Some academics in the business sector believe adoption of innovation should happen when your company is on the rise. I am very confident in stating that many/most NAIS member schools are on the rise in terms of program, facilities and they way they support students academically, emotionally and physically. For the current K-12 generation, many public schools are struggling to meet the programmatic, facilities and student support needs of their students. (I am not placing blame, just noting that these struggles exist.) The K-12 population needs more of the benefits that independent schools offer. Yet, my beloved independent schools are on the verge of crisis. The business model is broken! They are so tuition dependent and even with growing financial aid budgets many families don’t think this level of education is within financial reach for their child. So, private schools are even more focused on innovating their marketing campaigns in an effort to increase the number of families who will consider making this financial sacrifice, explain the justification for this level of investment in their child’s education, and articulate a case to support the current and future students with philanthropic dollars. One way to do this – intensify your digital footprint!
In no way do I think all business principles should be applied to independent schools. Nor, do I think that all marketing should be done virtually. I continue to be a strong believer in the power of face-to-face relationship building. However, I do think we can learn a thing or two from Gregory Pouy. I also think the for-profit world could learn many lessons from independent schools about individualizing the “consumer” experience. We call it a child-centered approached to meeting the individual needs of each student. (I hope to write more about this comparison at a later time. I just need to get through writing my dissertation.) I think independent schools need to be more aggressive in how they innovate their marketing strategies, especially in light of how students and parents get their information about schools. In the meantime, please check out this presentation and consider ways it could be helpful as we begin the 2013-2014 admissions season.