6 Feb 2018 | by Hayley Dunn

Dr Phillip Kotler defines marketing as:

"the science and art of exploring, creating and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit. Marketing identifies unfulfilled needs and desires. It defines, measures and quantifies the size of the identified market and potential profit."

If you have been regularly reading the Fellow's blogs, then you will have read the post from Sheryl Cardwell called 'The Marketing Way', which outlines what marketing means and the elements of a marketing plan; and the post from Andy Heron called 'Marketing', which highlights the ways that schools do marketing, the marketing mix model and the 7P's approach.

Following on from both of these great blogs, I want to challenge you to think about how people buy in to things; and why they should choose to send their child to your school or to work in partnership with you? How well do you really know your potential 'customers'?


We need to put ourselves in the shoes of our parents/carers and consider how as consumers they think, feel and reason to select between alternatives.

Going back the definition from Dr Kotler we need show them that we can and will fulfill their demands and wants.




How do we do this?

We can take inspiration from the large successful companies. Whilst many people in business aren't trained phycologists, they do utilise recognised methods to maximise their sales and market share.

In school terms maximising pupil numbers and generating income.

We need to put our focus on the consumer experience and our brand management.


Here are 3 ideas to consider...


  • Decisions are based on emotions.

When you are marketing your school you are selling parents and carers a vision of their child's future. Showing them what their child could achieve, what they could experience, what the future could hold for them if you choose this school.

If your school hosts an annual open day, what is the customer experience like? Do you focus on the child or the adults? How does your school look, smell, feel?

Make sure the displays are neat, the school is clean and smells nice, and that the temperature is pleasant. Remember, you are selling your school to the child as well as the adults, include elements for everyone. Ensure that staff on hand are helpful and pleasant. Little things make the difference, like having someone on parking duty and having something that they takeaway, perhaps a goody bag.  


  • Colour and how you use it is important.

It is recognised that we identify certain qualities and meanings with certain colours:

Blue is the colour of trust, loyalty and intelligence. It is used by companies like Facebook, Twitter, Ford, Nasa, Dell and Oral B.

Red is the colour for strength, excitement and potential danger. It is used by companies like Coca Cola, Kelloggs, Lego and Canon; and for things like Health & Safety signage.

Yellow is recognsed as being a colour that shows intellect, joy and intelligence. It is used by companies like AA, Nikon, Macdonalds and National Geographic.

Green is the colour that means freshness, growth and safety. It is used by companies like Land Rover and BP; and for things like First Aid points.



Use the same logo and colours across all your communication and media tools including your uniform, website, letterhead, social media, press releases, school brochure/prospectus.




  • Images are processed faster than writing.

We all know the term a picture paints a thousand words. Images are one of your greatest marketing tools. Create powerful images that demonstrate your schools core values and curriculum offering.

I recently saw some fantastic art work in a school. They had large canvas prints of inspirational people. One was of Malala Yousef with the words "I am stronger than fear".



Be consistent in your use of branding, putting as much thought in to what your school tweets about, as you would when printing something on a newsletter. Making sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors!




By Hayley Dunn - February 2018