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.

Prospective international students rely on friends in Australia.

How to Satisfy and Communicate with International Students (Image copyright Pexels)

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.

 

Advertisements

Understanding Digital Marketing – Student Course Book and Management Guide – Damian Ryan

Featured

Understanding DIGITAL Marketing – Marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation.

Course Book from Damian Ryan and Calvin Jones, 2009, Kogan Page.

Following is a university or higher education course book for digital marketing including preface from the author Damian Ryan and table of contents including key features or components of digital marketing culture and practice.

Marketing strategy and management of in the digital era requires new approaches and understanding in both teaching and management.

Understanding Digital Marketing – Damian Ryan (Image copyright LinkedIn/Kogan Page)

Top down traditional marketing precludes synchronous feedback with horizontal and bottom-up communication as central to digital marketing strategy of systems via social media carrying WOM word of mouth of authentic messages that cannot be controlled by marketing ‘commissioners’.

First some quotes:

We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future. (Marshall McLuhan)

The press, the machine, the railway, the telegraph are premises whose thousand-year conclusion no one has yet dared to draw. (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Whoever, or whatever, wins the battle for people’s minds will rule, because mighty, rigid apparatuses will not be a match, in any reasonable timespan, for the minds mobilized around the power of flexible, alternative networks. (Manuel Castells, author of The Network Society)

 

Preface: Welcome to a brave new world

The world of digital media is changing at a phenomenal pace. Its constantly evolving technologies, and the way people are using them, are transforming not just how we access our information, but how we interact and communicate with one another on a global scale. It’s also changing the way we choose and buy our products and services.

People are embracing digital technology to communicate in ways that would have been inconceivable just a few short years ago. Digital technologies are no longer the preserve of tech-savvy early adopters, and today ordinary people are integrating them seamlessly into their everyday lives. From SMS updates on their favourite sports teams, to a free video call with relatives on the other side of the globe, to collaborative online gaming and much, much more: ordinary people – your customers – are starting to use digital media without giving it a second thought.

The global online population was around 1.3 billion at the end of 2007. Projections suggest that figure will hit 1.8 billion by 2010. In the developed world internet access is becoming practically ubiquitous, and the widespread availability of always-on broadband connections means that people are now going online daily to do everything from checking their bank statement, to shopping for their groceries, to playing games.

What makes this digital revolution so exciting is that it’s happening right now. We’re living through it, and we have a unique opportunity to jump in and be part of this historical transition.

In the pages that follow we’ll take you on a journey into the world of digital marketing. We’ll show you how it all started, how it got to where it is today, and where thought leaders in the industry believe it’s heading in the future. Most importantly of all we’ll show you – in a practical, no nonsense way – how you can harness the burgeoning power of digital media to drive your business to the crest of this digital marketing wave, and how to keep it there.

This digital marketing book will:

  • help you and your business to choose online advertising and marketing channels that will get your ideas, products and services to a massive and ever-expanding market;
  • give you that elusive competitive edge that will keep you ahead of the pack;
  • future-proof your business by helping you to understand the origins of digital marketing and the trends that are shaping its future;
  • give you a concept of the scale of the online marketplace, the unfolding opportunities and the digital service providers who will help your business to capitalise on them;
  • provide practical, real-world examples of digital marketing successes – including leading brands that have become household names in a relatively short space of time;
  • offer insight through interviews, analysis and contributions from digital marketing experts;
  • ultimately, give you the tools you need to harness the power of the internet to take your business wherever you want it to go.

 

We set out to unravel the mysteries of digital marketing by taking you on a journey. As we travel into this digital world we’ll reveal how leading marketers in sectors as diverse as travel, retail, gambling and adult entertainment have stumbled on incredibly effective techniques to turn people on to doing business online, reaping literally millions as a result. We’ll show you how to apply their experience to transform your own digital enterprise.

Whether you are looking to start up your own home-based internet business, work for a large multinational or are anywhere in between, if you want to connect with your customers today and into the future, you’re going to need digital channels as part of your marketing mix. The internet has become the medium of choice for a generation of consumers: the first generation to have grown up taking instant access to digital information for granted. This generation integrates digital media into every facet of its daily lives, in ways we could never have conceived of in even the recent past. Today this generation of digital natives is entering the workplace and is spending like never before. This is the mass market of tomorrow, and for business people and marketers the challenge is to become fluent in this new digital language so that we can talk effectively to our target audience.

Television froze a generation of consumers to the couch for years; now digital media are engaging consumers and customers in ways that the early architects of the technology could never have dreamed of.

