Ever heard the expression, “He couldn’t see the forest for the trees”? It refers to someone who loses his perspective on a situation because they are too involved (and invested) in the situation to see it clearly. This is what can happen when you market your program. You may think that your current brochures, web page, etc. are just fine– but what do others think about them? Do you really know?
What’s the solution? Have your marketing materials audited. If you have your current marketing materials audited, you may get a clearer picture of what outsiders really think of your materials – and your program. An audit is usually conducted by an impartial third party, and it involves an objective evaluation of your materials to determine what is good about them and what you need to improve.
This may mean hiring a marketing professional or educational consultant to review what you currently have. What she will probably do is review and assess how you:
• use branding (for example, your logo and image)
• convey the information (language, style, readability)
• use colour, graphics, font and typesetting
• can make your marketing more effective
An audit may also include an evaluation of the texture and quality of paper you choose for your printed materials, the accessibility of your web site, a ranking of your web site in search engines or an evaluation of your office stationery. These are all factors to consider when you are thinking about how you present your image to the world.
An audit of your marketing material done by an objective outsider may surprise you. A good consultant will give you no-nonsense feedback about your marketing materials and valuable information on how to improve them. These improvements may give your school the competitive edge it lacks.
There are hundreds of marketing consultants out there. It may benefit you to hire someone who specializes in educational or international marketing so you can get the best assessment possible.
Once the audit is complete, you will then have to decide which, if any, of the auditor’s recommendations to use. This will depend on cost, time and your own perception of how you wish to present your school. But inevitably, you will come away with a fresh perspective on how others view your school through your marketing materials.
This post is an adapted excerpt from 101 Ways to Market Your Language Program It is been adapted from “Idea # 8: Have your current marketing materials audited.”
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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.