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What comes to mind when you hear the term “audit?” For many of us, it’s accountants poring over excel spreadsheets, looking for errors and discrepancies. Why go through the effort to review your pieces, analyze results, make comparisons, and benchmark against other schools?
Consistency and quality: On a basic level, you’ll ensure that your website, ads, and documents, especially those you use as templates, are well-written, error-free, and up-to-date.
Best Practices: Are you taking advantage of advances in web management, video, and social media? Constituent Interests: As you analyze your email clicks, social media engagement, and web page visits, you can gain valuable knowledge on what’s important to your parents, alumni and prospective families. Campaign integration: Stepping back to review your communications holistically offers a terrific opportunity to confirm your pieces are not only consistent and error-free but also strategically aligned. In part II, to be published the week of January 18th, I will provide detailed tips on preparing and executing a communications audit, with a bonus section on benchmarking.
William Bullard is a strategic marketer who spent most of his career in the business world before moving into education.
Marketing research for Independent Schools – Part 1 of 2: how technology is shaping the process. Good job, William — I like the checklist format and the POV that all communications need to be coherent and authentic, reflecting what your audience values and what you as a school stand for. Brand strategists, writers, marketing mavens, media gurus, creatives, web designers, PR types, social media whizzes.


Please, upgrade to a different browser or install Google Chrome Frame to experience this site. And while this perception is often accurate, an alternative view is that delving into elements of your school is not only valuable, but can also be interesting and fun.
On a more strategic level, you can determine if your messaging, brand, voice, and positioning are consistent across various media and also across departments (see “campaign integration” below). Presumably you want to know how they help your team meet your school’s larger strategic and specific communications objectives. Is your website responsive, i.e., does it know what device the reader is using and adapt the presentation? Though many topics must be covered in each specific campaign, insights from your audit can give you new ideas on not only the focus of your communications but also on new activities and possibly even new or updated arts or academic offerings.
Do you describe your school’s core values and emphasize its key attributes fairly uniformly to your diverse constituents? After reviewing and benchmarking, while you may have renewed confidence in your approach, you may also make creative or operational advances. In these cases, your audit is more critical than ever to ensure the common language and strategic alignment noted above.
He has been the director of communications at two independent schools in greater Boston as well as a social media consultant for a leading literacy training company. I always like to check what ‘we’ do against your lists to be sure we are doing it right!
While it is fine, in fact desirable, to target a specific message to a potential student in a follow-up to a visit, or celebrate a retired faculty member in an alumni fund appeal, most school-driven communications should focus on core messages about shared goals, priorities, successes, and challenges.


He is especially interested in applying lessons from his early-stage work in direct marketing, the Internet, and digital marketing to schools. Part II will move from strategy into more practical tips, eg what do you specifically track and look for in each medium, how to segment your analysis, and tips on benchmarking. You provide a terrific guide to help schools begin the process of improving the effectiveness of communications. As the VP of Internet Marketing for the Boston chapter of the American Marketing Association, he is a frequent blogger.
Do your development campaigns draw interest from alumni and other groups, and help you exceed your fundraising goals? You can find best practices used by leading organizations in and outside of education that offer guidance on “how to” analyze and maximize the influence of your presentation. William is a strategic partner for Kalix Communications, focusing on digital and data-driven marketing. There are two main ways to answer these questions: comparing your current marketing programs to those of previous years, and to those of your peers and top schools.



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Comments

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