Parents as Advocates, Ambassadors and Word of Mouth Marketers

If you have been a regular reader of my blogs or if you have heard me speak at a conference, you will recognize that word of mouth marketing is one of the main strategies that I discuss. In fact, it is the subject of a webinar I will be facilitating next week (see details at the end of this post).

In every focus group or parent survey that I conduct for a school, the power of word of mouth is evident. Your prospective parents first learn about your school from someone else.

In the parent surveys that I administer, I typically ask the question: “How can the administration increase the school’s awareness and improve its marketing effort in the community?”

Recently, in a survey at one of my school clients, the following two responses from parents stood out to me:

“The best marketing is the kind you don’t buy.”

“If parents are satisfied, you won’t have to spend a dime to advertise. We talk continually about the education of our children.”

These quotes sum up the power of word of mouth marketing and it is an important reminder that this should be the focus of your strategy.

Isn’t it ironic that many school leaders spend a lot of time and budget resources on traditional outbound (advertising) strategies? Yet, the best form of advertising is the kind you can’t buy.

Word of mouth through your parents is the best way to market your school.

Word of mouth is always linked to parent satisfaction as it flows directly out of their experience at your school. If your parents are very satisfied, then word of mouth will be strong. If not, then you must work on improving your school to turn around satisfaction. Then, this improved satisfaction will ultimately drive positive word of mouth.

A satisfied parent will be an advocate, ambassador and word of mouth marketer for your school.

This is why I begin my process at a school with a site visit and parent survey to understand the overall parent satisfaction level. I want to understand how parents feel about their experience at a school.

Parents should be the foundation and focus of your marketing strategy. They are the key to your success.

Next week I will be facilitating a webinar for the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals (AISAP) on this topic with Shannon Drosky, Director of Marketing and Communications, and Laura Murphy, Director of Admissions, at The Out-of-Door Academy (ODA) in Sarasota, FL.

We will discuss “Parents as Advocates, Ambassadors and Word of Mouth Marketers” by taking an inside look at ODA. The webinar will be offered on Tuesday, May 14, at 4pm EDT.

I have known Shannon and Laura for many years and they are outstanding leaders and professionals in the independent school enrollment and marketing world. They have a model program at ODA and you won’t want to miss this webinar.

You can register for this webinar on the AISAP website. For AISAP members, the benefit is that there is no cost (For non-AISAP non-members, this is one reason why you should join!).

I hope you will register for this webinar as you consider how you can best use your parents as advocates, ambassadors and word of mouth marketers.