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This paper proposes a framework for analysing the responses of educational providers in competitive contexts. The evidence presented is based on empirical research carried out in one Chilean municipality. The objective of the paper is to analyse the responses developed by the schools with which to position themselves in the Chilean education market. The results show how the schools’ external communication is related to a range of factors such as their perception of competition, their position in the local hierarchy and the characteristics of the local market, as well as the symbolic attributes oriented toward positioning themselves within the market. Different schools’ typologies were identified with regard to marketing strategies in terms of the form and intensity they took on.
9. Conclusions and discussion
Educational marketing is a strategic and management response from schools to the introduction of market-oriented policies and competitive environments. However, as marketing responses are not expected by education market theory, this field remains underanalysed in primary and secondary education by the academic literature. Overall, educational research has not sufficiently dealt with what educational marketing entails, what are the different processes that educational marketing involves, and what are the logistical and organisational implications of marketing strategies for schools. Educational marketing strategies cannot be analysed in isolation without taking into account the mediating factors and its relationship with other schools’ responses to the market, such as diversification and student selection strategies.
The results obtained in the Chilean case study show that the way in which each school interacts with the market is key to any understanding of the form and intensity of their marketing strategies. Furthermore, beyond the general regulatory framework, the characteristics of each local space determine the way in which schools follow the market and adopt marketing strategies. Three different school typologies – latent, focused and extensive – were identified according to their marketing strategies.