As long as the buzz is positive, social media can generate referrals and inquiries. But if you know in your heart of hearts that your organization may be offering a mediocre product or mediocre delivery, social media can be unforgiving. Beware the dangers of "overpromise and underdeliver!"
Which is why development, communication, and admission officers in schools need to monitor the quality of the product before promoting it. In schools, teaching and learning is the product. Marketers need to pay attention to product and outcomes, first above all, even though quality control may not be in your formal job description.
Sure. It's easy to get caught up in the latest tools and tactics. Instagram, Pinterest, the new newsfeed from Facebook. We think that as marketers, that's the most important thing we do.
Job one for marketers is to be the customer advocate--the curator of customers--for your organization. To ensure that they are getting their money's worth. Some schools object to using that word. But a customer is simply a person who purchases goods or services from another; a buyer; a patron. With all respect to your school’s language preference, customer is shorthand for prospective family, current family, donor, student, alumni, past parent, the local community influencers on whom you depend for referrals and philanthropy. A customer is anyone you serve or seek to serve. Call ‘em whatever you want at your school--but they are all essentially customers!
That is what value means in private or independent education -- that the customer will get a measurable return on investment and engagement. That he will be assured we're on the cutting edge of applied teaching and learning research. That she will know that we are cost-conscious and that we're stewarding tuition and philanthropy well. That we are creating responsive communities and customer convenience. That is a marketer's most important job: Ensuring value.
Hopefully you have a boss who respects that you are on the front lines with customers and who takes seriously your seasoned and objectively informed advice to improve the product. If you're in charge of marketing your organization and your boss doesn't get that you have an important role to play in quality control, head for the hills!
In this business climate, mediocrity = roadkill.