When the Apple Mac came along it opened up the art of publishing, and as a result print media boomed. Today, the same thing is happening online, through the phenomenon of user-generated content (UGC) and social networking: ordinary people are becoming the directors, producers, editors and distributors of their own media-rich content – the content they, their friends and the world want to see. But that’s only the start. Prime-time television audiences are falling, print media are coming under increasing pressure to address dropping circulation figures and – while the old school sits on the sidelines, bloated and slowly atrophying – digital media have transformed themselves into a finely tuned engine delivering more power, opportunity and control than any other form of media could dream of. In other words – it’s time to follow the smart money!

Over the last 15 years I’ve had the absolute pleasure and pain of working at the coalface of the burgeoning and insistent new media. I’ve met lots of smart people and spoken to literally hundreds of organisations with massively diverse and challenging agendas. The one common factor was a hunger for data and knowledge: anything that would give their particular brand that elusive competitive edge.

When putting this book together we wanted to make it as informative and practical as possible. Each chapter begins with a summary of its content, so you can easily browse through the chapters and select the one that addresses the topic you’re interested in. We’ve purposely left out the jargon – and where technical terms have been absolutely necessary we supply a clear definition in the text, backed up by a complete glossary at the back of the book that explains all of the terms we use in plain English. The result, we hope, is a book that is clear, informative and entertaining, even for the complete digital novice.

In your hands you hold what independent marketers around the world have been crying out for: a book that shows you how to use the internet successfully to sell your products or services. We begin with the origins of the medium and take you through the various disciplines of digital marketing campaigns. We travel around the world collecting facts, figures, comment and opinion from acknowledged experts, brands and organisations in different fields, getting them to spill the beans on how the net delivered the goods for them.

We’ll look in detail at areas like search marketing and affiliate marketing, we’ll delve into e-mail marketing and creative online executions and look at various digital marketing strategies, some moral, some less so.

In Amsterdam last year, I was granted a late-night audience with some of the best ‘Black Hat’ marketers in the world. These people, who will remain nameless, earn their living scuppering the efforts of competing brands in the digital marketplace. Black Hat marketing is real – and it can do real damage to your business. We explain what it is and, more importantly, give you some practical steps you can take to help protect your business against it.

It took television 22 years to reach 50 million households – it took the internet just five to achieve the same level of penetration. Things are progressing at an unbelievable rate, and we’re approaching a pivotal point in marketing history – a time when digital marketing will overtake traditional mass media as the medium of choice for reaching the consumer of tomorrow.

In the summer of 1993 I interviewed Jerry Reitman, head of direct marketing for Leo Burnett in Chicago, for my magazine goDirect. During our conversation Jerry pointed at the computer on his desk and said: ‘And that. . . that’s where it’s going.’ I wondered what he was talking about.

Fifteen years on and practically the entire population is online. Consumers have grown tired of mass media marketing and are turning instead to the internet. They want more engagement, more interaction. They’re starting to spend most of their leisure time in a digital world, and creative digital marketing is the way your business will reach them. Welcome to my world. . . Damian Ryan

Table of contents

  1. Going digital – the evolution of marketing
    2. Strategic thinking
    3. Your window to the digital world
    4. The search for success
    5. Website intelligence and return on investment
    6. E-mail marketing
    7. Social media and online consumer engagement
    8. Online PR and reputation management
    9. Affiliate marketing and strategic partnerships
    10. Digital media creative
    11. A lot to look forward to
  • The future’s bright: head towards the light
  • Word of mouth: savvy consumers control the future
  • Search: a constantly evolving marketing powerhouse
  • Mobile: marketing on the move
  • Tracking and measuring human behaviour In-game advertising
  • Holistic marketing: blurring lines and integrating media
  • Dynamic, unpredictable, exciting – and essential

 

For more articles about digital marketing lecturing and the teaching of the same, click through.

 

Marketing Strategy – 4Ps – 7Ps – 4Cs

The Marketing Mix 4P’s and 7P’s Explained

The advent of significant service sectors and digital marketing and communications, have changed both marketing strategy and dynamics of business in reaching consumers.

From the Marketing Mix (2018):

‘Before we go into all the elements of the marketing mix, and to avoid confusion between the 4p’s, 7p’s and even the 4c’s – you should pay attention at the image below to understand what makes up the entire marketing mix.

4Ps 7Ps and 4Cs in marketing strategy and digital world.

