneity, Inseparability and Perishability

This IHIP paradigm, however, did not anticipate digital offerings. At its core, a digital offering is made up of data files (recorded ones and zeros) stored on either the drives/media of consumers or on the servers of marketers/facilitators (e.g., in the cloud). These files come together in the form of solutions (bundles of benefits) for consumers.

Many traditional offerings have become available digitally including maps, tax preparation, customer service, reference sources, higher education, and distance medical consulting….. when applying the IHIP framework to digital offerings, some significant differences arise, both in terms of the features of the offerings as well as the attendant marketing challenges…..

Digital technologies have become ubiquitous in marketing. In adjusting pedagogy to acknowledge these changes, marketing faculty have begun to incorporate more technology in the classroom, have begun to address the new options available to marketers for engaging with customers, and in some cases have created not only new courses but also new majors/concentrations.

External forces also propel this movement forward: accrediting agencies and organizations seeking interns and employees who understand the technology as well as how to use it strategically.

The production of unifying marketing frameworks has not always kept pace with the speed of digital business evolution, and thus marketing texts are not providing timely structures for conceptualizing these changes. This paper suggests ways faculty can effectively use the existing services marketing IHIP framework, but also presents the deviations from it necessitated by digital offerings.

Additionally, we offer suggestions for assignments and discussion probes to augment faculty presentations. Faculty may find the suggestions here helpful in organizing their own thinking about these issues, which in turn will help move the discipline forward.’

 

Kotler has recently published a related book ‘Marketing 4.0’ see Digital versus Traditional Marketing.

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Negative Issues of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is featured in Mumbrella regarding results of survey on digital marketing, presumably using external agencies, firstly focused round metrics or analytics, brand reputation and fraud.

Digital marketing delivered with dodgy analytics

Importance of Analytics in Digital Marketing (Image copyright Pexels)

Most marketers have had negative experiences in their digital marketing, AMAA survey suggests

September 11, 2018 8:13 by ZOE SAMIOS

Most marketing and agency professionals say they experienced a negative event with their digital marketing, a new survey by the Audited Media Association of Australia (AMAA) indicates.

According to the AMAA, around 60% of the 407 surveyed said they had experienced some sort of bad outcome with their digital marketing. A total of 36% said they were impacted by misreporting of measurement metrics, while 32% were affected by “brand safety compromises”, and 13% said they were affected by ad fraud.

The new data comes from AMAA’s annual Trust Matters Research which aims to provide insights into ad trading decisions. The research was completed by agency The Insights Grill through an online survey between April and May this year.

Of those who said they had had a negative impact, 70% said it had led to wasted advertising dollars.

Concerns about non-human traffic have increased, with 53% of professionals arguing it was an issue to tackle in the next 12 months, compared to 39% last year. More than 50% of marketers also saw ad fraud as an issue, compared to 44% the year prior.

However, one of the biggest issues to tackle in the next 12 months, according to marketing and agencies, is proof of performance measurement.’

 

What are the solutions for any business or organisation to avoid such issues?

 

  • View any digital or marketing strategy as an ongoing system, not a campaign.
  • Do your digital marketing in-house for greater validity and control.
  • Consult and leverage with your customers and stakeholders, both internal and external.
  • If compelled to use external agencies, use CPD or training to learn about digital marketing, become involved, and take an interest in what is being done, not just as a budgetary item for ROI analysis, later.
  • Have your own metrics i.e. ensure valid data points are linked to analytics for feedback, that can be accessed while demanding any agency is transparent in the metrics they use, observe or report.
  • Use mystery shoppers to gauge the UX user or CX customer experience (still stalked by banner ads after purchase?).

 

For more articles and blogs about digital marketing services click through.

 

 

 

 

Trends in Digital Marketing and Business Strategy

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Technology, data and design are key to successful organisations, supported by the right culture, what are the latest trends?

Curiously, while speaking of customer experience CX and their ‘journey’, there is little focus upon customer driven strategies or CGM customer generated media content that is informed, logical, authentic and economic?

