As a private or independent school marketer, it’s important to help your board understand how well your marketing is performing—what’s working, what isn’t, and what opportunities are available that they should support. After all, research shows that school marketers who are supported by their boards and heads of school are more likely to receive a larger budget for their work.
In our 2021 State of Independent School Marketing Survey, when we asked school marketers what types of marketing data would be helpful to them to present to the board on a more regular basis, they answered as follows:
- Campaign ROI Reporting - 32%
- Admissions/CRM Reporting - 21%
- Comprehensive Campaign Insight Reporting - 20%
- Website Behaviors - 13%
A full one-third also say they would be able to present marketing data to their boards more often if they had access to better reporting.
In this article, we discuss three practical things you can do to ensure a successful board presentation—one that enables them to make sound decisions and feel confident in their choices (and yours), while helping you prove the value of your work, justify expenditures, and secure funding.
RULE 1: CONSIDER THE WHOLE STORY
The journey a parent takes from first becoming aware of your school, to enrollment, is long and well-researched. Your reporting should understand this journey and all of the different components that work together to drive a conversion.
Start by identifying the high-level objectives you set out to achieve, then break those down into the measurable goals you could track.
- Learn More: How To Create A Measurement Plan For Your School
For example, if your school has an objective of increasing enrollment, you’ll be measuring how many applications can reasonably be attributed to your marketing efforts—and all the steps a user took to get there. Work through your macro- and micro-conversions, identifying the actions a parent might take in their journey to apply at your school.
This may look like: A qualified parent is shown a targeted ad on social media, then clicks on a Google Display ad and visits your landing page. From there, they may sign up for your newsletter before attending an admissions event, then submit an online inquiry form and speak to a representative in-person before finally applying at your school.
Thinking of your report as a storytelling exercise can help your board—and your team—view your marketing as the holistic, integrated machine that it is (rather than a collection of one-off tactics acting alone).
RULE 2: TURN YOUR DATA INTO INSIGHTS
Data without insight is meaningless (and, let’s face it, can put even the best of us to sleep).
Rather than simply spouting a list of KPIs and analytics stats, ask: What do these data points (individually and collectively) tell us—that we didn’t know before—about:
- who our audiences are
- what they value and are looking for from a school in general, and from our school in particular
- how our audiences are using technology and consuming information
- how well our ads, website, admissions team, and other touchpoints are addressing those needs and values
- how all of the above have changed over time
You should also consider what market and consumer trends may have influenced your metrics, and what opportunities are on the horizon.
It can be helpful to think of each slide or page in your presentation as having an invisible “so what?” at the end. Think, what do I want my audience to take away from this data? Why should these numbers and trends matter to them? Why do they matter right now?
Identifying a key takeaway or knowledge point from each data set you present will help you ensure you’re gathering the data that matters, is meaningful, and will help you—and your board—make better decisions as a result.
- Learn More: 5 Reasons to Care About Analytics
RULE 3: STAY FOCUSED ON THE OUTCOMES
A good presentation both starts and ends with your objectives.
Since your measurement plan was built on school and admissions objectives, you should structure your presentation to address those areas. Ultimately, the board should be left with a clear sense of what’s working, what isn’t, and what you—and they—can do to improve ROI. This may include:
- How your ad campaign placement, budgets, messaging and/or targeting will change
- Recommendations for the Admissions team regarding events, forms, communications, etc.
- Upgrades to website functionality and information
- Additions and changes to your email marketing or newsletter
- And more!
If you are asking for more resources, it can help to present a “good/better/best” scenario of the opportunities you could leverage, given the right funding and support. Simplified return on investment reporting—e.g. if we spend X amount, the range of ROI will be between Y and Z—can be very effective here, and your business-savvy board members will appreciate this type of ROI reporting.
Metric Marketing works with private and independent schools across North America to create impactful and measurable marketing campaigns. We’d love to talk to you about your school’s marketing needs. Please contact us to learn more and get started.
We are pleased to offer the full report on the 2021 NAIS State of Independent School Marketing Survey. To request a free PDF of the full report, click here.