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School Marketing Blog

The professional school marketing manager needs to be up-to-date with the latest school marketing strategies and resources to successfully implement the school marketing plan. This school marketing blog enables school marketing professionals to engage in blog discussions relating to the school marketing issues of today. The 'School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed)', 2011, by Bryan Foster, forms the basis for most of these blog posts.

Photos - Key to a Successful School Marketing Plan

Saturday, April 28, 2012
Photographic images are the basis of any successful school marketing plan. The more relevant and appealing the better! Remember - 'a picture tells a thousand words'!!!

How often have you been inspired by a photo or image? The higher the content relevance of the image the greater the success should be. In any school marketing campaign it is the relevance of each component, which will decide the campaign's success. One poor choice can turn that campaign into a flop. A poorly chosen photo / image can lead to the viewer ignoring or not seeing the message on the one extreme, to being totally against the whole message on the other extreme.

The quality of the image is also important, yet this would also depend on the artistic use of it. Most often a quality photo of the chosen subject is necessary for success. Yet, sometimes a poorer quality, or artistically enhanced, image may be quite appealing in a specific circumstance. The product and demographic of the campaign would decide this.

The digital camera has opened up a whole new world for most people. No longer are very expensive cameras and add-ons needed for that successful photo. The quality of many of these digital cameras is quite extraordinary now. The raw photo is often quite good, however add to this the qualities that software, such as Photoshop can add, and a whole new world opens up to even the least qualified photographer.

Of course, quality DSLR cameras, associated lenses, lighting apparatus and software such as Photoshop, will lead to considerably higher quality images in the hands of a photographer of merit. The marketing campaign will dictate the quality of image required.

Even the basic editing tools included with most Windows, Apple and Android products can enhance an image. Often all that is needed is a little cropping or light adjustment.

The smart phone supporting a large enough camera these days can become a part of a successful marketing plan. A smart phone with the appropriate apps downloaded will allow various images to take on that 'Wow' factor.

The digital camera allows for a large number of photos to be taken. Don't be a miser here. You will find that some photos work for you while others won't. Hence, the more you take, the more chance of that 'magic' shot. In time you will develop an appreciation of the number of shots needed to achieve your aim.
The moving video image also has a place to play. The photo image is more often used within a video for special effect.

The photo image is a key component of any successful marketing campaign within so many common media. When an image is used effectively it grabs the attention of the viewer and makes them take note. Use it well and that 'thousand words' will become part of your marketing campaign.

The 'Photos - Key to a Successful School Marketing Plan' 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


School Marketing Evaluation Practices - Lost in Today's Digital Age

Friday, February 10, 2012

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.

The Stakeholders

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.

Support

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

How to Write a School Marketing Plan - Overview and Analysis

Sunday, January 01, 2012
An example School Marketing Plan is best considered primarily through an OVERVIEW and secondly through an ANALYSIS - each being a foundation for success in marketing your school. When each of these aspects is considered in detail, the effective planning may begin.


School Marketing Plan Overview


  1. Define what you have to offer
  2. Define your target group
  3. Budget
  4. Personnel and Talents available - including School Marketing Manager
  5. Develop School Marketing Aims and Objectives – from previous information
  6. Select Marketing Strategies
  7. Evaluation

Analysis of the School Marketing Plan

•   The School Principal is ultimately responsible for the Plan.

The Plan:

  1. is based on the School’s Vision and Mission Statement.
  2. is used to market the school to the community. The community includes all people who know, or those who you want to know, about the school. These include the general public in your catchment region, parents, potential families, school staff, parish  staff, other schools’ staff especially from feeder schools, present and past students, parents, etc.
  3. includes the strategies used within a defined budget.
  4. is used to inform all stakeholders, and other targeted groups, of the benefits and successes of the school.
  5. informs about aspects which may be of interest.
  6. needs to plan for issues which may arise of a controversial nature.
  7. should inform and emphasize the real nature of the school and the direction the school is planning or presently implementing.
  8. should include a realistic budget.
  9. can benefit from the combination of views of staff and others associated with the school community.

•   Marketing is relatively inexpensive when viewed in the terms of the potential gains made – reputation, new parents, supportive present parents, enrolments, etc.

•   In the initial stages of developing the school’s first real plan it is often best to include a variety of interest groups for gaining ideas and suggestions about how best to market your school. These thoughts may then be used as felt necessary.

•   The School Principal needs input and has the overall responsibility to implement the plan.

Other sections covered in the 'School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), 2010, by Bryan Foster are:
  • SMP Evaluation
  • SMP is Not ...
  • Be Ethical
  • Who Needs a SMP?
The 'How to Write a School Marketing Plan - Overview and Analysis' 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

The Difficult Media Circumstance and Appropriate Response

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Occasionally the school will experience the Difficult Media circumstance.

Sometimes the media may request an interview with or without forewarning
.

This usually happens when a story is considered exceptional for their circumstance. This may be when something controversial or of a significant status has occurred and the media wants to run with that story on that day or the next.

Examples of these would include:

  • a disaster where the school has had major damage, such as from a major storm or fire
  • a staff member or student has been allegedly involved with something illegal
  • a former student has done something highly successful, controversial or allegedly illegal
  • the government or city council have or will make a decision that impacts significantly on the school, etc.

School's Response

In this case initially you need to advise the media that the school, through the principal, yourself or someone with authority, will speak with them shortly.

You have every right to consider your options before speaking.

It is often best to contact the systemic Communications Manager, if such a role exists. This manager is usually familiar with best practice for such events. The manager will either become directly involved and speak on behalf of the school or offer suggestions on the best approach. The manager may also contact others within or outside the system who may be able to offer advice eg lawyers, building or insurance advisors / consultants, counsellors, etc.

Offering a “No comment” is often fraught with potential misinterpretation or even worse, taking the story according to the information they have which may not be the truth or whole truth. Comment truthfully.

You do not need to give all the details but offer what is needed for the media enquiry allowing for privacy and ethical considerations.When School Marketers experience the Difficult Media Situation comment to the media truthfully.

This may be just a simple, “Thank you for the enquiry. We will get back to you shortly.”

If the school decides to act on the request itself there are a number of approaches which should benefit the school:

  • Be available for an interview in person or over the phone.
  • Be positive and in control during the interview
  • Appearance is important eg appropriate demeanour, dress, stance
  • Control the backdrop for television or newspaper photo to get the positive visual message out that you want
  • Answer all questions, but turn the answer to what you want to emphasise
  • Having 3-4 key points is a good approac

State the obvious, such as:

  • no one was hurt, or unfortunately some people were injured
  • damage to the property was significant or minimal
  • the most important thing is that no-one was hurt, only property damage occurred and that this will be repaired as soon as possible or
  • unfortunately some people were hurt and the school is currently doing everything possible for those people eg ambulance was called immediately, there will be ongoing medical assistance, school counsellor involved for those directly affected and others at school, other counsellors are coming from sister schools, etc.
  • the school / principal is sorry that this unfortunate event occurred, all procedures have been followed and that everything possible will be done to ensure that this won‟t happen again. If updating procedures is necessary then this will be done immediately.

Follow-up

Be available to keep the media updated as the situation changes or developments are made.

The 'The Difficult Media Circumstance and Appropriate Response' 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


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