Stacy Jagodowski is on the move. This high-profile indy school marketing and communications strategist is headed west from Cheshire Academy to a new assignment at Milken Community Schools in Los Angeles. I caught her for a farewell lunch today, and—as always—she was generous in sharing her expert advice as the year wraps and summer offers a chance for marketing offices to do some critical thinking.
Number 1: “Data doesn’t lie.”
Conduct an audit of what you did last year. Were your materials on message, well timed and effective? If you have not been collecting data for benchmarking, this is the time to set up a serious regime of measurement for next year. Augment your observations and internal analysis among the marcom team with brief surveys of key audiences for their feedback. And yes, Stacy says people will participate IF they have been hearing from you on a regular basis and expect to receive quality communication from you. She advises being in touch with parents and alumni twice a month throughout the summer.
For specifics on what and how to assess, download Stacy’s ebook Data-Driven Marketing Strategy: Using Data to Get Your School’s Message Heard on the Blackbaud website. It’s free.
Number 2: “Your strategic plan is your bible”
Once you’ve looked at last year, create a marketing and communications plan for the coming year that aligns with your school’s strategic plan. Measuring your decisions for messaging, vehicles, timing, targeting audiences and budget in this way assures that you are advancing your school’s mission and business plan as effectively as possible. Don’t get distracted. Stacy warns, “There is often a fear of doing something new and people just ending up repeating what they’ve done before. The marcom team should be leading not reacting, even though pushing ahead may be uncomfortable.” (Last year she ditched print advertising in favor of spending money in other areas with a higher rate of success, including SEO and social media advertising.)
Thanks, Stacy. We will find you on Twitter at @StacyJago and presenting at Blackbaud K12, TABS and other conferences throughout the year.