Singing from the same Hymn Sheet
Hymns in church bring people together. They allow church goers to sing as one, in unison, and everyone literally should be on the same page. For some, it is a gratifying experience, expressing oneself while at the same time not deviating from the same notes and words as everyone else. And, you can also easily spot those who don’t know the hymn and are trying valiantly to look as if they do. It is the same with marketing in schools. It brings people together, looking as if they are all singing from the same hymn sheet, yet only a few truly understand the message and the brand you are trying to create.
Marketing a school can be unquantifiable – everyone is an expert and everyone has an opinion. The question is whether you, as the Marketing Manager, can keep your school on point. Can you keep away from the muddying waters? Can you achieve the goals and targets that your school is aiming for? Can you also keep the peace? By this, I mean that it is very important that everyone supports your role within the school. While teachers can generate much of your work, they will also come to you with marketing ideas and it is your job to sift through them, identifying ones that could clearly work and ones that clearly won’t. Yet, at the same time, you need to keep every teacher on board with what the school is trying to achieve. And, while their idea will probably not fit into the grand scheme of things at this precise moment, it is a gift that you are willing to accept and put away for a later date. Be subtle, gracious and open to all ideas and don’t close anyone down just because their thoughts don’t fit. It is their willingness to give ideas that you should always treasure.
Equally, it is important to steer your Senior Management Team. To do this successfully, you need to be a member of your SMT otherwise they will discuss ‘marketing’ ideas without you and you will simply be called upon to put ‘their’ ideas into action. A frustrating process for a marketing expert such as yourself! Your Head or your Bursar may see themselves as the marketing professionals but surely that is what they are paying you for? Again, subtlety and inclusion are vital. Everyone should play their part but you should be at the very epicentre of all marketing activity. If you aren’t, ask yourself why not? Are you an ideas person? Or, are you merely carrying out the orders of others? I would suggest that, to satisfy all groups as well as your professional sanity, make sure you do both.