Part 2a: It All Starts with Research

School Marketing Matters

It All Starts with Research (Part 2a)

Research is the first and most important step in the
school marketing process -- and also the most likely to be overlooked. Schools often make the common mistake of heading out on a school marketing road trip without a map. Before spending valuable time and dollars on new brochures, t-shirts and other marketing collateral, it's best to develop strategies to maintain, enhance and/or change peoples' attitudes and opinions about your school.

Research is the first and most important step

To do so, you must know what those attitudes and opinions are -- through research.

Research provides information about your changing demographics. It can put you in sync with your school community. It can keep you current on public opinion in your neighborhood -- and public opinion changes. It can provide you with information you can use to make informed decisions. Surveys, in particular, tell the public you are interested in them and care about their opinions.

To help simplify the research process, this website contains a School Marketing Toolkit with user-friendly tools adapted and developed for San Diego Unified schools. Word-format worksheets can be customized for each school.

School Marketing Brainstorming Session

Research Worksheet #1
( PDF, Word)

Begin by holding a brainstorming session to survey key members of your school community. Parents and community supporters should be invited. Among your staff, be sure to include secretaries, aides, custodians, food service workers, bus drivers, school volunteers and others in the process. This will establish "buy-in" -- support and a commitment to two-way communication with all members of your school community.

Use your interactive whiteboard, flip charts and/or individual worksheets as each participating member responds to questions like:

  • "Good schools have these qualities..."

  • "Weak schools have these qualities..."

  • "Our school has the following qualities" (positive and negative)

  • "I have heard parents compliment our school about....."

  • "I have heard parents complain about our school because...."

  • "I wish our school could do more...."

  • "I wish our school would stop..."