As marketers, we tend to be natural planners, who like to have a solid strategy in place at all times. But, if we've learned anything from the past few years, it's that we need to learn how to remain agile in our approach to marketing in order to remain successful.

The current state of marketing

Let's all just take a quick moment of silence for all of the marketing campaigns that have been cancelled, delayed, or postponed throughout the pandemic. We're sure that many of you had grand plans for attracting and engaging prospective families, but it looks as though we're all in the same boat. According to Marketing Week, 86% of marketers have had to delay or review their marketing campaigns. So, we know that marketing campaigns have been disrupted, but resources have become limited too. Many of us are now working with reduced teams, are waiting on extra resources due to hiring freezes, or are trying to navigate budget cuts.

However, despite these challenges, marketing teams still need to meet business objectives, generate new leads, nurture prospects, and find new opportunities to create engaging content. So, how can you do this? Well, let's start by taking a look at how you can sensitively communicate with current and prospective families through your marketing communication.

What school marketers should focus on

We recommend starting with the existing marketing plan that you wrote at the beginning of the year when everything looks much different. Obviously, you will have to do a very thorough assessment of each piece for tone and appropriateness. But anything that doesn’t align can be easily eliminated from your strategy! 

Branded content

You're going to want to invest in content that amplifies your school brand – this is something that your brand advocates can help you out with too. Their stories speak volumes about your school's values, ethos, and unique selling points. Some of your brand advocates might include; students, teaches, staff, or alumni. Share their stories across your school's social media platforms to create engaging content that amplifies your brand and celebrates your community.

Informational content

Next, you might like to consider the types of informational content that your school is producing. For example, it could be helpful to explore some of the challenges or pain points that your audience is experiencing right now. Think about how you can provide insightful information about how to overcome these obstacles, no matter how big or small they may seem. 

Evergreen content

Finally, focus on building your backlog of evergreen content – the content that just keeps on giving. Evergreen content is content that allows you to repurpose it well into the future with just some easy tweaks. It can be exhausting trying to create new, creative content during a time that is leaving many of us not feeling so creative. To save yourself the stress and to uncover some content gems you might have forgotten about, look through your files to find that evergreen content and give it some new life. 

Looking ahead

As so many traditional forms of marketing are not able to operate at this time, it's important to ramp up those digital marketing tactics. Start with the basics by cleaning up your school's CRM to remove any dirty data that might be costing you enrolments. Be sure to delete any duplicate records laying around and keep contact details are up-to-date.

We also recommend focusing your efforts on upskilling and diversifying your marketing skillset. Now's the time to focus on becoming an all-rounder and add value to your team by learning new skills. 

Remaining agile is a skill that we can all take with us well into the future. Some of you might already be pros at this, but for others, it's a learning curve. At this time, it's important to listen to your audience and be reactive to their needs. As we wait for the world to return to its 'new normal,' we recommend staying focused on building your content marketing strategy and boosting your digital presence.

Published 5 October 2021