A Couple of Admissions and Marketing Rants

MarketingThere has been something bothering me for a while that I need to get off my chest.

There are two things that really bug me in independent and faith-based, private schools.

First, it really bugs me when I find a school that has a larger development staff than its admissions/enrollment department.

Isn’t it ironic that many schools have two to three times more staff in the development department and yet they only account for 5-10% of the operational budget?

Isn’t it ironic that the admissions department is primarily responsible for the revenue generation in a school through enrollment and tuition and yet their staff and resources are fewer in size than their fundraising counterparts?

Wouldn’t it make sense to staff the enrollment and admissions department at greater levels and then to anticipate and achieve greater results?

I am glad that one is off my chest. Now, it is time for another one.

Second, it really bugs me when the marketing responsibilities are part of the development office.

Once again, isn’t it ironic that some schools align the marketing responsibilities with the fundraising/development department that only accounts for 5-10% of the revenue for the school (I know there are other dollars being raised for capital improvements and endowments)?

Wouldn’t it make sense to align the enrollment and marketing responsibilities under one department in order to effectively maximize resources to grow the school’s enrollment?

Now I know that I might be generalizing in some cases and may have stepped on some toes. I also know that it might make sense for your school to have a large development department or to align the marketing functions within this area.

However, I believe that schools are better off when their admissions and enrollment departments are fully staffed to accomplish their goals. Ironically, I still find schools that are just beginning to devote resources to hiring their first full-time admissions or marketing professional.

I also believe that the enrollment/admissions staff work best when they are aligned with the marketing effort. After all, it makes sense to focus your school’s marketing efforts on growing enrollment since this is what your budget is dependent on tuition revenue. Whether admissions and marketing are in one department or both functions report directly to the head of school, either scenario can work.

Marketing should be focused on lead generation, storytelling and brand awareness–all of which fully supports the admissions and enrollment effort. When this is clicking on all cylinders, the funnel should be full of leads and should provide nurturing opportunities for the admissions director.

I feel better now.