The Key for School Leaders | NASBM School business management toolkit Marketing your school effectively Marketing strategies for schools Six-stage marketing cycle An article in SMT Magazine, a publication focused on school management, says that since parents have an increasing amount of choice when it comes to finding a school, schools need to respond by using better marketing techniques to attract them. The article describes a six-stage 'marketing cycle' that schools can work through to ensure they "stand out": 1. Market research – interviewing and surveying current and prospective parents and analysing the findings 2. Meeting market needs – for example, you could consider what your school does to meets the needs of prospective parents, and what it could do 3. Message and brand development – identifying three or four key statements about the school and a simple visual design for the website 4. Evidence gathering – regularly collecting news stories about the school that support your key messages 5. Using mass media – the stories gathered in the previous stage can be communicated to the local community through posters, social media and publications 6. Relationship management – keeping in touch with anyone who has shown interest in the school, whether they attended an event, asked for a prospectus or spoke to a member of staff Link on our website How does your school stand out from the crowd?, SMT Magazine, 2 October 2013 Guidance from NASBM: Why marketing matters to schools Your school is most likely using a number of marketing techniques already to engage with stakeholders, recruit pupils and market your school to ensure financial sustainability and therefore maintain high-quality learning opportunities for pupils. There might be a number of areas, however, where you could make improvements, considering your overall vision and goals, and how you plan to achieve these. We say that, marketing is about: Ensuring the development of a marketing and communication strategy which promotes the school/trust and defines the brand, aims and goals … develop(ing) pupil recruitment, and stakeholder engagement via appropriate communication channels and maximis(ing) income generation So, what are the areas you might want to look at to improve your marketing strategy and the areas within it? • When engaging with stakeholders, for example, are you advertising in the local press? • When developing events like the school fete, are you linking up with local businesses to procure services? If you are, is it working well for you? • Are you also advertising events in the local press, and what deals can you get for doing this? Are these branded as the school fete, or as a community event taking place in the school? The community event approach, for example, might work better for you These are the kinds of questions schools will need to increasingly ask themselves, as pupil numbers are set to rise and competition in local areas will continue to grow. A sound marketing strategy and good communication channels with identified stakeholders is a must for schools.