Identifying the Basis for Segmenting Higher Education: Evidence from Egypt

Identifying the Basis for Segmenting Higher Education: Evidence from Egypt

Maha Mourad (American University in Cairo, Egypt) and Hamed M. Shamma (American University in Cairo, Egypt)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4014-6.ch004
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This paper reviews the developments taking place in the Higher Education (HE) industry. The focus of the research is to identify the main variables used to segment universities in Egypt. The research is qualitative in nature as the dimensions for segmentation were derived based on a series of in-depth interviews followed by two focus groups. Perceived quality and level of internationalization were found to be the two most important dimensions for classifying HE institutions in Egypt. These two dimensions formed the basis of a two-by-two matrix, which was used to segment HE universities into four main segments. The four HE segments that were identified are: legacy, prestigious, imitators, and the uncertain. Each quadrant was identified based on the level of perceived quality and the degree of internationalization. The matrix is useful for universities’ administrators to identify their current position and assess their future positioning strategies.
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Overview Of Segmentation Strategies

Market segmentation was introduced in the marketing literature for the first time by W. Smith in 1956. Since then, segmentation became a fundamental concept in marketing just like the classic four marketing mix elements: product, pricing, promotion and place. Segmentation is defined by Hoek, Gendall, and Esslemont (1996) as the technique for understanding the market and dividing the market into groups with similar characteristics that could be satisfied by different offers. Companies go through the segmentation process in order to make better marketing decisions such as attract the right customers, retain profitable customers, come up with new product/service introduction and finally maintain product/service profitability (Hoek et al., 1996).

There are several well-known segmentation variables that are extensively used in marketing. These variables include: demographic, psychographic, personality, benefits, lifestyles, usage, loyalty, image, situation, behaviour and decision-making process (Sirgy, 1982; Dickson, 1982; Cathelat & Wyss, 1989; Blattberg, Peacock, & Sen, 1976; Zotti, 1985; Haley 1968; Young, Ott, & Feigin, 1978; Aaker, 1995; Kotler, 1997). However, those are not the only variables that marketers can use, other variables may be developed depending on the product or service that is investigated. Marketers can identify specific variables depending on the market and the target customer profile (Nguyen & LeBlanc, 2001).

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