Our thoughts behind the “why” of our Catholic school marketing effort

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in News | Comments Off

Our thoughts behind the “why” of our Catholic school marketing effort

Today, we launched a special initiative at Headlights PR & Marketing targeted at a cause personally close to my heart: helping stem the slide in enrollment at Catholic Grade Schools.

It is an initiative that I’ve watched first hand over the years, when I served as the Admissions Director (over 20 years ago) at a local Catholic high school. I visited many Catholic elementary schools personally and saw the good work they did. But I witnessed their sagging enrollments, and ultimately, either at the time or in the time since, saw the announcement that they closed.

So many of my friends now say they attended a Catholic grade school that is no longer around while raving about the education they received.

I personally made the Catholic tour of duty – attending Catholic grade school for eight years and completing the circuit with four more years at a Catholic high school. I strongly believe in the merits of Catholic education and currently consult and work with two local Catholic high schools, including my alma mater. My children attend a Catholic elementary school.

Catholic schools continue to produce outstanding results in a results-driven world. In addition to a values-added education, the academic results and successes are striking at all levels of the economic ladder. While they are still bare-bones operations without a lot of administrative fat, they thrive in producing outstanding kids with good test scores and character.

What they don’t thrive in is marketing themselves to consumers.

Catholic schools need help marketing themselves. In the old days, placing a notice in the parish bulletin announcing that registrations for the coming year were now being accepted might have been suffice. Now though is different. Competition for students amongst all types of schools (public, charter, private) is fierce. Public schools are now actively recruiting and marketing for students. No one takes the “throw open the doors and see who shows up” approach anymore.

Creating a resonating and attractive message, pushing it out to the public and repeating it over and over, is one key. Being focused and targeted in your message is another. Finding ways to make your message find its way to a prospective parent is a third. In the meantime, other schools, with more resources and expertise, are winning the PR and Marketing battle that ultimately reflects in enrollment numbers.

Catholic schools are behind in the game. With our latest initiative, we’re hoping to help schools bridge that gap, to tell their story, and to ultimately, help their enrollment efforts.

There are outstanding public schools. There are outstanding charter schools. There are outstanding private schools out there. It is wonderful that there are many viable options for parents to select. This initiative is to make sure that when searching for a school, the option of selecting a Catholic school is one that is heard and considered.

It is a cause we are excited to undertake.

To read more about the initiative, you may click here.