Purpose– The clearing system in the UK enables students without a university place after exam results have been announced to find suitable vacancies, as it is important for universities to fill their vacancies as any shortfall loses them a lot of money. The purpose of this paper is to examine marketing strategies adopted by UK universities on their websites during clearing. Design/methodology/approach– In total, the content of 134 university websites were analysed a few weeks before clearing and the day before clearing starts. The categories for the analysis included membership of the three main university groups as well as clearing advertisement strategies and advertising theme presented. Findings– In total, 110 universities indicated interest in admitting students through clearing on their websites including 18 of the 24 Russell University Group although more emphasis was laid on adjustment to attract students with better grades. The majority of websites were redesigned to reflect clearing with slides highlighting student satisfaction, guaranteed accommodation and graduate employability. Research limitations/implications– This exploratory study examines advertising strategies adopted during clearing, it would be interesting to also seek a broader view on advertisement strategies adopted by the universities throughout the year and extended to a comparative study of higher education marketing across different countries. Originality/value– As websites have become an integral part of the marketing tools of universities, they should present information relevant to different stakeholders creatively, along with images reflecting their diverse student body and extra-curricular environment. This study will be relevant to university staff dealing with marketing, recruitment and information technology, advertising practitioners and academic researchers.
International Journal of Educational Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 9, 2016
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