Our guest today is Bill Diskin. He is Director of Admission and Financial Aid at Cannon School. Bill specializes in serving students through helping independent schools with enrollment management, admissions, and financial aid for families.
In this episode, Bill shares the path of increasing enrollment through defining the school’s mission, refining their focus, and putting relationships and trust first. It's intriguing how Bill blends the human connection with data to target his search for prospective parents. He gives specific strategies for dynamically broadening the reach of a marketing initiative through engaging parents as ambassadors for the school.
Listen and take note of how the school uses available data to focus on and reach families who are already a good fit with their values by engaging the word-of-mouth resource of “ambassador parents”.
In our discussion, we cover:
02:43 Bill shares how it came about that he merged his marketing background with his passion for education.
04:25 Bill and Andrew consider the history of how marketing became a focus for independent schools.
08:30 Bill responds to a question about how to express the mission of an independent school.
15:26 Bill and Andrew talk about what happens after a clear value proposition has been defined.
18:02 Bill tells about the word-of-mouth marketing strategy that his school relies upon.
21:41 Bill relates other strategies for boosting word-of-mouth results.
26:30 Bill shares a few specific tips for admissions officers.
29:00 Bill and Andrew discuss how to implement a parent ambassador program.
36:24 Bill considers the future and how schools can stay relevant while they keep growing.
42:48 Bill and Andrew discuss the manufacturing process vs. the human focus.
5:00 “Schools can’t just wait for the phone to ring.”
24:00 “Families want to get past the admin office and see what teachers are doing and who students are talking to.”
27:19 “From day 1, focus on building a network of parent ambassadors.”
35:20 “Parent-to-parent conversations are so good; you couldn’t script it any better.”
37:10 “If tuition continues to climb faster than household income climbs, we’re sabotaging our own industry.”
44:40 “I try to remember that the most important piece of my day is building relationships with families.”
Here are some resources mentioned in our discussion:
Peter Drucker’s “5 Most Important Questions” https://www.amazon.co.uk/Important-Questions-Institute-Drucker-Foundation/dp/0470227567
Seth Godin, This Is Marketing - https://seths.blog/tim/
Where to learn more about Bill Diskin:
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