Task : The university or college is an organization with customers and markets, just like most others. Although students are not prone to think of their college or university as an organization that undertakes marketing and market segmentation, in fact higher education has become increasingly competitive in recent years. The breakdown of provincially-mandated barriers and the onset of online educational options has made the competition for customers (students) more intense. As such, many colleges and universities now use extensive market segmentation analysis to refine their message and win customers.
Consider Nipissing University’s market segmentation. Analyze the following:
This analysis should culminate in an integrated assessment of the following points.
A successfully completed assignment will clearly answer all questions above, applying courseconcepts and analysis to the question at hand.
What segmentation strategy does it appear that Nipissing is currently using? Is it effective?
According to Lee, Kim, Ko & Sagas (2011) segmentation strategy can drive the failure or success of an organization. The implementation and development of an effective segmentation strategy is a complicated task for most organizations, with technological advancements and other factors making a contribution. Improved technology and other various critical factors have transformed markets and enabled organizations to access market parts which would have initially been costly to pursue. Additionally, market stability and the size of the market affect the strategy which an organization uses to segment its market (Slater, Hult & Olson, 2010). Currently, Nipissing University appears to be using the geographic segmentation strategy. The university’s strategy divides their market into various segments in regards to location, with the belief that people from the same local area, region or country origin to some extent have similar needs, thus students are expected to originate from a narrow geographical area.
Nipissing University’s geographic segmentation is particularly pertinent for various prospective student groups, who might prefer studying close to home. In particular, local students at Nipissing University are the main targeted market due to their proximity to the university’s premises. However, the local students differ in various respects due to different aspects including their behavior in engaging with non-study activities which might be different in comparison with students who travel away from their home and live inside the campus. Nipissing University’s market segments are further divided into segments based on their countries of origin since international students share common characteristics including their key reasons or expectations for studying overseas.
What new strategies might be more effective? Why?
Demographic segmentation and behavioral segmentation strategies might be more effective for Nipissing University. According to Angulo, Pergelova & Rialp (2010) demographic characteristics include prior education, age, race, ethnicity, gender, income, and sex as they are used in higher education as the basis for market segmentation. For example in gender differences, many females may prefer courses related to nursing than male. The same case also applies to engineering courses whereby the majority of students are of male gender. Furthermore, in terms of age, the majority of nurses might be living and working locally and the majority of them are mature students. On the other hand, a segment of engineering which is predominantly by men might consist of students who are young and from overseers. Therefore, the district differences require approaches to identify new characteristics segments, which can assist to target proposed markets. The utilization of the strategy will encourage participation of non-traditional student to join the programs. Furthermore, the demographic strategy segmentation leads to customer loyalty and retention. According to Cleveland, Papadopoulos & Laroche (2011) “if an institution spends time examining the customer’s needs and wants, it will probably adjust to marketing campaigns in order to answer needs. Therefore if the university adopts the demographic segmentation strategy it will address the needs of customers effectively as well as saving both money and time as the efforts of business expansion is well calculated and to the point.
Behavioral segmentation is also an effective strategy as behavioral factors such as the rate of consumptions and how the products are being consumed determines the target audiences. In Nipissing University, the consumers of products are full-time and part-time programs like short courses, as the factor in the market will differ based on the behavioral products. Furthermore, in the modern world, many people tend to prefer part-time studies because of addition of duties and responsibilities such as employment, child-care and their behaviors in the market are different.
How can Nipissing be more effective with its current segmentation strategy? Give examples of how the target market can be better defined.
Geographic market segmentation strategy at Nipissing University does not seem to be effective and well established as compared to other existing segmentation strategies, although the strategy is used widely by many higher education institutions worldwide. However, Nipissing University’s geographic segmentation strategy can result in inequitable access to higher education and unfair practices when analyzing the decision making criteria of students in regards to ethnic, religious, and socio-economic groups. For example, the university should market its affordable and flexible programs to other regions outside the country like Africa, Asia, and European Nations. The organization will see more students from other countries being enrolled in school to study different courses. Furthermore, pooling of students from different culture, religions, regions and ethnic background will boost the profile of the organization significantly.
Nipissing University should consider improving its current segmentation strategy to factor in segments defined in terms of income and social class as the segmentation will be more appropriate and sustaining. The improvement will result in a reduction in problems facing the current segmentation strategy since there are evident challenges in terms of fairness and equality. For example, the segmentation will encourage the majority of people who are low-income to enroll in cheap programs that are offered by the institution like distance learning and digital learning.
Angulo, F., Pergelova, A., & Rialp, J. (2010). A market segmentation approach for higher education based on rational and emotional factors. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 20(1), 1-17.
Cleveland, M., Papadopoulos, N., & Laroche, M. (2011). Identity, demographics, and consumer behaviors. International Marketing Review, 28(3), 244-266. doi: 10.1108/02651331111132848
Lee, J., Kim, H., Ko, Y., & Sagas, M. (2011). The influence of service quality on satisfaction and intention: A gender segmentation strategy. Sport Management Review, 14(1), 54-63. doi: 10.1016/j.smr.2010.02.002
Slater, S., Hult, G., & Olson, E. (2010). Factors influencing the relative importance of marketing strategy creativity and marketing strategy implementation effectiveness. Industrial Marketing Management, 39(4), 551-559. doi: 10.1016/j.indmarman.2008.03.007