The LCS Talkers Program – An Innovative Word of Mouth Marketing Strategy

Every school has talkers—parents, alumni, grandparents and friends that talk about their school.

Sometimes these conversations are positive while at other times it can be negative. They will talk about what they have experienced or have heard from someone else about their school.

While you can never control these conversations, you do have an opportunity to be proactive with your talkers and to motivate them to spread word of mouth for your school in your community.

This is exactly what Lakeland Christian School did this year as part of their school’s marketing plan. Even though their program is in its infancy, I believe it has great potential to help spread word of mouth and to get people talking.

Julie Rice, Director of Enrollment, and Sandy Johnson, Communication Specialist, are the creative gurus behind this program—The LCS Talkers.

Julie said that they were motivated to create this program because “Word of mouth marketing is the most effective tool to communicate our mission and advertise our school.”

Andy Sernovitz, in his book Word of Mouth Marketing, talks about the “Talkers” as the first “T” in his framework for word of mouth marketing. It is critical to identify your talkers and then motivate them to talk on your behalf. Sernovitz says, “The people who will talk about your stuff are closer than you think. Your best talkers are probably customers you interact with every day who would love to be given the opportunity to do a little more.”

This is exactly what Julie and Sandy are trying to do with their LCS Talkers program by giving their parents an opportunity to do a little more.

In August they used Facebook and their website to create a teaser message: “Love Our School Out Loud.” This message says it all!

Then, at their back to school nights, they had a “LCS Talkers” table set up with a flier for parents and LCS Talkers t-shirts available to those that expressed interest in this program.

Julie and Sandy describe the program in this way on their flier: “The LCS Talkers program is for our parents, students, alumni and grandparents who love Lakeland Christian School and who will talk about the school in any venue: at church, with friends, at soccer practice, during play dates and more!”

The program really is simple. It is a way to heighten the awareness of word of mouth and then to ask parents to share LCS “Out Loud” in any setting that they can. For those that expressed interest in being a talker, they invited them to a meeting to begin brainstorming where they can talk about the school in the community. The goal is to motivate talkers to take the message of LCS to their natural connection points and groups in which they already belong.

As Julie and Sandy have said, it is really too early to see the results of this program. From my perspective, even if it gets a few people talking about LCS in the community, then it will be worth the effort. The goal for the future of this program is a “strong network of school volunteers who are intentional and passionate about utilizing word of mouth methods to help us market our school in the community.”

This is what word of mouth marketing is all about–Encouraging and inspiring your parents to be talkers in your school’s community.

What do you think about the LCS Talkers program?

Do you do anything similar at your school to get your talkers talking in the community?

This past year I had the opportunity to partner with LCS through my Enrollment Catalyst program. Click here to read more about their successes and enrollment growth.