We’ll start with the easiest situation - a school that has 5 spare places in each year group. Depending on the school each of these could be worth anywhere from £4,000 to £15,000.
Filling them in the first year gives an income £22,500 to £75,000 - the cost of a typical marketing programme. So where’s the return?
This is where the value that these new students have in future years is taken into account. Recruiting someone into Reception or Y7 mean you can expect income to come in for at least 5 years – for a ‘through school’ you might even get 15 years of income!
You can calculate this total return by calculating their ‘Net Present Value' – essentially looking at what their overall income is worth today. Clicking on 'NPV Calculator' below will bring one up in a pop-up window to help you work this out. The ‘discount rate’ is essentially the value you could get from investing money elsewhere – pretty low in the current economic climate but we’ll leave in the 5% suggested by the calculator.
Marketing can also help you grow specific parts of your school such as a Sixth Form, save money on staff recruitment, set up a development function to raise money from former students, let out your facilities to the community and set up an income generation programme. The calculator above will allow you to model returns on all of these activities.
And you also need to consider the other benefits of marketing that will be happening around this – from centralising and making existing activity more efficient to raising your profile and improving relationships in your community.
Where should you invest in marketing?
The two examples above assume marketing investment of £50,000 for a state school and £100,000 for a small private school.
What would £50,000 get you? For this level of spend, a school could hire a marketing officer who would work with you during term-time as part of your administration team. They would focus on finding great stories, running your social media and organizing community events, and ensuring that applications convert into a full school through email newsletters – the most cost-effective marketing tools.
What would £100,000 get you? At this level, a school would be able to hire a full time experienced marketing manager and give them an effective external marketing budget. As well as the activities above they could focus on creating a strong brand and website, work with local media to achieve wider coverage for the great things your school does, and run targeted on- or offline campaigns to fill specific places. They could also support other school needs such as helping attract new teachers.
Both marketers would of course benefit from Marketing Advice for Schools’ networking opportunities and discounts!