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Buyer Behavior: Research Objective And Hypothesis

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Question:

Discuss about the Buyer Behavior for Research Objective and Hypothesis.

 

Answer:

Introduction:

Globally, higher education is undergoing change including higher education institutes. Higher education institutes should adapt to the changing environment and should have ability to adapt to the economic and social changes. Higher education institutes should evaluate traits of individuals in terms of demographic and psychographic traits for implementing effective marketing strategy. Also, there should be assessment of the decision making process of the students for the selection of higher education institutes. There should also be consideration of motivation, personality and emotions of the students at the time of recruitment of these students to higher education institutes. All these aspects are discussed in this essay, also recommendations are also made for improvement in the higher education institutes.      

Research Objective and Hypothesis:

Objective of this research is to identify factors and characters responsible for the decision making process of the 40 students in taking admission to the Holmes institute. It has been hypothesized that with the provision of quality academic and non-academic facility, more number of students can take admission to the Holmes institute.

 

Research Methodology:

40 students and their parents were interviewed, who are seeking admissions for graduation in social sciences at Holmes institute. Questions used in the interviews were related to the demographic and psychographic characteristics of the students. Students were also interviewed to understand their personality, motivation and emotions. Educationalist and social workers were incorporated for conducting these interviews. International students who couldn’t attend interviews physically were interviewed over the phone. Responses of the students for the interviews were documented for making final conclusion. Selected 40 students were from different countries, religion, languages, race and socioeconomic class.       

Research Results and Discussion:

Demographic and Psychographic Aspects:

Higher education institutes like Holmes institute can grow and develop, if these institutes can understand environment, demographic and psychographic aspects of students. These organizations should be aimed at producing students with sound social and economic foundation, also should address equity and diversity. In recent years, there is drastic augmentation in the competition of education market and student recruitment process become more competitive. In such scenario, institutes should understand real status and characteristics of the students. In higher education institutes demand is more as compared to the supply. Hence, these institutes should work as business like institutes and implement effective marketing strategy to recruit sufficient number of students (Marginson, 2006; Maringe, 2005).    

In this study, 40 students were recruited to understand their traits for selection of school for higher education. These students are seeking admission to graduation in social sciences. Out of these 40 students, 25 are male and 15 are female students. It is evident that, percentage of boys is more in higher education as compared to the girls. These students are between age 17 – 19 years old. These students belong to all socioeconomic classes. Out of 40 students, 10 are from higher socioeconomic class, 20 are from middle socioeconomic class and 10 are form lower socioeconomic class. Higher and middle socioeconomic class students have more access to higher educational institutes and lower socioeconomic class students have less access to higher educational institutes. Hence, more efforts should be done for recruitment of these students to higher education institutes. There should be relaxation of fees and provision of free hostel facility to lower socioeconomic class students. Family size also plays important role in recruitment of students to higher education institutes. Out of these 40 students, 25 students are with family members less than 4 members and 15 students are with family size with more than 4 family members. It is evident that students of families with less number of family members can get access to the higher education as compared to the students of the families with more number of family members. 30 out of 40 student’s parents are having permanent jobs, however, 10 student’s parents are with temporary jobs. Parents with stable job promote their children for higher education, rather than parents with temporary job. Parents with temporary jobs promote their children to work for earning money for the family (Khan, 2007; Wedel and Kamakura, 2012).

These children are of different races like white, black and Asian races. Nationality of these students is Australian, English, Indian and American. Students in this group are from different segments like race, culture, socioeconomic factors and family education level. Hence, psychographic segmentation needs to be considered for in the recruitment process of the students. Psychographics segmentation helps to consider each student as the individual and plan the marketing strategy accordingly. Psychographic segmentation should be considered in terms of lifestyle, interests, opinions, personality, and values. Lifestyle considerations should include interests, hobbies, activities, opinions, and values. Interests of the students should be inclined towards education, their hobbies should be related to the education, their activities should be educational, these students should have positive opinion about education and they should value education. Every individual, including these students have two lifestyles. One is current lifestyle in which they are living and another one is they wish to be in the future. Defiantly, these students wish to be good lifestyle as compared to the existing one. For improving lifestyle, these students should get good education (Yu-Fen and Chin-Hui, 2009). Psychographic segmentation like lifestyle, interests, opinions, personality, and values of these selected students are inclined towards availing quality education.  

 

Consumer Decision Process:

These students should follow the Engel, Blackwell and Miniard model for making decision on Holmes institute for their higher education. Five basic steps should be followed in decision making process. These steps include problem/need recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, selection, as well as the post-purchase evaluation processes. Problem/need recognition of the student includes identification of need for the higher education and this need should be satisfied by Holmes institute. There should be abundant information available for the student about the institute. Holmes institute has abundant information about the institute, its facilities, its affiliations with different Government bodies, its links to overseas institutes, and its placement records. This information is available in the form of different media like print and audio-visual media. Hence, students can access this information and make wise decision of selecting Holmes institute over the other institute. Holmes institute satisfies all the criteria of the student’s evaluation. Holmes institute has all the requirements which fulfill all the requirements of the students. These requirements are in the form of hostel facilities, transportation facilities, fees concession for students with low socioeconomic background, placement assistance, and promotion of extracurricular activities. Instead of evaluation of alternative institute, students can pay the required amount of fee and take the admission in the Holmes institute. This step is more important for foreign national students and students with low socioeconomic class (Wiese et al., 2010; Bonnema & Van Der Waldt, 2008).

