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BUY IN: How do I get the faculty and board to “buy into” the marketing concept?
DIFFERENTIATION: How do I differentiate public relations from marketing for my board and faculty?
COMMUNICATION: How do I move “communications” beyond the “do me an ad/brochure” mentality from the various divisions and into a partnership relationship with consultative services?
How do I get the faculty and board to “buy into” the marketing concept?
Marketing planning is fundamentally about people. It’s no surprise that people are key to establishing marketing systems in our schools. Individuals. Students. Teachers. Parents. Teams. Working together in a systematic way to advance the missions of our schools. So even while it relies on them, marketing does not turn on planning tools, implementation strategies, evaluation mechanisms, or even research. Establishing marketing in our schools is fundamentally people-centric.
People create the system. The system guides the process. The process creates the plan. The plan eventually degenerates into work, which is evaluated against objectives. This is a very important sequence. So often workshop participants learn how to write a marketing plan, only to return home to schools where the infrastructure does not exist to support their plans. It is not enough to plan the work; there must be a system to work the plan.
We have identified what we believe are the five Critical Success Factors in establishing a marketing system on a school campus:
- Identify the Responsible Person
- Secure the Endorsement and Active Participation of the Head of School (Role of the Head in Marketing Planning)
- Build Campus Buy-in through involvement in the Process (Involving the Faculty in Creating a Marketing Plan)
- Marshal Board Support (Role of the Planning Team)
- Create Interdisciplinary Project Teams
For a complete presentation of establishing the system look for Marketing Schools in the 21st Century at www.nais.org
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How do I differentiate public relations from marketing for my board and faculty?
This is basically an awareness issue. Once people become aware that the purpose, tools, strategies and audiences are different for each, they typically understand.
Points of Differentiation
Where public relations “pushes” information out to an audience in order to control an institutional image or perception, marketing seeks to “pull” information from a target audience in order to better serve its needs and desires, thereby creating a system of exchanges and gaining for the institution the resources it needs to deliver its mission.
The focal point of public relations is the institution and management of its public image. The focal point of marketing is the target audience and its needs and expectations. Public relations relies heavily on control of information through print and electronic media, publicity, and promotion. Its primary tools are trained spokespersons, media releases, in-house organs (over which it has total control) and special events. Marketing management relies on research, analysis, planning and evaluation. Its primary tools are marketing and communications specialists, the theory of exchange, targeting, segmentation, differentiation and a marketing communications system. (7 Must-Know Marketing Principles).
Ultimately, public relations is a tool of a comprehensive marketing system that includes advertising, promotion and publicity.
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How do I move “communications” beyond the “do me an ad/brochure” mentality from the various divisions and into a partnership relationship with consultative services?
This is fundamentally a positioning issue. You need to reposition yourself in the minds of these constituency groups from “print shop” to “communications professional.” This change can be immediately influenced by behaving in a consultative way and managing each request as a project with guidelines to be met.
Try taking a giant step back, getting out pad and pen and interviewing, yes, interviewing the next person who says “do me a brochure.” Find out everything you need to know about this project to help you “diagnose” the situation and “prescribe” the most efficient and effective communications tool and distribution method.
Instead of doing what is asked for without reflection, try facilitating a process that helps the individual think through the purpose, audience, core message points and distribution of the piece he is requesting. Maybe he has already done that. If so, great. It’s a win-win. If not, and this is probably more often the case, you can save your institution hundreds if not thousands of dollars in materials that miss their mark, medium and message. Work at establishing a team approach where you help the departments you serve define each of these critical elements in each project you work on before any draft copy or layout is attempted.
You can even develop a form using these elements and others as an assist in helping folks think the project through. Maybe the medium they are asking for isn’t the way the audience prefers to receive information. Make a big poster for your wall that charts the communications continuum and ask “What do you want this proposed piece to accomplish?” Will it simply inform? Must it convince or persuade? Is the goal to bring a person or group to take a certain action? Each desired outcome demands a different approach.
When analyzed by a communications professional, the brochure may turn into a recurring column in a school newsletter; the ad into a take-home piece for current parents. Who knows? You will. When you begin to apply the principles of marketing communications, others will begin to rely on your expertise to help them more fully realize their communications goals and objectives. (see more about the Communications Continuum).