Promotional tools at selected universities in the Tshwane Metropolitan Region
Konyana, Samkele Vuyokazi Mizpha
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Due to the competitive environment, the changes in the higher education landscape and limited financial resources, higher education institutions are forced to evaluate and review their marketing strategies in order to recruit suitably qualified students. This study will examine the impact of the current promotional tools at public higher education institutions in the Tshwane metropolitan region. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the promotional tools used by public higher education institutions in the Tshwane Metropolitan Region from a student perspective. Furthermore, the study strived to establish whether the demographics of the students played a role regarding the value they attach to choice factors when selecting a higher education institution. Prospective students will benefit from the study because promotional tools were identified to make informed decisions about their institution of choice. The study also identified the effect of the existing promotional tools used as sources of information by students and identified the most appropriate promotional tools to enable proper allocation of the promotional budget. An empirical study was conducted using a questionnaire adapted from Wiese (2008) study. Likert scale was used to structure questions. Non-probability sampling was used to select first year students from two public institutions in the Tshwane Metropolitan Region. Data was captured into a software package and analysed using SPSS Version 18. Descriptive statistics summarised the results of the research questions, namely; socio demographical profile of respondents, factors influencing students’ decision making process, the information sources used by students and the effectiveness of promotional tools. The results of this study showed that students preferred higher education institutions to use personal communication tools for student recruitment. Interestingly, students rated social media as one of the most important communication methods. Furthermore, emphasis on the core product and specific aspects of the tangible product and augmented product was found. It was also noted that students from diverse backgrounds and provinces used different sources of information during their search for enrolment at a higher education institution. The study limitations were that the survey was only restricted at two higher education institutions in the Tshwane metropolitan region. It was noted that marketing practitioners at higher education institutions may renew their existing promotional tools (open days and career exhibitions) to gain competitive advantage.