Measuring Your ‘Marketing Pulse’ – Is Your School ‘Marketing’ with Meaning?
When was the last time your school checked their 'marketing pulse'?
The Education Landscape is Changing
Australian schools are being encouraged to invest in ‘marketing’ to survive and thrive in today’s competitive landscape, which is experiencing some significant changes. The recent Australian census results, for example, showed how Australians are less religious than ever before. There has also been an increasing shift of power from the school to the parents as education becomes a ‘commodity’ to shop around for (Dr Ho, 2017)*.
This is coupled with a number of other State specific challenges; for example, SA public year 7 students will move to high school by 2022. In NSW the population has increased by 15% over the 2007-2017 decade, with a particular growth skew to metropolitan areas. This represents an increase in just over 1 million people!**
So, what does this mean for schools?
At risk for some schools are their core value propositions and underlying ethos. However, these risks also present an opportunity for schools to press the ‘refresh’ button - to reconnect with their existing community and potentially grow their school base.
Now more than ever, schools need to embrace the full scope of marketing – marketing is so much more than selling! If fully embraced as part of the school’s strategic thinking, marketing can provide an innate understanding of the school’s current and potential stakeholders, the world they live in and the broader educational landscape. This in-depth understanding of a school’s community and environment can then be used to influence key decision-making related to the school’s strategy and operations.
Just remember that marketing should NEVER be reactive. The term ‘marketing’ sometimes gets lost in translation or more to the point it gets lost in the day-day tasks of managing a school. The starting point for any marketing activity should be a marketing strategy. A marketing strategy:
Encourages depth of marketing related thinking.
Encourages marketing thinking as it relates to the broader school strategy.
Acts as a cross check for day-to-day marketing related decisions - a template for marketing decision-making.
So, where do you start?
Grab some coffees, your management team and a room with a whiteboard, and use the below ‘prompt’ diagram to measure the ‘marketing pulse’ of your school. If you have some gaps in information, don't worry, make a list of them too and talk about how that information could be collected. The prompt diagram is not designed to be a comprehensive guide to marketing, but a starting point. The aim should be to start to embrace marketing to help build a complete and up to date picture of your school, your school’s community and the education landscape in which it operates. Without a doubt, this type of information is critical for schools to not only survive but thrive in today’s evolving landscape.
And remember too, if you need some help checking your school's 'marketing pulse', there are companies like Complete the Picture Consulting who can assist. Marketing makes a difference because:
Marketing with Meaning = Improved FOCUS for Your School