A Study of Perceived Marketing Messages in International Higher Education Services Marketing

A Study of Perceived Marketing Messages in International Higher Education Services Marketing

Author: 
Christopher L. Brandmeir
Program of study: 
D.B.A.
Abstract: 
This qualitative virtual ethnographic study of the perception of marketing messages in the marketing of higher education services uses Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory to understand how differences in culture may result in varying perceptions of higher education services marketing messages online. Despite the increase in services as a part of the world economy, higher education services marketing lacks a theoretical basis. This study draws attention to the need for such a theoretical base and also contributes to a better understanding of how culture can impact the perception of marketing messages in this area. As the competition for more students increases among institutions and entire countries, a better theoretical understanding of marketing these services is vital to the success of those marketing efforts and institutions. Participants complete Hofstede’s VSM and then respond to a college website, online, to two open-ended questions asking about the participant’s perception of marketing messages conveyed by the website. A qualitative methodology is used in coding themes evident from the data. This study highlights the need for better understanding of the influence of cultural differences in the perception of marketing messages and the need to evaluate and portray the delivery of such messages in a way that serves both prospective students and the higher education institutions they consider attending. Recommendations are made for further research to fill this apparent gap in marketing theory for the marketing of international higher education services.