Our Catholic School Marketing Initiative

Here’s the good news:

1 203x300 Our Catholic School Marketing Initiative

We will work with you to make sure your marketing efforts make you heard in competition for new students.

As most educators know, Catholic schools work and have worked for a long time. Sociologist James Coleman and colleagues Thomas Hoffer and Sally Kilgore, in 1982, were among the first to document Catholic schools’ academic successes, in High School Achievement: Public and Private Schools. A variety of studies since, by scholars at the University of Chicago, Northwestern, the Brookings Institution, and Harvard, have all supported the conclusion that Catholic schools do a better job educating children than public schools.

Here’s the bad news:

Catholic school have to work harder and harder to maintain or improve their enrollment. Across the country, we’ve witnessed Catholic schools close and steep enrollment declines occur to even the healthiest of schools. There are multiple reasons for this change — including cost, changes in society, and the rationalization that other schools do a decent enough job that one is already paying for via taxes.

So what do we do?

Catholic schools have great success stories but do not always do a great job in marketing themselves and making sure they are heard. In the past, students from the parish took seats in the parish school and not much more work was needed. Now, that loyalty is not there and parents shop for the best school that meets their needs and their child’s needs just as they would a new car — researching, testing, asking others, and comparing. Catholic schools are not always the best-equipped when playing this game. With staff limited and tight budgets, they may do outstanding work in the classroom, but they don’t do an outstanding job making them stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Whether you want to or not, a Catholic school needs a marketing plan.  It needs to sell itself. It needs to take the energies and the words and put it all into action. That’s where Headlights Public Relations and Marketing comes in.

Why are we doing this?

We want to see Catholic schools thrive. We believe in Catholic schools.  We want to see school’s succeed.  Headlights Public Relations President Mike Gill’s goal is to see this project succeed and hopes that it plays a small roll in each schools’ future success.  As a product of Catholic education (12 years), a former employee of a Catholic school in Admissions and Development (6 years) and now a hired consultant to two area Catholic high schools (9 years), who has served on Boards and Committees for Admissions and Marketing, you can see why this effort is close to his heart.  His children currently attend Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

What is the premise?

You commit the cost of one child’s tuition to your marketing efforts.  Our hope is that we can turn that cost of yours into greater tuition dollars in the future by better marketing your school.   We hope that the cost of one student’s tuition will return to you three, five, or ten additional students.  You are not purchasing a pre-packaged case of materials.  Instead, we are going to build a model or plan that is individually crafted to you. First, we’ll listen to your story and your needs. Then, we’ll offer suggestions.  We’ll charge discounted rates for our work — whether that is consulting, graphic design, web site work, or public relations.  This price will include any printed takeaways (admissions brochures, postcards, newsletters, informational sheets), or website work  in addition to the cost of time and labor.  We hope that after the first year, you’ll agree that the efforts were worth the cost and continue to work with us on an annual basis.

Marketing is not one pitch. It is an entire ballgame. Thus, we need to continue to hone and work on the strategy that best fits your school. With our background and commitment to Catholic education, we can help you better tell your story to prospective parents.

What should I expect?

  • We’ll meet with your school’s representatives and ask you a lot of questions. We’ll review your materials.  We’ll hear what you believe are the key issues.
  • We’ll start a dialogue that makes you think more about your marketing program and things your school could do to enhance it.
  • We’ll submit to you a plan that we believe is the first step to building an outstanding marketing program.
  • We’ll start enacting that marketing plan building the various pieces we agreed upon.

What are the potential takeaways the school will receive?

  • Better knowledge of how to promote your school and sell your strengths.
  • Branding of your school
  • Potential brochures and informational pieces that make your school stand out in a crowded marketplace
  • Articles or writing to use in various ways to sell or pitch your school
  • Press releases
  • Print and online advertising campaign development
  • Talking points memos and coaching
  • Social Media assistance
  • Web site design and creation
  • Logos
  • Laser-focused Direct Mail
  • Printing services for new pieces or other school printing (auctions, raffles, fundraisers too)
  • Banners, signage, etc.

How do I follow up?

Maybe you always knew you needed to improve your school’s marketing but were unsure where to turn or heard many suggestions on what could be done but never had the time to act on  it. We’re here and ready to help you.  Call us at 248.632.1827 or you can personally email us by using the form on the Contact Us page of our website.   We’ll make sure that you get “bang for your buck” and create lasting takeaways.  In a crowded market place filled with options such as public, charter and other private schools, your first impression — and your messaging — to prospective parents is key. Let’s help start you on a road towards increased enrollment.