Part 2b: More Research

School Marketing Matters

Next, list the demographic information about your students, families and community.

Review and rank student achievements. What makes you proud of your student body? What makes your students special?

Then list and rank the desirable characteristics of your school related to academic and program content.

Next list and rank the desirable physical, organizational and operational characteristics of your school (facilities/notable Prop Z improvements underway, location, size, structure, activities, etc.)

Male student

Also list the various members of your school community and the roles they can play in the school marketing effort.

Once you've compiled that information, the next step is to discuss and list the types of research techniques you plan to use in developing your program.

Research tools may include focus groups, random surveys, interviews with key people, public hearings, principal coffee talks or discussions at organizational meetings, such as your PTA or other parent-teacher group. Free survey tools available at San Diego Unified include SchoolMessenger telephone surveys and online surveys through your website.

Based on all the information compiled, prepare a list of the highest ranking characteristics about your school that the staff are most proud of and /or feel can be successfully developed further. Include characteristics about your student body, academics and other programs, physical, organizational and operational attributes.

Research Worksheet #2

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Bring a list of these top characteristics to your next school community meeting to gather additional input. You will use this information to create your school's key messages.

At the meeting, ask these questions:

  • "Which characteristics could we provide with existing resources?"

  • "Which could we provide if we eliminate or reduce other things?"

  • "What characteristics do we offer, but no one takes advantage of them or no one knows about them?"

  • "Who wants which characteristics and is this group important to our school?"

  • "What kind of training do we need so that we can implement the highest-rated characteristics?

  • "Who needs to be trained?"

  • "What characteristics could we provide in a relatively short time with limited effort?"

  • "Which characteristics would require more time and greater effort?"

  • Finally, evaluate the top 3-5 characteristics according to educational soundness and practicality and incorporate them into your school marketing plan. You will be developing "Key Messages" about these characteristics to reach target audiences.

This process takes time. By following these suggestions in the manner that best suits your school, these activities should help you and your team determine what your school provides that people need and want.

It also allows you to collectively identify what you don't provide that people need and want and together commit to making positive changes at your school.

Small Arrow. Part 3: Know & Serve Your Target Audiences