I like to say that marketing is about people and sales is about the dollars. Marketing is about developing excellent relationships and building a reputation of excellence so others want to work with you. The most effective marketing starts from the inside out. This includes the marketing of educational programs, be it an English as a Second Language program, a literacy program or any other kind of educational program.
Here’s how: Managers, administrative staff, teachers, tutors and all staff become your program’s ambassadors in the community; not because you want them to, but because they want to. Are you the kind of administrator who inspires your staff to be an ambassador for your program?
- Do you treat them as if they are the most important aspect of the program? Excellent teachers = excellent program.
- Do they have their own business cards? A business card is a symbol of professionalism. Can you really afford not to have them? If your teachers don’t have this “business basic”, the message you are sending is that they are not considered professionals.
- Do you ask for their input? What are their ideas on how to clean up the school, improve the program and extend your reach further into the community? Do you ask them to act on their ideas by pitching in to help the school improve?
If you want to market successfully, start from the inside out. Make sure relationships within the school are the best they can be.
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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.