PERFORMANCE AUDIT OF THE MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGIES OF SELECTED PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES IN SOUTH-WEST, NIGERIA
The Nigerian university educational system was liberalised in 1999 and this led to the establishment of private universities. To promote their different programmes and competitively position themselves, each employed varied marketing communication tools and strategies. Little is known about the use of marketing communication mix by universities. The study assessed the performance of marketing communication strategies used by private universities in South-West, Nigeria.
The study adopted survey research design. The population consisted of 22 private universities in South-West, Nigeria and 20,276 undergraduates in the same universities. Stratified sampling technique was used to select six universities. Multi-stage sampling technique was used for the rest of the selection process. Simple random sampling was used to select faculties/schools. All the departments in the selected faculties/schools were used for the study. Simple random sampling was used to select a sample size of 753 students from the universities, which was proportionally distributed across the six universities. Interview guide was used to draw responses from the marketing communication officers of the selected universities. Avalidated questionnaire was used to collect data from the students. Cronbach’s Alpha co-efficient values of the constructs ranged from 0.796to 0.811. The response rate was 100%. Data from the questionnaire were analyzed using inferential statistics. Interview responses were analyzed and presented thematically.
Findings revealed that marketing communication elements significantly influenced customers’ choice of all the private universities studied: Babcock (Adj. R2 =0..410, F(1,258)=180.833, p<0.05), Afe Babalola (Adj. R2 =0..550, F(1,221)=272.396, p<0.05) Lead City (Adj. R2 =0..40, F(1,128)=6.367, p<0.05) Adeleke (Adj. R2 =0..059, F(1,48)=4.056, p<0.05) Elizade (Adj. R2 =0..016, F(1,22)=0.647, p<0.05) Caleb (Adj. R2 =0..0.009, F(1,54)=1.504 p<0.05). The findings also indicated that Afe Babalola University, Adeleke University and Lead City University were the only private universities that competitively compared the value and satisfaction of their customers.
The study concluded that improvement in strategically combining marketing communication elements of these private universities would lead to more chances of choosing the universities by students and parents. It was recommended that private universities should strategically mix their marketing communication tools to effectively communicate the uniqueness of their value and adequately deliver such value to meet the expectation of the target customers.
Keywords: Marketing communications strategy, Marketing mix, Brand awareness, Brand image, Relationship building