Prospective Students' ZMOT in ICT-Based International Universities: An Application to a Mexican HEI

Prospective Students' ZMOT in ICT-Based International Universities: An Application to a Mexican HEI

Jose Manuel Saiz-Alvarez (Tecnologico de Monterrey, Spain) and Oscar Alberto Hoyos-Villa (Universidad Autónoma de Manizales, Colombia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6255-9.ch011


The zero moment of truth (ZMOT) is a concept related to marketing that is changing gradually the traditional strategy used to select a product or service offered in the market. This concept has gained popularity among consumers due to the internet, but ZMOT has been barely analyzed during the selection process of prospective students choosing an international HEI (higher education institution). The objective of this chapter is to reflect how the combination of ZMOT, FMOT (first moment of truth), and SMOT (second moment of truth) is a successful strategy for global universities based on digital marketing to attract prospective students. An educational procedure that can be followed by technology-driven international HEIs, and by universities aiming to attract prospective students. In this sense, the authors propose a brand-new concept entitled PSA (potential for student attraction) that they apply to two campuses (Guadalajara and Mexico City) of the Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico.
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Rooted in a social perspective, higher education is perceived not only as a process of personal identity but also of the place that will occupy people in society, regardless of their family of origin. Choosing the most appropriate higher education institution (HEI) is a relevant decision affecting social networks (Orellana et al., 2017) and socioeconomic wealth. In fact, the most advanced countries in the world tend to have the most efficient education systems on the planet, as educational efficiency is the degree of transfer and retention of quality information to students, what results in low school dropout rates.

The strengthening of education is given, to a large extent, not only by the amount and quality of knowledge acquired during the learning process, but also by the application of emotional intelligence in the knowledge transmission, as the latter determines the acquisition of competencies by students (Bisquerra, 2005; Cejudo, & López-Delgado, 2017; Wong, Wong, & Peng, 2010). Also, emotional intelligence determines the emotion regulation process (social sharing) (Bucich, & MacCann, 2019). As well as happens with mass customization (Aichner, 2012), prospective students follow a decision-making process based on a sort of multi-channel choice procedure, where they have the possibility of choosing among different HEIs using the integration of offline and online channels. Millennials or Y-Gen and centennials or Z-Gen mainly use digital circuits based on mobile technologies and social networks to decide, where the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT), defined as the previous research made on the Internet carried out by future consumers, shoppers, and/or students to gather quality information about the product or service that the individual wants to acquire or enjoy. The ZMOT is complemented with the FMOT (First Moment of Truth), defined when consumers buy the product or service they want, and the SMOT (Second Moment of Truth) determined by the post-service experience. At this respect, Wolny and Charoensuksai (2014) affirm that the combination of ZMOT, webrooming, and showrooming, define how digital-based multi-channel influences across different stages of decision making to determine the journey towards the student election of an HEI.

The intense competitive process between HEI worldwide has transformed the vision of institutions towards their students, who are no longer considered as merely passive, to become end customers who must receive a quality-based educational service with the best price-quality relationship. This change of perspective from being treated as a passive student to become a client is not always well understood in HEIs anchored in the past or located in very isolated regions. This resistance to change leads to the fact that, on many occasions, these HEIs can decay and even disappear.

Because of this process, HEIs are now competing in “glocalized” (think globally, act locally) markets, as students have been transformed into clients, while universities (private and public) are increasingly viewed as firms working in the education industry. The role played by private HEIs is increasingly remarkable, because the competition between them to survive is generating higher levels of educational quality and research in these organizations. Besides, more top excellence HEIs in teaching and research incentives their internationalization. A process that is especially intense in small and medium-sized countries, as Popescu and Helsen (2019) show for the Netherlands. In this nation, and regarding HEI’s internationalization, 59 percent have a central-level internationalization plan, 17 percent are developing central-level internationalization policies, 15 percent do not have a separate central-level plan, and only 9 percent are not interested in developing an internationalization plan.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Glocalization: Formed by two terms, globalization and local , this concept expresses the idea: think globally, act locally.

Distance Matrix: Primarily used in the Converse’s breaking-point model, this matrix represents the breaking point of the institutional influence of a firm working in a highly competitive market.

ZMOT: Acronym of the zero moment of truth is defined by the previous research made on the internet carried out by future consumers, shoppers, and/or students to gather quality information about the product or service that the individual wants to acquire or enjoy.

Global University: Type of HEIs defined by being internationally recognized, have a global impact and being primarily internationalized with agreements with more than 50 foreign universities. Only the HEIs located at the top 200 in the QS World University ranking for 2019 or in the 2019 QS Top 50 under 50 belong to this category.

Triple Accreditation: Also known as the Triple Crown, it is formed by HEIs being accredited by AACSB (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, USA), AMBA (The Association of MBAs, United Kingdom), and EQUIS (EFMD Quality Improvement System, European Union). Only 90 HEIs have achieved this accreditation, which represents 0.66 percent of active HEIs worldwide.

FMOT: Acronym of first moment of truth, it consists of the purchase or election act done by consumers or students, respectively.

SMOT: Acronym of second moment of truth, and applied to HEIs, this concept is being determined primarily by the post-service experience, reputation, and alumni. When the university has a good SMOT, future enrollment accelerates.

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