Advertising Through The Years

We are preparing to welcome prospective families to our school this Saturday. At Mentor and TEAM, we have been having Saturday Open Houses for over 30 years and it is interesting to me both how things have changed and how they have stayed the same when it comes to new families.

When I moved from teaching to administration, one of the first duties I was given was to take care of the advertising for Open House. At that time, this meant advertisements in the weekly newspapers (Mississauga News, Brampton and Etobicoke Guardian, etc.) that had a list of all the things we offered. They were effective in the same way that our little square ad in the Yellow Pages worked for us and we would always have 20 to 30 families join us from these media.

Fast forward to today and I would imagine that most of our younger families have never owned a Yellow Pages book! The local newspapers were always ad-heavy but now they come with an extra kilogram of flyers and we know from speaking with you that these papers are immediately recycled more often than they are read. Today, we advertise just as effectively as we did earlier using online sources (Google, Facebook, etc.) but that it just where our actual dollars are spent. Our most effective promotional materials (and promoters) have been unchanged since 1981.

Word-of-mouth has always been how 90% of our new families come to us. Parents and students (and even teachers) talk about the school with their friends, family members, work colleagues and clients and have always been generous in sharing their stories (and our contact information). Word-of-mouth is probably an inaccurate term nowadays and “word-of-keystroke” might be a better description. I know that many of you send this email update on to your contacts when your child is highlighted. I see that you “like” and “share” our online posts on Twitter and Facebook and even as early as 5:45 this morning, a parent shared the Primary Campus Open House ad from Facebook to her wall. When the students, parents and staff are so enthused about the school, we are appreciative and it makes us want to work that much harder to back up your endorsements.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

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