This week’s “Marketing Matter” comes from a former Principal of a school in Southwestern Pennsylvania:
“In the morning, I go outside when weather permits and greet parents as they drop students off at school. I’m usually able to say a few words to them. I also go to the parking lot for car pick up (in the afternoon) and have a chance to talk to them. This seems to work better than trying to call all of them on the phone since most people have answering machines and I spend most of my day playing telephone tag.”
Visibility and accessibility are vital to the success of a faith-based school today. Sales training guru Jeffrey Gitomer (author of “The Sales Bible.” Check out his Web site at http://www.gitomer.com/) once stated, “It’s not who you know…it’s who knows you!” (If you’re wondering why I’ve included a reference to sales, if you’re leading a school which charges tuition, you’re in sales – you just call it “enrollment.”)
In the spirit of my “Next Practices” insights and strategies, I like to take it one step further – “It’s who’s going to know you.” If you treat the parents and guardians of your school this way, it will create positive Word of Mouth marketing for your school since parents talk to parents.
Most of today’s parents and guardians in your elementary school are members of the Millennial Generation, and parents of high school students are members of Generation X – the “Me” Generation. Members of Generation X want to be treated as individuals (which, in the greater scheme of things, has been and is the greatest threat to your school, but more about that later). They are concerned about “themselves” and “their kids.” They even speak about their children as “my kids.” Millennials are more about “us” than “me,” but because they live on their mobile devices and are addicted to tapping the “like” button on Facebook, it’s not a far stretch to realize they associate not as “us,” but people “like us” – which may be helpful in understanding today’s societal concerns. For both of these groups, personalization is important to them. They’re more apt to respond to a letter or email communication that starts our “Dear Roger and Grace,” rather than “Dear Parents.” And since we may not be able to have personal face-to-face conversations during this pandemic, they need to know that they are being personally acknowledged as important to the school community. It’s not all about having their children as part of the school community, since their role supports the school every time that tuition payment comes due.
© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2006-2021 (Original Publication Date: 20060925)