Top marks for school article

Your article “Class facts” (MW March 21) on marketing in education made interesting reading and certainly flagged up the fact that many companies appear to be undervaluing this important communications channel.

Your figures identify a gap between expectation and perceived achievement (75 per cent cited brand building as an objective and only 49 per cent felt this objective had been met, while 45 per cent cited educating consumers as an objective and only 31 per cent felt this had been met). This is because many organisations involved in educational marketing don’t do it very well.

There is little point producing, for example, a range of resource materials if they are not used in the schools, either because teachers find them inappropriate or they are not distributed to the relevant teachers and schools within the education system.

It is for these reasons that a number of companies and organisations use specialist agencies in this field – of course, I have something of an axe to grind here. It is, however, very clear that resource materials produced by specialist publishers, with the active involvement of teachers and educationists, are used much more widely than those without such input. It is also true that the most effective channels for distributing materials change all the time and a lot of material can go astray unless it is managed by people who are in constant touch with the educational world.

I suspect that your conclusion that this type of communication is poised for considerable growth is right. I also suspect that this growth will include a great deal of wastage by companies who regard educational marketing as a peripheral activity and do not devote adequate resources to what is, after all, a specialist and potentially sensitive target market.

Keith Neighbour

Hobsons Acedemic Relations

Cambridge

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