Marketing is sometimes seen as a "bad" word, signifying 'overpromising and under-delivery" or even a wasteful expenditure. Far from it! Marketing is about understanding your key stake holder needs- be they parents, teachers or even new potential stakeholders like alumni, positioning your school to meet these needs as uniquely as possible, and then executing a communication plan to convey that positioning or image to the stakeholder.
Through good Marketing, excellent schools will be able to decide what kind of parents' needs to best serve, and to develop plans to do so - PTAs, discussions , websites are all forums for getting this information and communicating the same. Similarly, schools will need to understand what the best teachers need and see how their school can deliver on those needs best....and communicate the same at pre-placement sessions or other forums. Alumni are increasingly becoming an extremely important extension of the school in terms of what they can give back. How many schools really interact with their Alumni, convey the schools position and its needs, understand the Alumna's requirements and accordingly meet these thereby generating precious resources for the school to spend on improving its standards?
These are the opportunities that marketing, when done in a disciplined way, with clear objectives and measurement, will provide to the school;.It supplements what is of course the msot important...the need to ever increase sschool standards of teaching and learning. Till today, perhaps Marketing was not necessary, or even a luxury for schools. In the decade dawning on us now, I believe it will be a necessary key driver of long-term success of any school!
Posted by Prakash Nedungadi, Director, Development at TTF.
Photographs: Prakash Nedungadi interacting with heads of schools during our end of the year Principals' Get-together at TTF, Bangalore on 22nd Dec 2009. He spoke on The Outward Looking School : How to Market your School Better. We had a packed training room of 37 principals and school administrators.