January is a good time to take stock of your marketing communications program to make sure your investment in the message and the medium (and the delivery schedule) is bringing value to your school.
Putting answers to these questions will provide a good framework for determining your readiness to start a communications audit process, which can take two to three months and involve expense if you hire a consultant to guide it.
The Big Picture
- What are our communications audit objectives?
- When should we undertake the process?
- Who should participate in the communications audit process?
- Who will resist undertaking the process?
- Do we need outside help?
- Are we prepared to commit to the recommendations that result from the audit?
- When were the mission and positioning statements last reviewed and do they reflect the school’s raison d’être and place in the education world?
- Where is our school today and what are our concerns and hopes for the future?
- What research or testing have we done or could we do to confirm the reality of where we are today?
- Who are our internal and external audiences, and which ones require segmenting?
- Which audiences are under-served or over-served in our communications efforts?
- Who’s on the communications management team and what should it be doing?
- Silo or central—are our departments really coordinated?
- Do we have a master communications calendar?
- Staffing and traffic management (including outsourcing, interns, volunteers)—is it enough?
- Does our IT infrastructure and records management adequately support an integrated, comprehensive communications program?
- Budget—is it realistic?
Led by the director of communications, convene a group with representatives of important constituencies—faculty, staff, parents, alumni, trustees—for one or two meetings to discuss these questions, and you’ll form the rationale for moving ahead—or not yet.