There are two distinct levels at which you should evaluate success - please make time for this during the year as well as at the end!
1. Marketing objectives
Each part of the marketing mix (see image above) should have a marketing objective (e.g. number of media articles achieved or applications received). Many of these are easy to track throughout the year, especially if effective CRM systems have been used. Progress against these targets should be discussed at regular meetings involving all marketing staff.
If it appears that there are likely to be shortfalls against marketing targets, especially in recruitment of students, action needs to be taken. This could involve committing contingency funds to enhance successful activities, or reducing the focus on long-term marketing activity such as perceptions research to focus more on short-term activity such as contacting prospective parents personally.
Other ongoing activities should also be reviewed, even if overall targets are being met. For example, if a specific advert achieved very little interest you might decide not to use that advert again – although with an established publication you would probably want to see a pattern over a few months before making too many changes. Conversely, if attending a local fair achieved a lot of interest a school might want to consider spending contingency money on similar events, or at least making a note to consider spending more money in this are next year.
2. Organisational Objectives
The most useful way of showing the impact of marketing on your school (especially when meeting with your Business Manager or Bursar!) is to calculate the return on investment (ROI) by tracking which marketing activities directly led to new student recruitment.
Given that all schools now receive funding per student, you can project forward the income that student will bring to the school (usually over 5-7 years) and compare the income to the particular marketing activity and to the overall marketing spend. In a typical private school, each new student will bring in £50,000, while the figure may be closer to £20,000 in a state school.
Progress against other organisational objectives (such as changing perceptions or fundraising for development) also needs to be discussed regularly and the marketing function needs to attend the meetings where these are being discussed. If organisational objectives change, marketing objectives should be changed to reflect them as soon as possible.
This article is taken from 'Marketing Your School' by Simon Hepburn. Click here to find out more about it!