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Marketing activities of companies in the educational software sector

Jones, Rosalind and Rowley, Jennifer (2009) Marketing activities of companies in the educational software sector. Qualitative market research: an international journal, 12 (3). pp. 337-354. ISSN 1352-2752 (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this exploratory research is to analyse the marketing activities of software companies in the UK educational software sector. The paper aims to explore the marketing environment and to investigate whether there are differences in experiences, attitudes and approaches between different sizes of firms. Design/methodology/approach – Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were undertaken with key respondents who had responsibility for marketing, marketing managers or owner/managers. Themes were identified alongside contextual social and organizational effects. Findings – The marketplace is dominated by several large firms and heavily influenced by government. Overall, five factors were identified that were experienced by all businesses in the sector: challenges in identifying the “customer”; school's budgetary constraints; the IT competence of teachers; the importance of word-of mouth recommendations; and, the use of partnerships. Differences between small and large firms centred on: understanding of competitive structure; perception of their business's marketing strengths; and, approaches to communication and interaction with customers. Research limitations/implications – Proposals for further research are offered. Originality/value – The paper offers a profile of the educational software marketplace and indicates that a number of marketing issues similarly have an effect on all businesses. Differences in behaviour and attitudes are associated with company size and respondent professional/work expertise. In particular, smaller businesses tend to be customer oriented, but often not market oriented.

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