‘From Prateek Vatash of Econsultancy via AMI Australian Marketing Institute – Digital Intelligence Briefing – Executive Summary

Econsultancy’s 2018 Digital Trends report, published in association with Adobe, is based on a global survey of 12,795 marketing, creative and technology professionals in the digital industry across EMEA, North America and Asia Pacific.

Now in its eighth year, the research looks at the most significant trends that will impact companies in the short to medium term. As part of this year’s study, we have also identified a number of top-performing companies in order to identify how they are focusing their activities and investments differently compared to their peers.

High-performing companies are those organisations that exceeded their top 2017 business goal by a significant margin, and who have also significantly outperformed their competitors.  Key insights from the research include:

 

Companies continue to focus on the customer experience (CX), as well as the content required to facilitate this. Organisations committed to CX are shown to outperform their peers.
– Asked about the single most exciting opportunity for the year ahead, optimising customer experience (19%) again comes out on top, ahead of data-driven marketing that
focuses on the individual (16%) and creating compelling content for digital experiences (14%).
– Organisations with a ‘cross-team approach with the customer at the heart of all initiatives’ are nearly twice as likely to have exceeded their top 2017 business goal by a significant margin (20% vs. 11%).
– Just under two-thirds (62%) of companies agree they have ‘a cohesive plan, long-term view and executive support for the future of [their] customer’.
– The top strategic priority for organisations in 2018 is content and experience management. Almost half (45%) of companies surveyed rank this as one of their three most important priority areas for the year ahead, with a fifth (20%) stating that this is their primary focus.

 

We are entering a ‘design and creativity renaissance’, with top-performing companies recognising the importance of these capabilities to complement data and technology excellence.
– The survey has found that just under three-quarters (73%) of respondents say their companies are investing in design to differentiate their brands.
– Organisations describing themselves as ‘design-driven’ are 69% more likely than their peers to have exceeded their 2017 business goals by a significant margin (22% vs. 13%). – – Similarly, organisations where creativity is highly valued are 46% more likely to have exceeded their 2017 business goals by a significant margin (19% vs. 13%).
– Organisations that ‘have well-designed user journeys that facilitate clear communication and a seamless transaction’ are 57% more likely to have significantly surpassed their 2017 business goals (22% vs. 14%).

 

Investment in technology and related skills is paying dividends, with integrated platforms fast-becoming a prerequisite for success.
– A lack of integrated marketing technology reduces the chances of providing a seamless customer experience and can also be frustrating for marketers and other employees who want to go about their jobs without unnecessary restrictions in their ability to acquire, retain and delight customers.
– In terms of their tech setup, 43% of organisations report a fragmented approach with inconsistent integration between technologies. Top-performing companies are almost three times as likely as their mainstream peers to have invested in a highly-integrated, cloud-based technology stack (25% vs. 9%).
– Digital skills are vital for a range of marketing tools and platforms. Almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents agree that their companies are ‘combining digital marketing skills with technology’. Companies doing this are nearly twice as likely to have surpassed their 2017 business goals by a significant margin (20% vs. 11%), according to our analysis.

 

AI set to play a growing role in helping marketers to deliver more compelling real-time experiences.
– When asked about the themes and technologies they are most excited about over a three-year time frame, ‘delivering personalised experiences in real time’ is by far the most popular choice across all regions, with more than a third (36%) of company respondents, and 40% of their
agency counterparts, selecting this option.
– Top-performing companies are more than twice as likely as their peers to be using AI for marketing (28% vs. 12%). Only 15% of companies are already using AI, but a further 31% are planning to do so in the next 12 months. Looking only at respondents with annual revenues of more than £150m, the proportion of organisations using AI increases to 24%.
– Analysis of data is a key AI focus for businesses, with companies keen to create insight out of the vast quantities of often unstructured data being generated by customers’ activity. On-site personalisation is the second most-commonly cited use case for AI.’

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