I recently learned via my subscription to InspirED's School Marketers Daily Jolt newsletter that InspirED's podcasts, hosted by co-founder Rob Norman, announced that his interview with me about Private School Faculty As Marketers was one of his top two episodes "of all time."
InspirED serves the needs of thousands of PK-12 education marketing and communication specialists around the world.
Rob calls his podcast the SparkCast (are you beginning to see the "connection" to all things electric in InspirED's branding)? So far, he's conducted about 41 interviews with private school leaders and influencers. Topics are typically marketing and communication-centric, ranging from discussions about the state of social media, the role of the Head of School in marketing, or the trend toward schools naming a "Chief Experience Officer," for example. So we were thrilled to hear that our interview about teachers was among the most downloaded of all.
Now, with all humility, I admit that any designation that includes the words "for all time" also implies that it means "so far." But, hey, I'll take it! I've been a teacher, enrollment director, development director, communications director, and have held more than my share of independent school leadership positions in my day before becoming an education marketing and advancement consultant 22 years ago.
If you keep showing up year after year, as we have, "we tend to know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two," as the TV insurance ad quips.
But why was Private School Faculty as Marketers such a popular topic?
Over my career on the front lines of the classroom, the administration, and as a consultant (where the "big picture" becomes more clear) I continue to be struck by how often teachers equate marketing with advertising and pandering to parents. They tend to say "it's not my job." But the truth is that teachers, along with students and parents, hold all the credibility cards. People will believe a teacher's positive or negative remark about his or her school more than the enrollment director, who is tasked with filling seats. Without teacher and Head support, nearly all marketing initiatives will fall flat or fail outright.
Teachers and enrollment directors need each other! It's symbiotic. Teachers have a vested interest in helping enrollment directors get the students they want to teach. If the teachers are on board, enrollment will be successful. If enrollment is successful, teachers have jobs. We're talking about a mutually beneficial way to serve everyone's "enlightened self-interest" here. Make no mistake. It's a simple equation. Every enrollment director I know would love for teachers to step up to the job of helping enroll and retain mission-appropriate families and students.
Remember: "Admission directors and enrollment managers may set the table, but the teachers and the coaches bring the entrée."
So, if you agree with me that everyone has a role in marketing and promoting your school--Heads, trustees, teachers, parents, students, alumni--maybe this SparkCast episode Rob and I did together will be a worthwhile listen.
And if that topic isn't your cup of tea, Rob currently has many others that will catch your ear and make your job easier.