No Marketing Classes = No Problem
When I present at conferences, I always ask the participants how many of them completed a marketing course while they were completing college courses to obtain their education degree or license. I usually get a few hands that are raised and that is it. The truth is, we don't discuss marketing in education. We don't address it in our college classes and I'm not sure how many future educators hear about it during their student teaching. The thought is, there are more important topics than marketing to cover for students learning to become educators and administrators. Right? Or are there?
Lead the Charge
The field of education is full of intelligent and energetic teachers and students. There are amazing things that happen every day at school. Things that many teachers and students take for granted. Students usually don’t go home and tell their parents:
- "Today we used tiered grouping in my Science class and I understand what is going on!”; or
- “We made products in our Advisory period the last couple of weeks to deliver to the senior center for their residents.”
Its not that the students don't care. It's that the vast majority of the students are not concerned about the marketing of school or their classes. As we will discuss later, is it really their responsibility to market their classroom experiences anyway?
As educators, we have an obligation to market our schools. As Flynn Berry states, “We should never use the word opportunity. Its not an opportunity, it’s an obligation.” In our society, there is an abundance of tools to use to market our message. There are ample videos, sites, tweets to use to learn how to utilize modern, inexpensive marketing tools. Take the time to learn how to use some of the tools. Let's not leave any room for excuses. There are enough excuses in education today, let’s not make more on why we can’t or won’t promote the positive attributes of our schools and students.
Passion and Urgency
All educators are blessed to be in a field where we can make change happen everyday we go to work. By utilizing the “4 C’s” (connect, confidence, collaboration, creativity), you lead everyday you walk through the doors. Market like you never have before. Visualize how you want resources and tools to look and then make the vision a reality. We all have to utilize the passion that we have as educators to lead and make change happen. And we have to do it now! What are we waiting on?
Educate the Tribe
I am a huge fan of Seth Godin’s book Tribes. He does a great job of discussing leadership and selling stories. One of my favorite quotes in the book is, “While most organizations spend their time marketing to the crowd, smart organizations assemble their tribe.” Spend your time marketing to your stakeholders. Get your message to your tribe; don’t worry about marketing to a different client. Use marketing tools that your stakeholders use and are comfortable with (if a lot of parents use Facebook, then use Facebook). That way there is a higher probability they will see your message.
We always have to be working on educating our stakeholders. As New Albany HS principal Dwight Carter once said to me, “Its our job to educate stakeholders. We don’t know what they don’t know.” Its our responsibility as educators to find out what they don’t know. Find out what they want from our schools. Help our stakeholders grow like you help their children grow in the classroom each day.
We need to market the positives in the education field now more than ever. You don’t need to have a degree in Marketing to do it either. Be the change agent for your classroom, building and district. Utilize all of the tools necessary to tell your story. Don’t limit yourself by questioning whether you should or should not do it. Utilize your passion for education and let others see the great things that you know take place each day. Share it with your stakeholders and keep them informed. Your marketing degree, I mean your education degree, will reap rewards for you that you didn’t expect when you first got into education.