As I’ve written before, the main issue with independent school marketing is their belief that they don’t need it. Second — once they realize they DO need marketing — is that they lack proper planning and strategy. You can’t know how to get where you want to be without a map.
In a recent podcast interview, Blackbaud K-12’s Peter Baron and Proctor Academy’s Scott Allenby discuss the latter’s excellent case study on how independent schools can use inbound marketing. Aside from spot-on comments on the requirements to develop and maintain the website content needed to help tell your school’s story effectively, Scott avers that schools must start with understanding the distinctiveness of their offerings.
This sort of soul-searching (Who are we as a school?) is much more common in the business world, particularly in the service industries like banks and retailers. The products most often are the same, and many are commodities. The “secret sauce” needs clear definition in order for the marketing and communications folks to do their thing.
In our work with schools (and other types of organizations), we start with the research and planning needed to set a proper course for the future. We want to know what makes you, you! Why families choose you, and why they take a pass. What truly is unique — which should be something other than selective admission, smart children and great history. If a school isn’t really distinctive, no amount of marketing magic is going to change that!
Take the 25 minutes or so and listen to the interview — it’s well worth your time.