09.29

Why Digital Prowess Matters.

By Deborah Mersino

If you identified with the tell-tale signs of poor design from my last post (e.g., clip art apples on your website), I’m hoping you breathed a sense of relief knowing you’re not alone.

The good news is proper design can – and will – create a positive ripple effect for good when aligned with brand positioning. Sage leaders who get support can watch their enrollment numbers, donations, conference registrations, and memberships rise along with their revenues.

Today, let’s move on and address the second of the “Five Common Marcom Mistakes” often made by educational associations and schools – a lack of digital prowess.

Keeping Up

It’s no wonder educational associations and schools struggle with digital prowess. Just 16 years ago, Google was still a dream. {Note: Hard to believe, isn’t it? Here’s hoping you at least rocked the piñata doodle.}

In the last decade, educators have started leveraging everything from whiteboards, apps, administrative software, and Skype to Google Docs, edmodo, blogging, and Twitter. They’re doing this amid dealing with Common Core, shorter schools years, funding disparities, and more.

Simultaneously, association and school leaders must now understand market segmentation, SEO, CMS, and online advertising analytics in a sophisticated manner worthy of new positions and respect. Content specialists, digital marketing managers, and front-end developers are now a requisite to success. Marketing execs should now be fully integrated with IT (perhaps even leading it, but that’s another post}.

Technology has transformed marketing communications; therefore, it’s not surprising many nonprofit and school leaders struggle to keep up with best practices and/or budget properly to achieve success in the new world order.

Just as an educator wouldn’t have a food vendor create his or her next rubric for a PBL project on whether Shakespeare lifted Romeo & Juliet, we shouldn’t expect volunteers and every nonprofit or school exec to know how to increase engagement via a website, an Instagram promotion, a digital show daily, and/or an online advertising campaign. It’s a science unto itself.

If you do nothing else this year besides clarify your brand, you’ll be wise to empower marketing communications staff and/or consultants with digital savvy to grow your organization’s digital footprint.

Remember, it’s okay if you can’t code, add a high-res logo to your Facebook page, monitor a Twitter back-channel, create a conference app, and/or know the difference between unique visitors and hits. It IS essential, though, that you have someone on your team who does.

Stay tuned for more. We’re just getting warmed up!

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2 Responses to “Why Digital Prowess Matters.”

  1. Darla says:

    Deborah – you are right on! All of the suggestions you offer are so important in the field of education (branding/business. in general). We’ve had an interesting discussion today of the power of HTML5. Pinterest is driving tons of traffic to websites. HTML5 (along with an applicable Pinterest business account) will prove necessary in the coming year. School and educational groups that can harness the power of Pinterest are going to be “movers” in our field! I’m so glad you are here! We need great leaders! TY!

  2. Angie says:

    Good to see you back! In our district, the Central Office technology group understands this but the principals have not yet grasped the importance of building a ‘brand’ for their school because if you don’t usually the disgruntled parent will. I’m working on my principal ever so gently.

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