Rethinking Communication Tactics in Educational Organizations

By Deborah Mersino

Educational organizations, schools, businesses, and foundations have vast amounts of information to share. So how can they ensure this information doesn’t wind up being ignored? That’s the subject of today’s post. We’re circling back to our “5 Common Marcom Mistakes Made by Educational Organizations and Schools” and focusing on ways to overcome “One-way Communication” propensities.

It makes sense that so many educational institutions and organizations still fall prey to one-way communication strategies and tactics. After all, when you’ve got news to share, it’s natural to want to broadcast it.

However, in a day and age ripe with email burnout, fast-moving Twitter feeds, Netflix, junk mail, mobile screen dominance, Pandora, and enough channels and platforms to keep marketing departments swirling, it’s more critical than ever to understand market segmentation and strategies to support the building of brand evangelists.

Here are three ways to get out of the habit of one-way broadcasting:

  1. Communicate more humanely.
  2. Crowd-source.
  3. Go narrow.

Let’s unpack these.

Communicate more humanely

Schools, foundations, organizations, educational businesses, and nonprofits inherently understand communication. Too often, though, these organizations mimic the old “write it on the board” for the class to see and then stop (thinking it’s enough). We no longer educate our learners this way; yet, we’re still catching on to what communications looks like in world dominated by screens competing for attention.

Tone (showcasing some personality), content, and approach can mean the difference between delighting and dulling relations. You’ll succeed by communicating with campaigns, news, and content that showcases you not only care, but also understand each audience segment’s pain points, personality, and passions. People are simply too busy to pay attention otherwise, and ROI will suffer.


This is not a new concept, but it’s one that educational organizations and schools would be wise to adopt. Educators already know the power of crowd-sourcing. Check out what transpired last month with Connected Educators Month if you need convincing. They embrace it via their blogs, Google+ Hangouts, educational chats on Twitter, and more. Savvy crowd-sourcing is synonymous with engagement.

Whether you want to conduct research, cull resources that will benefit your audiences, and/or want to leverage partnerships, crowd-sourcing can provide you with insights and ideas, as you engage.

Go narrow

This one is likely more obvious, but it’s worth reinforcing. Often times, we still think casting the widest net will garner the best outcomes; however, messaging gets watered down with this approach. Whether you’re a University going after a specific demographic, a nonprofit hoping to gain more pre-K or higher education members or parents, or a Foundation looking to recover lapsed donors, you can’t reach these targets without going narrow and customizing.

I’d even go so far as to challenge you to segment former segments. Dice them down even further. Today’s technology will allow it, and you’ll see new opportunities arising.

Just remember that conducting research on emerging markets or stagnant ones is required. Thankfully, it’s now easier than ever to do this in the education field. With better insights and ongoing dialogue, you’ll be more likely to develop and share the right products and services, value propositions, calls to action, and messaging to connect versus shout.

And in the end, isn’t that what we all hope to achieve?

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One Response to “Rethinking Communication Tactics in Educational Organizations”

  1. Rochelle Miller says:

    Truer words could not be spoken about not casting too wide a net. I don’t know if CEO’s listen, but please do!
    Thank you, always great information and reinforcements.

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