Hudson Collective team has experience creating communication, marketing, research, advocacy, strategic planning, advertising, and events for every type of educational entity. We have worked with early learning collaboratives, the Michigan Department of Education, both private and public school districts (K-12), community colleges, and universities. We have even worked with test-prep firms and teachers unions.
Questions That Need Answers
Schools and education face some tough issues ahead. How do you create social distancing and keep classroom size manageable? How much will COVID-19 and recession affect the per-pupil allocation from the state? What kind of consequences will the state of online home school and in-person school have on both retention and enrollment? Serious questions that need serious answers.
Hudson Collective can help. We have experience generating revenue, holding retention, increasing enrollment and building relationships – with your staff, your students, your parent community, and political allies. We have helped pass millages, bonds and sinking funds. We know how to get your branding, curriculum and online presence working together to keep and attract families and students.
At a school district level, clients report enrollment is declining in districts everywhere. Sustaining and increasing enrollment is pivotal to funding vital to your school district’s survival and success. We have regularly used branding, marketing, messaging, and advertising as ways to enhance a district’s standing and attract new families.
For colleges and universities, enrollment is an every semester challenge. We have used a two-pronged approach to increase enrollment, with one type of messaging targeting the parents and another targeting students. By utilizing database segmentation and digital tools, we can greatly increase website traffic and online enrollment.
Developing relationships with the parent community
Many of the issues school districts work to resolve rely on solid support from the parent community. Facilitating these relationships means promoting strong community engagement and other communication strategies to build ongoing relationships with parents in your district.
It is critical that these relationships are in place and nurtured so when you need them to come through for you in a time of crisis or when you need a ballot initiative to pass, you can depend on their support.
What Makes School Marketing So Challenging?
Nobody knows for sure where federal and state school funding will bottom out in the post-COVID-19 world. Estimates show a significant reduction in per-student funding is nearly certain. Many districts will need to turn to an enhancement millage or a sinking fund to raise new funding. Creating awareness that funding is facing these types of challenges prepares your community for action.
To successfully pass these types of initiatives, you need a multiple touchpoint campaign based on data-driven strategies. This is where our experience can be put to work for you, getting your story out there and rallying voter turnout. Our programs start with research and strategy. After that we will use all the tools in our arsenal to get your message out – everything from digital and social advertising to direct mail campaigns to posters and flyers to targeted emails. The key is knowing which tools to use to connect with each audience, building a cadence that feeds them the story over time, in the lead up to Election Day.
One of the things novice agencies don’t understand is that when you are trying to pass a bond or sinking fund, the district and its representatives can’t legally ask for a Yes vote. That is why having the right data and the right strategy is so important. You also have to know how you can and can’t work with the parent advocacy groups that can ask people to vote yes.
One very effective strategy is to find those who are yes voters and make sure they get out the vote. With more and more voting happening before Election Day your message targeting has to take into account key absentee voting dates as well as the actual Election Day, otherwise, you’re not reaching everyone before they hit the voting booth, losing a percentage of your vote.
Another approach we’ve taken that has worked is to tout the reasons the school is important. We once helped a community college pass a ballot issue by creating a multi-media campaign about how important the college was to the community. Messaging focused on facts that most of the nurses, police, EMTs and first responders in the city came through the college. The initiative passed easily with messaging specifically highlighting this key factor in our campaigns.
Although a specific school district or ISD can’t ask for the yes vote, there are organizations that can specifically ask for it. National and State Education Associations, local unions, and parent advocacy groups are a few of those groups that can ask for a yes vote on ballot initiatives. We have created successful yes campaigns working with a number of these groups.
Schools do a tremendous amount of media communications with lots of frequency. We can create strategies to streamline your communications and make them more effective. Then, we can train your internal staff to become fully immersed in the strategy and the use of communication tools to achieve the same goals and results. In many cases, we have created social media strategies and then trained school district staff in how to follow our processes effectively, giving support as needed while they executed the tactics. In other cases, it has been more efficient to have us undertake the communications on the district’s behalf, freeing up staff time for other important tasks.