1. Always ask for discounts. Remember that any price is simply an indication of what someone wants to sell their product or service for, not what it actually costs them - and suppliers do deals all the time. Sometime schools can forget this. One example - Ravens Academy in Clacton decided to buy new shoes for all its 158 students. They did this by going to Clarks and buying a £28 voucher for each of them at face value - a total of just over £4,400. Of course had they asked for a discount (citing the potential for repeat customers and the massive publicity they gain) they'd surely have got at least 50% off - giving over £2,000 to spend elsewhere.
2. Buy in bulk. Printing is a great example where significant savings can be made by ordering as much as possible. One example I've referred to before is the cost of a school prospectus - rather than short runs of a new document every year, order a long-term supply of folders and then print information to update the document and you'll save over 50%.
3. Book well in advance. If you know you're going to advertise in a publication commit to it early and you should save around 10% (and in some cases a lot more).
4. Book at the last minute. If you're not sure about a publication you can wait until close to publication deadline and see if there is space available. One company I know got a full page ad in a local business directory at a 75% discount by holding its nerve and booking on the last day. Of course any repeat spend will have to be justified by the ad's impact.
5. Ask for extras to maximise your spend. If you're spending a lot of money in a publication ask if they'll promote you on their website, upgrade the placing of your advert or give you copies of the publication to distribute.
6. Evaluate marketing spend and cut out what doesn't work. Don't just roll over every publication - make it a rule to move at least 10% of your advertising spend each year.
7. Plan ahead to share and reuse content. Make sure that you aren't changing the design of your adverts too often and make sure that you use the same stories and messages throughout your advertising, social media and media relations programmes.
8. Create a flexible, reusable design. Ask your designer to create illustration, borders and other elements that can be used across a range of publications.
9. Look for free ways to share news. Remember to ask all your stakeholders to help. Schools will often find parents, governors and teachers who can offer advertising in shops, businesses and community and religious organisations.
10. Look online for savings. A company I know recently wanted to refresh its design with some new photographs - looking online they found exactly what they needed from the iStock website (there are many competitors) at a very cheap price compared to booking a photographer. You can also save on printing, web design, email newsletters and even copy writing online. But be careful not to use artwork without permission.
One major don't...
Skimp on the bits where you really need help. There are some areas (photography of your school, design, video, advertising copywriting) that really make a difference in marketing. You may have experts at these within your school, or may be able to train people, but it is worth spending some money here to get your messages clearly communicated. You can find some people to help you here!
Please add your comments below...