How do you make a major decision? For me, and most likely the majority of us, I find out the details and facts and then evaluate the pros and cons. I arrive at a decision based on what I discover.
In a similar way to making personal decisions, market research provides a process and basis to make critical marketing decisions. This is particularly important in this digital age where the marketing landscape is constantly changing. Market research is essential to your school and the long-term success of its brand.
Here’s how to use market research for critical school marketing decisions:
1. Make the effort to know your parents
The first step is to understand your customers – your parents. It is easy to become distracted with internal politics, urgent deadlines and agendas, however among the best advice I’ve read is to remember that your customer (parent) is your boss – even over your Principal or school Board. Regularly assess their opinions, satisfaction and loyalty and you will be able to understand and meet – or exceed – your parents’ needs, wants and expectations. Market research is the most effective way to do this, providing valuable insight. It’s essential to keep focusing on them and their perspective.
2. Keep focused
With constant deadlines, managing numerous projects and undertaking various roles within the school it is easy to lose sight of what is important. Through market research you can discover what is most important for your parents. It helps you to prioritise and use your time efficiently. It can provide information for your short-term and long-term marketing plans, keeping you focused on the most important people – your parents.
3. Explore new opportunities
School marketers want to grow their school, but may not always be sure which is the best step forward. Marketing research can help you evaluate and calculate opportunities, allowing you to prioritise those with the most potential for your school. It also helps you understand your competitors.
4. Be relevant and look to the future
Undertaking regular research with parents in your school community provides the information to make sure you can continually adapt and develop to meet marketing goals and parents’ needs as they change. Focusing on making the most of short-term results is a lot simpler, but when you focus too much on the short-term you can limit your school’s relevancy in the future and its longevity.
Market research can also confirm the strengths of those goals or identify areas for improvement. The success of your marketing goals relies on your school’s understanding of its parents.
Market research can provide insightful information about your audience, competitors and the marketplace, helping you make critical decisions based on facts with clearer state of mind and improved confidence. With research to support your decisions, you can maximise your investment of time and money, and minimise your risk of failure. Ultimately, market research is a key ingredient of success.