Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 5, No. 4 (2008)

An exploratory study of relationship marketing as a mechanism to connect with and keep university students

Maria M Raciti, University of the Sunshine Coast

Abstract

Connecting with and keeping students are perennial issues facing universities. In Australia, the smaller universities in regional areas are particularly vulnerable to student loss. One plausible strategy for these smaller universities to adopt is relationship marketing. This paper presents the findings of a preliminary study that explores the conceptualisation of relationship marketing in a higher education context from a student perspective. Novel theoretical insights and useful practical findings were drawn from the five core themes that were the focus of this study relationship dynamics, relationship experiences, relationship dimensions, social integration and institutional integration. Collectively these findings provide strong indications that relationship marketing has much promise as a mechanism for regional universities to connect with, and in turn, retain more of their students.

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