Updated: Jan 20, 2020
by Trevor Waddington, Principal, Truth Tree Consulting
You may already be shaking your head in the affirmative.
Heck yeah. I hate the dentist!
For many of the same reasons, people are opposed to seeing a dentist, school admins disrelish marketing consultants.
I should know. I was one of them. And now…I’m one of them.
They get paid to make judgments (have you been flossing regularly?),
they can make you feel uncomfortable (open wide so I can stick this sharp metal object in your mouth),
they sometimes give you terrible news (you need a root canal),
and they leave you with recommendations that have you saying, ‘no-duh’ (brushing your teeth every day is essential).
However, no matter how confident you are that your school or mouth is healthy, it’s crucial to get a check-up from time to time. Dentists have cornered the ‘see you in six months’ routine. Colleagues I polled said independent schools should have their marketing and enrollment management efforts examined every three to five years.
“I can see things the patient cannot even see with the best mirrors. Plus, I’m trained to look for problems and indicators of oral maladies and diseases,” said William Lee, DDS ((Retired) and my brother’s godfather).
“One of the best things about having an outside consultant review your enrollment activities on a regular basis is that he or she does not come to the table with biases, assumptions, or an agenda. They have to rely on data and stakeholder feedback to guide their recommendations. Sometimes admissions directors are too close to the problems to see some of the solutions available to them,” said Nick LeRoy, President at Bright Minds Marketing.
Everything is Fine -
All too often we think we don’t need either a dentist or a consultant because everything is “fine.”
A pearly-white smile -----> Great marketing materials
A track record of no dental problems -----> A well-established brand
Teeth that do not hurt -----> A comfortable enrollment
A toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash -----> An in-house marketing team
Habit Forming -
Me: I don’t want to go to the dentist.
You: Then why don’t you brush and floss twice daily?
Me: Because I’m too busy.
Maybe You: I don’t want to hire a consultant.
Me: Then why don’t you perform market research, create a marketing and enrollment management plan, and execute a comprehensive marketing strategy while measuring the results?
Maybe You: Because I’m too busy.
Don’t Wait -
Just like the dentist, if you are calling a school marketing consultant because of an emergency, chances are it’s too late. When that aching tooth, you’ve been ignoring becomes unbearable painful, it might have to get yanked when a few months ago it could have been saved. If it’s June and your enrollment is 25% lower than projected, there’s not much a consultant can do for the coming year.
I know. I get it. It’s a hassle, an unexpected expense, and it leaves you feeling vulnerable that you might not be doing all you can. But like all consultants, independent school-pointed or otherwise, we don’t have all the answers but we do have a background to help you make better plans and confident decisions.
If you would like to learn more about Truth Tree Consulting's edge-defining work with schools in the areas of marketing, enrollment management, communications, and more, give us a shout at Hello@TruthTreeConsulting.com