Most of the other institutes don’t prefer to give admission to these two classes of students. In this group of 40 students, few students are of foreign origin and few are with low socioeconomic class. Last step in the decision making process is post-purchase evaluation processes. There is availability of good reviews from the alumnus. Generally, students used to get doubt or anxiety about institute after taking admission. However, in case of Holmes institute, this is not the case. This institute has very good track record of students with distinction and placements after the completion of the course. In this group of 40 students, students are from varied background and Holes institute is satisfying their criteria for all these students. Holmes institute is with the mix of all the factors which attracts the students as compared to the other institutes. These factors include responsiveness of staff, research activities, social opportunities, economic considerations and the size of the institution. It is also evident from the literature that campus safety and flexibility in course offering times are also important factors responsible for the decision making process of the students. Holmes institute is having good reputation in the campus safety and this institute is providing flexible timings for availing the course. Holmes institute is having strong presence in the news coverage and advertisements with its good academic and athletic rating. Holmes institute is famous with good public relations and stability. These factors contributed significantly for selecting Homes institute over the other institutes. Scholarships, prestige of the Holmes institute, career preparation and specific academic programmes are the important factors responsible for the selecting Holmes institute by the students (De Jager & Du Plooy, 2006; Drew  & Michael, 2006). 

 

Personality, Motivation and Emotion:  

Personality traits of the students are dependent on the innate ability and family background and it also affects cognitive abilities and academic success of the students. Personality traits of this age group of students are very dynamic. There should be counseling for these students while selecting their higher education institute. In this group, students of different personalities are present. There are different personality traits responsible for the decision making process of students. These personality traits comprises of conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, (in)stability and openness. These students are very careful and precise about their higher education, they are sociable, obedient to teachers and elders, stable in their decisions and open to discuss about their queries regarding higher education. These traits helped these students to make wise decision about their choice of Holmes institute as the higher education institute. These students are with high self-esteem, hence their parents are confident on them about their selection of Holmes institute as higher education institute. These students are with assertive personality hence these students would try to get more knowledge of different institutes to make final decision for the selection of institute (Lipnevich  et al., 2016).       

Motivation responsible for the students for selection of Holmes institute is dependent on the reviews of the earlier students. Alumnus of Holmes Institute has good opinion and reviews about Holmes Institute. Based on the financial aspects, motivation of the students can be classified as quality buyer, value buyer and economy class. Quality buyer students sought for the benefits from the Holmes institute and these students are ready to pay higher amount of fees for the benefits. Students of the high-socioeconomic class come under this class. Value buyers always look for the cost-service ratio. These students expect high quality return from the Holmes institute at the affordable cost. Students of the middle socioeconomic class people come under this class. Economy class buyers are ready to select the institute at lower cost irrespective of the quality. Students of the low socioeconomic class come under this class. Students of low-socioeconomic class would get quality returns at lower process at Holmes institute because Holmes institute is ready to give concession for low socioeconomic class students. Based on educational outcome, motivation of the students can be classified as career learner, socio-improvement learner, leisure learner and ambivalent learner (Wentzel and Miele, 2016)

Most of the neuroscience researchers indicated that, decision making of the students is mainly dependent on the subconscious state. Emotions of the students have significant impact on the subconscious state of the students. Hence, emotions of the students should be considered while analyzing decision making process of the student. Both positive emotions such as excited, hopeful, calm and confident and negative emotions such as anxiety, stress, and confusion significantly affected choice of the students for Holmes institute. Admission to the higher education kept these students excited, good reputation of the Holmes institute raised their hopes for getting good education, calmness of the students helped these students to make wise choice of the Holmes institute and available information about the Holes institute made these students confident of its selection. As there are so many colleges available for the higher education, student became anxious while searching for the college, students also felt stressed because decision making for one college from the list of multiple colleges is difficult task. There was lot of confusion among students for selection of colleges because few of the requirements of the students were satisfied by one college and remaining by another college (Damon et al., 2006).

