Education Marketing Strategies post Covid 19

In times of great strife, life gets stripped back to the bare essentials. This is no truer than with Covid 19.

For most families this has been economic survival and as much stability as possible for their children. For schools this has been: how could they continue to educate children in the best possible way with all things considered.

Schools are now working through this via a mix on at home online models and in school supervision of materials – the goal being that no matter where you are being educated and by whom you will not have an advantage over anyone else.

We will come through this and already there are encouraging signs. What are the impacts, approaches and marketing strategies that will help drive success on the other side?
And what promise and potential did the 2020s hold before all this happened? What should we be focussing on going forward?

We see Covid 19 having an impact in 5 key areas.

  1. Economic
  2. Respect for teachers
  3. Offerings
  4. Trust
  5. Marketing
Economic

There will be economic impacts that will affect families and their financial capacity to send children to fee-paying schools. This will likely result in delaying the start of enrolment to an older age, or starting their kids at Catholic Ed with a plan to move them across to another private school at a later date.

This may require schools having to add extra value or decrease or freeze fees to be competitive. It is likely that the demand will be less than it has been, thereby increasing the competition to attract and retain students. (Supply will be greater than demand) Retention should be a key priority as this will influence positive word of mouth.

Respect for Teachers

Because we have so many occupations today, there are fewer parents that have exposure to the teaching experience. Covid-19 has gone some ways to providing an insight into the importance of educators and of highly-engaged educators. For many parents, home education has been a big challenge. It is hoped it creates a greater appreciation, empathy and respect for teachers. A number of parents may come through this process more discerning of the quality of education their children are receiving. This complements the next point.

Products

Excelling Online
Schools that have been able to deliver a superior educational experience during this time and demonstrate that – through technology, proficiency of systems, accessibility of staff, community (wellbeing and connectedness) – and results – will be able to add this to their talking points. It’s a key feature and benefit.

Other educational offerings
There is likely to be renewed interest in medical and manufacturing vocations – with greater recognition of the value of medical workers and the fostering of a local manufacturing industry. STEM subjects will continue to be of value. Students have been able to see first-hand the value of mathematics and modelling and data analysis. Like TV shows created interested a decade ago in forensic science this will foster interest in what is happening in our society and culture.

Trust

Over the past few years surveys reveal that trust in politicians and other bodies, e.g. religious institutions, sporting codes – and sadly science – is at an all-time low. What has emerged in recent weeks is that those countries that have a leader and systems they can trust have pulled together well. And what enables that trust? Values.

Use this Meme quote:

“We all trust in your decision making process because we trust in your values.”

With that in mind it’s important to be clear on your values, have buy-in from all staff on your values, communicate those values and live those values.

Marketing

Given all this it can be hard for many schools to know what to focus on and how to get it right. With considerable experience in marketing and education marketing – over several decades – we’ve got some advice to offer on Marketing Strategies and Marketing Spend.

We believe the 5 key marketing strategies that every school and educational institution should focus on as their top-level marketing priorities now and into the immediate future is as follows:

  1. Reclaim and promote your WHY (and include your values)
  2. Demonstrate value whilst remaining sustainable
  3. Balance the promotion of innovation vs fundamentals and results
  4. Demonstrate a global learning environment that delivers globally competent students
  5. Create raving fan communities

You can read this blog for a more detailed look at these top strategies 5.

Marketing Spend During Covid-19

Any financial downturn can become a downward spiral if not well managed.

History has shown that those companies that can continue to promote their offerings during such periods come out on top.

A March 2020 Forbes magazine article gave some good advice on marketing strategies and spend during downturns like Covid-19. (You can read the article here

Companies that cut advertising take much longer to recover, as such action will not only depress sales and market share.

There is much you can do during these times that are low cost items even (e.g. with social media in particular), to maintain a presence, demonstrate your values, advance your brand and develop your community.

Ultimately though you need to be ready to take off and be first in market as things wind up again. People will be hungry for new news.