Marketing services is distinct from marketing products. The biggest difference is that services lack tangibility, which increases the pressure on companies and educational institutions to project value and entice customers. The challenge for many universities is how to attract more students to attend their institution, therefore what marketing departments can do to support their institutions is to answer the question: what makes this university or college different from any other? McConkey (1981) stated that the essence of strategy is differentiation. Educational institutions, like other service organizations, can differentiate themselves based on types of programs, delivery systems, student clientele, location, and the like. In order to do that, they need to ensure they have a clear value proposition. A customer proposition here would mean what the particular university can do differently for the student (target customer). A value proposition is typically described as a promise of value to be delivered and a belief from the customer of value that will be experienced. This requires market and customer research, so that insights are gathered from the outside in, from the customers perspective, rather than from inside out, the institutions perspective. Second, the insights can then be used as part of a debate about the universitys strategy and positioning. From a marketing perspective, this is about ensuring a meaningful differentiated positioning and one that genuinely reflects the universitys strengths against its competition. Finally, its about developing or modifying communications in line with the customer proposition and positioning, and promoting a consistent message to the various stakeholders and target audiences through the appropriate media and channels.
The five dimensions of the RATER model have been found to be relevant for universities and could be used by them to identify and assess students