4Ps or 7Ps in Marketing? (Image copyright MarketingMix 2018)

The image above is a simplistic diagram of the elements that are included in a marketing mix.

It is a basic concept, but here’s the cold hard truth…

If you don’t understand it in detail or at all, then there is a fairly certain chance that you are missing out on the key ingredients that will ensure scalable success from the ground up.

It has been said many, MANY times in business that if you don’t know your target market well enough and figured out what they exactly want, you’ll commit entrepreneurial suicide and the business will inevitably fail.

On the other hand, you can be sure to attract mountains of profits when you have a deep understanding of these concepts. Understand this fully and you will know exactly how to maximize profits on your own sustainable business or help become a valuable asset within your company and gain endless promotions.

Sadly, for many existing marketers and aspiring marketers, this concept is glossed over as “everyone seems to know what it is” and is disregarded as basic knowledge. But do you really know what it is? Let’s find out.

Now, what is a marketing mix, exactly?

 

  • Marketing Mix 4P’s Product, Price, Place and Promotion.

  • Marketing Mix 7P’s People, Process and Physical Evidence.

  • Marketing Mix 4C’s Customer Value, Cost, Convenience and Communication.’

 

Of the above key changes have occurred in how ‘people’ ‘communicate’ in a digital environment carrying word of mouth WOM quickly and broadly to attain value from trusted sources, in other words out of the control of conventional marketing.

 

Reference:

Marketing Mix 2018, The marketing mix 4P’s and 7P’s explained, viewed 17 July 2018, < http://www.marketingmix.co.uk >

 

 

 

International Education Marketing – 4P Products 7P Services and Word of Mouth

4Ps for Products to the 7Ps for Services

and WOM Word of Mouth

 

While many focus upon the promotional aspect of the 4Ps model of ‘product, price, place and promotion’, research has emphasised that education marketing must use ‘7Ps’, not just ‘4 or 5Ps’.  This would also include people, facilities and processes, thus broadening any analysis and perceptions of the market (Ivy, 2008).

Further, the ‘7Ps’ model was developed to account for differences in service industries versus sub-optimal ‘4Ps’ model for physical goods (Rafiq & Ahmed, 1995).  The ‘People’ and ‘Process’ are very relevant for this research, as they focus upon need to communicate openly with target market through skilled personnel, while viewing marketing, communication and sales as a process, not an instantaneous purchasing event e.g. buying a consumer product or staple (Acutt, 2015).

 

There have been criticisms of this ‘7Ps’ model as being out of date, highlighting the need for new conceptual foundations and marketing methodologies representing today and tomorrow’s world (Konstantinides, 2010).  With e-marketing, digital or internet-based marketing coming to the fore, there needs to be more analysis of consumer behaviour regarding brand experience, information search, brand familiarity and customer satisfaction, both rational and emotional (Ha & Perks, 2005).

 

More recent research suggests that the ‘complex’ student decision making process is viewed as rational economic action when in fact much is emotional and relies upon peers, influencers and related WOM to assess overall or general quality, plus more practical concerns such as immigration and visa (Nedbalová et al, 2014).  How does a student or family access WOM based information and advice from peers and influencers leading to a study decision, possibly through student feedback and analysis?

 

Why is WOM Word of Mouth Important?

 

WOM is important in all communications, and for consumers to participate in social learning through WOM communication, the preference for many if not most (Campbell, 2013).  WOM is related intimately with personal and cultural factors, with informal accepted as a significant communication channel of influence (Kotler & Keller, 2012).

 

Social networks and WOM rely upon users and friends’ reviews and comments, plus helping to generate positive and negative WOM, with ‘trust’ being very important (Barreda et al., 2015).  WOM is also an essential element of digital or e-Marketing and SM, if not the most important, with a need to encourage interactivity and engagement amongst the target market about a product (Whitler, 2014).

 

WOM can now be carried further by social media, be leveraged for better marketing and communications, and it cannot be ignored, especially if negative.  WOM carried digitally across borders amongst friends who may be informed significantly by personal or national culture considerations, whether differences or similarities.

 

Therefore, logically consideration may need to be given to cultural dimensions of marketing and impacts on strategy, differences or similarities? This will lead onto investigation of cultural dimensions and e-Consumer Behaviour – What do they do?

 

Reference List:

 

Acutt, M. (2015) The Marketing Mix 4P’s and 7P’s Explained.  Available at: http://marketingmix.co.uk/ (Accessed on: 17 May 2017).

