This is the second in a series of five brief articles each with a piece of marketing counsel for clients in the private, independent education sector. Idea #1 was in the previous post.
Idea 2: Marketing is Counter-Productive if there are Real Quality or Service Issues
“If only people understood what we do well they wouldn’t care so much about the small stuff.” Right. Good luck with that, because problems in “small stuff” (and some of what heads of school call small seems pretty big to us) erode confidence in the big stuff. Problems in middle school science are a drag on the upper school’s reputation, even if the upper school kills it in STEM. A slipshod sports program (scheduling mistakes, bad coaching, poor equipment) makes parents wonder what other details you aren’t attending to.
Harry Beckwith, in Selling the Invisible, makes the point that marketing cannot overcome problems in quality. Fix the problems first, then look at marketing. It was true when Beckwith first wrote about it in 1997, and it is even truer today (the paperback edition was copyrighted in 2012).