Sunday, February 27, 2011

7 Guidelines For Marketing Schools

Don Tapscott offers a Consumers 2.0 list at the end of chapter 7 in his book Grown Up Digital.   I started thinking about the school itself being a company and the students and parent community being the consumers.  The checklist at the end of the chapter is fitting if you change the last wording from Consumers 2.0:  Seven Guidelines For Marketing Professionals to Seven Guidelines for Marketing Schools.  As teachers I think we can, and should, apply these guidelines to our classrooms.  But it doesn't stop there.  These guidelines need to infuse all aspects of the school setting from the front office to the lunchroom to the recreation areas.  I'll post them for further discussion.

1.  Don't focus on your customers - engage them.  Turn them into prosumers of your goods and services.  Young people want to coinnovate with you.  Let them customize your value.  Open up your products and services.
Some teachers are already doing this with Web 2.0 tools and this is just the beginning.  If parents and students want to make the services better, let them.
2.  Don't create products and services - create consumer experiences.  Add value to your offerings to make them richer experiences and use the Web to help deliver your new value.
Richer experiences lead to greater investment.
3.  Radically reduce advertising in broadcast media.  Shift your "Marketing Communications Spending" to digital media.
And...encourage students and parents to have a hand in the creation of these communications.
4.  Develop a strategy to plug into N-Fluence networks.  The three keys to Net Gen marketing are word of mouth, word of mouth, and....you get the idea.
It's time schools had a presence on social media.  We're missing a great opportunity to connect with customers.
5.  Rethink your brand.  The brand is no longer just a promise, image, or gadget- for many companies it should become a relationship.
We've been promising educations and many believe schools are falling short.  When schools build relationships with their students and parents, learning and good education are easier to achieve.  Students are willing to go the extra mile for a teacher they trust and have a relationship with.
6.  Bake integrity into your corporate DNA and marketing campaigns.  Honesty, consideration, accountability, and transparency are the foundation of trust for this generation.  Be authentic in everything you do.
Share everything worth sharing via social media, newsletters.  Explanation and keeping students and parents informed on events and decisions helps build trust.
7.  Move the Net Generation into the center of your marketing campaigns.  They are important.  They influence all generations like never before.  The Four Ps - product, place, price, and promotion - are an inadequate framework to deal with the consumer of the future.  Replace them with the ABCDE of marketing:  anyplace, brand, communication, discovery, and experience.
We need to move towards bringing the ABCDE of marketing to our lessons so that students will walk away with incredible learning experiences.

It's time to start talking about how we can make these transitions in public education.

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