Marketing and Reputation in the Services Sector: Higher Education in South Africa and Singapore

Marketing and Reputation in the Services Sector: Higher Education in South Africa and Singapore

Johan De Jager (Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa) and Werner Soontiens (Curtin University of Technology, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/jisss.2010070103
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Over the past few decades the tertiary sector has developed from a predominantly inward focussed industry serving public interest to an internationalised and commercially competitive industry. Resulting from this fundamental change is a drive to better understand the most prominent dimensions that impact on internationalisation, more particularly, the expectations and experiences of students. Although some of these can be argued to be country specific, and thus differentiate between markets, others are universal and impact on the overall industry. One of the latter is a pressure to consider and treat students as clients introducing all the dynamics of service delivery and management. The primary objective of this paper is to identify the most important variables related to marketing and reputation issues when selecting a university in South-Africa and compare the same for Singapore students. This study revealed that the most important consideration for the South African sample, regarding marketing and reputation related variables when choosing an institution of higher education, is the academic reputation of the institution, while the marketing activities were regarded as priority by the Singaporean sample.
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Marketing Practices And Reputation In The Higher Education Sector

Flavian, Torres, and Guinaliu (2004) argue that large numbers of competitors in a global environment are constantly attempting to offer something different in their services to distinguish them from competition. Da Silva and Batisda (2007) are of the opinion that relationship building with customers is crucial for commercial survival. This also includes public organisations. The author points out that the building of corporate reputation has become a strategic issue for organisations that requires a series of organisation changes. The building of reputation requires a strong customer-focused orientation, better performance of an organisations day-to-day management and operating activities, more efficient and effective communication with its publics and a greater emphasis on recognition. As a result the author emphasized the importance of increasing an organisations image that is transmitted to consumers. Alsop (2004) explains that the top managements own reputation affects corporate reputation and states that high profile CEO’s like Bill Gates still affects the company image and is ultimately accountable for reputation.

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