Is There A Right or WOMM When It Comes To Advertising?

On Saturday, we will open our doors and let prospective families come and see why we think we have the best educational programme and facility in the GTA.

Over the years, we have tried various methods of advertising our school and the following pattern has emerged – the medium works in the short term only. In the past, we tried advertisements in local newspapers and magazines that varied from very information-rich ads to just a smiling student and the Open House date. Going WAY back, we even bought space in the Yellow Pages phone book but as parents like you (e.g.: the ones who don’t know what a phone book is!) changed the way you received information, we changed as well.

In reality, though, we have never changed. Even in the days when I would ask a roomful of prospective families how they learned about Mentor College, there was only a handful of hands for my questions of “Newspaper ad?” When I got around to asking “And who is here today because you have a friend, neighbour, colleague or family member who recommended us,” it was consistently 90% of the crowd who acknowledged this. Nowadays, we advertise (modestly, compared to many other schools) via Google, Facebook and a select few websites and search engines but we still find that 90% of our new families are coming to us because of our “old” (current and former) families. And even more interesting to me is that even this form of advertising is not really all that effective; in fact, 70-80% of all business and service recommendations are still made in face-to-face or phone conversations!

I was discussing this with a friend of mine in the automotive marketing world and he said that we are fortunate that our families are great proponents of WOMM…word-of-mouth marketing. He says he doesn’t remember the term being discussed when we were at university together in the late 1980s but that no matter what the latest trend in marketing and advertising might be, a quality car (or gadget or private school) product sells itself. So if you know of someone who is “kicking the tires” of private schools and might want to “take a test drive” this Saturday, please send them in and tell them to let us know that you were the one who sent them to us. If you do, I promise not to say “So…what can we do to get you into a blazer for the 2017 model year?”

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

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