Folks who follow InspirED know that we show you how to boost your school’s brand and market it in a myriad of ways from pricey to free, from long-term investments to short-term gains.
We referenced the importance of keeping your customers happy as one of your key marketing tools in a recent popular post, and while that involves a good deal of free actions, it also requires an investment of money for excellent programs, great facilities, and outstanding faculty.
The top of the heap in marketing and the first step for success, however, is not something that requires money. It’s mindset.
Marketing lessons from the Bahamians.
I came to this conclusion after reading a post by Penny Rogers, marketing communications, admission, and development consultant for Independent School Management (ISM), about how welcomed she was made to feel by virtually the entire country on a recent trip to the Bahamas.
I was struck by the level of customer service I experienced — from the airport customs agents, to the taxi drivers, to the servers in local restaurants. Everyone — and I mean everyone in this nation of under 400,000 — went out of their way to make sure my visit was beyond my expectations. Even the children I passed on Nassau’s sidewalks would stop and ask me if I was enjoying my visit.
— Penny Rogers, Consultant, ISM
What if schools did this, Penny goes on to ask. What if we made the customer experience so exceptional that families would be compelled to spend their tuition dollars on your school, not the other one down the road?
In discussing the Bahamas as a tourist destination, Houstonia Magazine wrote:
Warmth and generosity are not foreign to the islands of the Caribbean, but in the Bahamas, accidents of history and necessity appear to have forged a unique and disarming joy in hosting tourists. In focusing less on service than sharing, less on catering to visitors than celebrating their visits, the Bahamian tourism industry has turned hospitality into something of an art.
If our schools did more “joy in hosting” students and their parents, and more, much more, “celebrating their visits,” perhaps enrollment at every school would be bursting at the seams.
(I did some research but couldn’t figure out if this was an orchestrated internal marketing campaign targeting the people of the Bahamas or if Bahamians adopted this ethos through word-of-mouth, but it’s working if folks feel like Penny does about where to spend their vacation dollars.)
What if your livelihood depended on it?
Up to 70% of the Bahamian population rely on tourism for their livelihood, Penny points out in her post. What percentage of private school employees rely on enrollment for their livelihood? 100.
So why shouldn’t the mindset of every single person working at a private school be anchored in the brand, marketing the school and making the customer experience exceed expectations? What if every employee had the “marketing mindset?” What if every employee knew the name of every parent and student? What if employees took visitors to the location they needed go instead of giving them directions? What if employees treated families like a guest in their home instead of a family member who’s always there?
InspirED likes to call it “sprinkling fairy dust” everywhere you go.
A mindset is free. You just need to set it to the right position to change everything.
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