 

Implications:

Irrespective of the gender, language, social and economic status of the students, higher education institutes should provide quality education for recruiting international students. Student’s main objective is to get quality education (Van der Walt & Brink, 2005). For providing quality education, institutes should provide quality education training to the students. It is evident that students are not buying degrees, however they are buying benefits in terms of employment opportunities, improvement in the status and lifestyle. Hence, educations institutes should make sure that these factors should be satisfied. Educational institutes should improve quality of education by developing broad curriculum, providing modern and innovative education technologies and recruiting staff with higher qualifications. These educational institutes should improve their quality standards and it should match with global standards of the education. There should be incorporation of the non-academic career development programmes for improving efficiency of the institute for recruiting foreign nationals. Educational institutes should communicate all these standard qualities to the students all over the world.  Health institutes should focus on the gender specific benefits to the students. For male students, these institutes should provide sports facilities and opportunities for social life in the campus. For female students, importance should be given to the safe and secure life at the campus. Technologically advanced systems should be implemented for safe and secure campus. Electronic card systems should be implemented for entry and exist in the campus. Hence, unknown person with destructive behavior should not enter in the campus (Moogan, 2010).

Educational institutes should select location of the institute wisely. It should be close to the residential area along with accessible transportation facilities. This type of location also would be helpful for the students to access library facility in the late evening. Academic institutes should have collaborations with internationally recognized universities, colleges and industries, hence can get exposure at the global level. There should be access to each student of multiple languages, cultures, races and socioeconomic class. There should be wide choices of subject in the institute; hence students from discipline can approach the institute which would be helpful in building strong efficiency of the institute. There should be flexible fee structure for the students. Students with low socioeconomic class should give concession in fees and also there should be institute scholarship for the international students. Academic facilities should be of global standards. International students seeking to take admissions in the institute should get feel of international institute. There should be facility for the on-campus housing because for the students of foreign countries, it would be difficult for them to adjust in the new location of another country. Reputation and image of the institute are the most important factors responsible for the decision making of the students. In the studies, it is evident that reputation is more important as compared to the actual quality of the institute because, for most of the international students, perceived excellence directs them for decision making. There should be formation of special department comprising of expertise in the recruitment of students. It would be helpful in increasing recruitment of international students at the higher education institutes (Muntean et al., 2009; Bennett & Ali-Choudhury, 2009).                    

Conclusion:

Outcome of this research indicate that, there are multiple choices available for the students to select higher education institute. Different characters and traits of the students are responsible of the selection of the institute. Segmentation of the students would be helpful in understanding decision process of the students. Students can utilize their funding optimally to select institute with high caliber and reputation. Both marketing and social environment are responsible for influencing decision making process in the students. There should be incorporation of improvement in the academic quality, academic facility, reputation and image of the organization for recruitment of more number of foreign students. 

 

References:

Bennett, R., & Ali-Choudhury, R. (2009). Prospective students’ perceptions of university brands: An empirical study. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 19, pp. 85–107. 

Bonnema, J., & Van Der Waldt, D. (2008). Information preferences of a student market in higher education. International Journal of Education Management, 22(4), pp. 314-27. 

Damon, W., Lerner, R. M., Eisenberg, N. (2006). Handbook of Child Psychology, Social, Emotional, and Personality Development. John Wiley & Sons. 

De Jager, J.W.,  & Du Plooy, A.T. 2006. Student's expectations of service quality in tertiary education: A comparison between prospective and current students. Acta Commercii, 6, pp. 10-19. 

Drew, T., & Michael, C. (2006). How do students choose a university? An analysis of application to universities in Ontario, Canada. Research in Higher Education, 47(7), pp. 781-800. 

Khan, M. (2007). Consumer Behaviour and Advertising Management. New Age International. 

Lipnevich, A. A., Preckel, F., & Roberts, R. D. (2016). Psychosocial Skills and School Systems in the 21st Century: Theory, Research and Practice. Springer. 

Marginson, S. (2006). Dynamics of national and global competition in higher education. Higher Education, 52, pp. 1-39. 

Maringe, F. (2005). University marketing: Perceptions, practices and prospects in the less developed world. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 15(2), pp. 129-153. 

Moogan, Y. (2010). Can a higher education institution’s marketing strategy improve the student-institution match? Kaplan Business School, 25, pp. 570–589. 

Muntean, A., Cabulea, L., & Danuletiu, D. (2009). The brand: One of the university’s most valuable assets. Annales Univeritatis Apulensis Series Oeconomica, 11, pp. 1066–1071. 

Van der Walt, C.. & Brink, C. (2005). Multilingual universities: a national and international overview. South African Journal of Higher Education, 19(4), pp. 822-861. 

Wedel, M., & Kamakura, W. A. (2012). Market Segmentation: Conceptual and Methodological Foundations. Springer Science & Business Media.

 Wentzel, K. R., and Miele, D. B. (2016). Handbook of Motivation at School. Routledge. 

Wiese, M., Van Heerden, C. H., & Jordaan, Y. (2010). The role of demographics in students' selection of higher education institutions. Acta Commercii, 10(1), pp. 150-163. 

Yu-Fen, C. and Chin-Hui, H. (2009). Applying market segmentation theory to student behavior in selecting a school or department. New Horizons in Education, 57(2), pp. 32-43.

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