Good school marketing evaluation practices, methods and surveys are getting lost in this 'quick, give me the answer' or 'I do not need others' views as I know the answer' attitudes which are permeating our professions and businesses in today's digital world!
School Marketing Plans need to be evaluated on a regular basis. Too often these days the 'quick fix' and 'easily implemented' plans are at the forefront of most professional and business thinking. The School Marketing Plan needs to be evaluated at least yearly and more often if changes impacting on your product are being noticed in customer responses.
In the school situation key stakeholders are needed to engage in the marketing evaluation process. It is not wise to only listen to a few personnel who 'should know what is happening out there in the marketplace'. Surveys of key groups are also very important if an accurate gauge is needed - and I would hope this to be the case.
Representatives from the Key Stakeholders groups within the school need to give input.
These people would include:
• Principal and Leadership Team
• School Manager
• Parish Priest (if a Church school)
• Staff (as decided in consultation with Principal)
• Parent representatives
• Student Leaders
• Feeder School Principals and Leadership Teams
• Media Representatives (usually media contacts of the School Marketing Manager and advertising consultants the school deals with, as needed)
• Systemic representatives as needed.
Survey and Feedback
Feedback quantity and quality will vary.
Requested replies would be from both specific and general groups, for example, you may target specific groups of Parents e.g. School Board, but also invite interested Parents through the school's newsletters to respond.
A simple questionnaire sent to these people asking three questions will often give enough detail for a fair appraisal and follow-up discussion with the school leadership team and School Marketing Manager (SMM).
You may be inclined to do this through an online survey. The questions could be:
• The School Marketing Plan (SMP) for [School Name] for this year was successful in what ways?
• The SMP for [School Name] for this year was lacking in what ways?
• How would you suggest the SMP for [School Name] be adjusted for next year?
• Other comments
The SMM would then summarize these responses in an honest way and present the views to the school's leadership team.
It is also good to include specific examples from each question from key people e.g.
a feeder school Principal may be the only one who is aware of issues
regarding visitations or school involvement in his / her school
• a feeder school secretary may be the only one aware of specific parental / staff issues she hears espoused in her main office;
It is important that this is not lost in the summary.
A Different Survey Type
Others may like to develop a survey which ranks specific statements about the School Marketing Plan from 5 to 1. The number of statements in the survey would need to be minimal to gain a good percentage of replies.
This type of survey would more than likely achieve a greater number of responses, yet the detail is limited. You may like to try a greater number of statements for groups or individuals you feel are more likely to respond.
You may also like to include a section for written responses to questions similar to the above three.
It is important that the SMM is supported by all groups to continue on the successful way or make various changes to improve.
Most common changes are made each year in the approach and / or forms of marketing used in each subsequent year.
This is normal and leads to a more successful School Marketing Plan each year.
A high quality marketing evaluation plan should be a necessary and integral aspect of a professional or business marketing plan. Listening to both key stakeholders and key groups is fundamental for success.
The 'School Marketing Evaluation Practices - Lost in Today's Digital Age' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from Amazon.com and Createspace.com