Original Research

Guidelines for the marketing of independent schools in South Africa

Reaan Immelman, Mornay Roberts-Lombard
Acta Commercii | Vol 15, No 1 | a245 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v15i1.245 | © 2015 Reaan Immelman, Mornay Roberts-Lombard | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 December 2013 | Published: 27 February 2015

About the author(s)

Reaan Immelman, Department of Marketing Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Mornay Roberts-Lombard, Department of Marketing Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Objective: The primary objective of the study is to recommend marketing guidelines for independent primary schools, with the focus on product and people in the marketing mix. This objective was achieved by identifying choice factors influencing parents’ selection of independent primary schools, identifying the most important choice factors and demographic differences regarding the importance parents attached to these factors.

Problem investigated: Some independent schools in South Africa find it difficult to market themselves effectively as a result of a lack of information pertaining to the choice factors identified by parents when selecting independent primary schools. A comprehensive set of choice factors will provide a more accurate picture of the criteria parents perceive as important in independent school selection.

Methodology: The methodological approach followed was exploratory and quantitative in nature. The sample consisted of 669 respondents from 30 independent schools in Gauteng in South Africa. A structured questionnaire, with a five-point Likert scale, was fielded to gather the data. The descriptive and factor analysis approaches were used to analyse the results.

Findings and implications: The main finding is that a total of 29 different choice factors were identified that parents perceive as important when selecting an independent primary school. The most important factor for parents when making a choice is the small size of the classes, followed by the religious ethos of the school as well as qualified and committed educators. This indicates that parents have a comprehensive set of choice factors and implies that a better understanding of these factors by independent schools may assist them to focus their marketing efforts more optimally in order to attract new learners.

Originality and value of the research: Very little research exists with specific reference to independent school marketing in South Africa. The importance of the research study at hand stems from the fact that some parents are dissatisfied with the public schools system, stimulating the demand for independent schools in the country. The increased level of competition amongst independent schools in South Africa therefore necessitates that these schools gain knowledge on the choice factors of parents when selecting such a school. This will assist independent primary schools in the development and design of their individual marketing strategies when recruiting new learners.


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