Marketing and admissions strategies
Prior to Headship I undertook two strategic roles focussed on marketing and pupil recruitment. At an HMC school I sent six years with responsibly for all school media, marketing and public relations. Then United Learning appointed me as their first deputy head with overall responsibility for school marketing and pupil recruitment. The distinction between the role of marketing and admissions is important and is one on that continues to cause issues for some schools. No matter how impressive looking and sometime expensive the marketing, it needs to lead to bottom line benefits to the school in the form of more enquires and higher admissions.
As a senior leader in the UK and overseas I have made the effective structuring of marketing and admissions a priority. In 20 years as a Head and 5 years as deputy in charge of marketing, pupils numbers in every school rose to their highest ever levels with revenue increasing accordingly.
Schools marketing has become a well organised, professionalised and complex aspect of school management with its own qualifications training opportunities, awards and administrative body. There is a great deal to commend this. However, marketing in not an end in itself and its impact and its effectiveness must be measured in terms of recruitment and retention of pupils. As a Head and governor I have read a great many marketing reports, hired a number of well-respected agencies and listened to countless presentations. All have value and can result in brilliant, targeted videos, publications and social media campaigns but they have to lead to more pupils to be justified. Admissions (or sales) is a vital part of marketing; getting the strategic aspect of marketing and recruitment right may require reorganisation, difficult decisions, training and even changes in personnel.
I entered leadership with a background in commerce and experience of marketing schools. Many Heads enter headship with significant experience in other areas such as pastoral care, curriculum development, staff leadership and with a great academic pedigree. This may mean that effective leadership in marketing and pupil recruitment is not playing to their strengths. In some cases it can mean that pupil numbers actually fall in their early years as the head becomes familiar with this very commercial challenge.
From experience I know that timely strategic advice on admissions and marketing can make a high impact and significant difference to pupil numbers and school income.
For a confidential conversation about admissions and marketing please get in touch via the contact page or us the chat button.