 

Barreda, A. A., Bilgihan, A., & Kageyama, Y. (2015). The role of trust in creating positive word of mouth and behavioral intentions: The case of online social networks. Journal of Relationship Marketing, 14(1), 16-36.

 

Campbell A. (2013) ‘Word-of-Mouth Communication and Percolation in Social Networks’. The American Economic Review. 103(6) pp. 2466-2498 Published by: American Economic Association. Available at: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.103.6.2466 (Accessed on: 16/12/2016).

 

Ha, H. & Perks, H. (2005) ‘Effects of consumer perceptions of brand experience on the web: Brand familiarity, satisfaction and brand trust’. Journal of Consumer Behaviour. 4(6) pp. 438–452.  Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cb.29/abstract (Accessed on: 18/11/2016).

 

Ivy J. (2008) ‘A new higher education marketing mix: the 7Ps for MBA marketing’. International Journal of Educational Management. 22(4) pp. 288 – 299 Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09513540810875635 (Accessed: 18/11/2016).

 

Konstantinides, E. (2006) ‘The Marketing Mix Revisited: Towards the 21st Century Marketing’.  Journal of Marketing Management. 22(3-4) pp. 407-438. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/1 0.1 362/026725706776861 190 (Accessed: 16/12/2016).

 

Kotler, P. & Keller, K. (2012) Marketing Management. (14th Ed.) Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education – Prentice Hall.

 

Nedbalová E., Greenacre L. & Schulz J (2014) ‘UK higher education viewed through the marketization and marketing lenses’. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education. 24(2) pp. 178-195. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08841241.2014.973472  (Accessed on: 21/12/2016).

 

Rafiq, M. & Ahmed, P. (1995) ‘Using the 7Ps as a generic marketing mix: an exploratory survey of UK and European marketing academics’. Marketing Intelligence & Planning. 13(9) pp. 4-15.

 

Whitler, K. (2014) Why word of mouth marketing is the most important social media.  Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kimberlywhitler/2014/07/17/why-word-of-mouth-marketing-is-the-most-important-social-media/#2f76616d54a8 (Accessed: 10/05/2017).

 

Marketing Word of Mouth Push Pull Factors International Student Satisfaction

International Education Marketing – Push and Pull Factors, WOM, Satisfaction & ROI

 

Extract from MBA dissertation:

How do international students’ information seeking behaviour relate to marketing and communications strategy in international education?

 

Some decades ago research highlighted home country ‘push factors’ vs destination ‘pull factors’ considered with following prioritised steps: decide to study abroad, choose destination and then institution; much impacted by WOM (word of mouth) of influencers, peers and family (Mazzarol & Soutar, 2002).

This model is too simplistic nowadays with many other potential factors or dimensions.  Additionally, it ignores the detailed factors related to how students search for information, that matches an optimal strategy i.e. including WOM amongst friends, more on social media (SM) and MIS (Management Information Systems) to match (Whitler, 2014).

 

Further, in addition to course choice, is the need for increased service and information quality to support students and increase the perception of quality, suggesting a linkage between quality and effective marketing (Russell, 2005).

 

Other issues that have not been addressed include the lack of detailed marketing strategy evaluation to assess effectiveness and direct outcomes, versus return on investment based upon on enrolment outcomes, while ignoring processes in between (Hemsley-Brown & Oplatka, 2006).

 

Good strategy should allow focus upon relevant factors, along with WOM communication for analysis and transmission of marketing messages, through analysis of the information seeking factors making up that phase or dimension.

 

Further, this may include revisiting marketing process based KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), that may not represent the process fully e.g. both existing and prospective student behaviour over time, digital channels or social media carrying WOM, and accordingly maybe invalid?

 

Reference List:

 

Hemsley-Brown J & Oplatka, I (2006) Universities in a competitive global marketplace. International Journal of Public Sector Management. 19(4) pp. 316 – 338. Available at:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09513550610669176 (Accessed 18/11/2016).

 

Mazzarol T & Soutar G (2002) Push pull factors influencing international student destination choice.  The International Journal of Education Management. 16(2) pp. 82-90. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09513540210418403 (Accessed: 18/11/2016).

 

Russell, M. (2005). Marketing education: a review of service quality perceptions among international students. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. 17(1). pp. 65-77 https://doi.org/10.1108/09596110510577680 (Accessed: 21/03/2017).

 

Whitler, K. (2014) Why word of mouth marketing is the most important social media.  Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kimberlywhitler/2014/07/17/why-word-of-mouth-marketing-is-the-most-important-social-media/#2f76616d54a8 (Accessed: 10/05/2017).