Last year, I posted a Marketing Matter that stated “It’s not who you know, but who knows you.”  Sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer has stated this concept in several of his excellent and inspiring books.

But I’ve come to believe that successful marketing is all about making the right connections. Positioning makes the connection between a product and the audience for which it is intended, and branding reinforces the image of that product in the mind of that audience.

Your “brand” is not just your logo; it’s EVERYTHING about your school.

Networking is essential in today’s business world.  It was essential 35 years ago, but we didn’t have access to the Internet in 1988.  Today, if you know someone, you can make a connection with that person to get to where you desire to go, obtain what you need, or, at the very least, connect with another person who can help you attain one of the first two potential outcomes.

But that will only take you so far. When additional business (or enrollment in the case of a school) is necessary, your integrity, reputation and manner in which you deal with others will be shown to others by your example. You become the person (or your school becomes the institution) that people will seek out because of what you are. The theory of “Who Knows You” draws people to you and your school. It’s the basis of the success of “Word of Mouth” marketing, and why “Word of Mouth” is the most powerful type of marketing you can emphasize.

But even focusing on “Who Knows You” will only take you so far.   The real power is integrity (“Doing the right thing when nobody’s watching”) not acquaintance (“Who do you know”) or reputation (“Who knows you”).

You never know who you’re going to know.

Therefore, the power of integrity lies in “Who will you know.”

Personal experience reinforces my belief in this concept.

My high school graduating planned its 45th reunion last year. We were just a bunch of kids four decades ago – but now, our 174 graduates include a Tony award-winning Broadway composer, a television show writer, the chairman of the board of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the country, the General Manager of a National Hockey League franchise, a former State representative, and the director of Western Hemisphere Sales for a major automobile manufacturer.

We can take a lesson from those who are connected via their social networks today.  It’s not so much that they spend time on their mobile devices, but they use them to keep in contact with their friends. Thirty to forty years from now, they’ll still be connected – and as long as we teach them to do the right thing when nobody’s looking, their connectedness will really make things happen in this world.

As for right now, who will you meet today that will be a great connection for your school?

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2008-2023 (Original Publication Date: 20080310)