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school marketing news

8 tips on how to speak your Principal’s language

Posted by Vanessa Klomp

shutterstock_189291665_253x169px.jpgIt’s a well-known fact that men and women communicate differently, which can be frustrating for both genders and sometimes leads to relationship problems. A similar issue can arise with school marketers and their non-marketing colleagues. In a school setting communication issues can result in reduced enrolments and, ultimately, the budget not being met. For any principal, the school budget is a major focus when managing a school as they have the whole school picture in mind.

School marketers, this is why it is important to ‘speak your principal’s language’.

Just as men and women think differently, react differently to stress and have different communication expectations – it is the same for school marketers and non-marketers. They may seem worlds apart. This can cause stress on both sides. School marketers can become frustrated that their marketing budget and strategies are questioned, and viewed as the root of the problem rather than being something that can assist with solutions. Principals are concerned about the budget dollars spent on marketing activities, and may even consider it non-measureable and a risk.

It is up to the school marketer to change this perception and communicate the value of marketing to them. The benefits will be well worth the effort.

Here are eight tips for how to achieve this:

  1. A key focus for any principal is the budget so it is important to speak in financial terms. Demonstrate the link between marketing activity and enrolment numbers and the associated dollar values. Focus on the outcomes and provide easy to understand graphs and diagrams.

  2. Interpret information and data presented by the principal, ask questions and then demonstrate measureable returns on marketing investments.

  3. Ensure you are aware of the school’s overall vision, goals and strategies and demonstrate the role marketing and communications will play in achieving those goals. Ensure your marketing strategy is aligned with the school’s business plan.

  4. When you present a proposal to the principal, state what you plan to do, reasons why, resources required and timeframe.

  5. Don’t present a problem without suggesting a solution or the next step to finding a solution.

  6. Keep facts separate from opinions – speak to the bottom line as this is what the principal is interested in. Therefore, always present facts first.

  7. Be prepared by anticipating the five most logical and natural questions your principal would probably ask. Then mention each question and answer it, even before they have the opportunity to ask it. This demonstrates you have carefully thought things through and you have done some of the analytical thinking for them.

  8. Have supporting data easily accessible to support any questions that might arise.

You may not completely speak your principal’s language, but the fact you are trying will be appreciated and they will be more likely to support your efforts. An added benefit is that you’ll keep meeting times to a minimum and they’ll love you for it (and I’m sure you’ll appreciate the extra time too!).

Here are some resources you may find useful:

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This blog was written by Vanessa Klomp

Vanessa has in-depth knowledge of the education industry having worked in high school, home-schooling, international language and post-graduate fields of education, making her a natural fit to undertake the marketing communications of a number of imageseven’s education, not-for-profit and professional services clients. Vanessa enjoys travelling, running, sharing time with friends and family, and simply being outdoors.


Topics: Education, imageseven, Communication, Marcom, School vision, School marketing strategy, School marketing, School