Education Marketing and Advancement

Objectivity, transparency, and a collaborative spirit

Marketing Therapy

with Mike Connor

So What?

When I was a Reader (that's an actual job title, folks) at a California junior college a few lifetimes ago, it was my job to evaluate and grade history essays.  Remember those blue books?

I was always entertained (and frustrated) by how many of my students danced around an essay question rather than embrace it.  Evade it rather than invade it. Sometimes it was because they didn't have a clue. They threw out something--anything--hoping it would stick.  Then there were the ones who dumped as many facts as they could at the foot of the question.  Surround the question with facts! Choke it to death with facts!  They wanted me to know that at least they made the effort to memorize something; they hoped their intention would earn a pass. But they failed to connect the dots and explain why the facts were relevant to the question. 

To both of these groups, I must have written "So What?"  a thousand times along the left margins.  I wasn't trying to be cruel, and I did provide some helpful advice, too.  But like the Zen teacher, I wanted to get their attention with the equivalent of a whack with a stick to the head, or an unexpected swift push from a high window. So What?  So What?  I really was relentless.   (If one of you is reading this, please be kind.  I meant well).

But for the seekers and consumers of independent education, that is the point, isn't it?  How is what you are claiming relevant to what they really care about?   How are your noble intentions manifested in the real world?  Where is the value--according to how THEY interpret value?

In all of our communications, apply the "So What?" test.  Why is what you are doing significant? How do you know?  Where is the evidence?  Why should I care?  How are you different than the multitude of other choices I have? How will you make my child's life better?  How will you make a difference to my family?  Why should I buy this from you? Prove it.  Demonstrate it.  

Always answer the question for value: "So what?"

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