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Building Your School’s Marketing Team

What does your school’s dream marketing team look like? In our quest to build our marketing capabilities, you may ask the question, ‘Should we try to cover areas such as website management, SEO and digital advertising in-house?’ The answer to this question really depends on the skills of your team and your school’s long-term goals. 

In a world with ever-expanding digital opportunities (and consumer expectations), it takes an ever-increasing amount of time to keep up with it all. We’ve gone from managing one school Facebook page to a world that includes so much more. Our digital marketing needs for schools have grown.

Great leaders are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and have a plan of how they are going to achieve their marketing goals with their current team and capacity. In this article, we will try and help you make decisions about how you can cover your digital marketing needs using the skills and resources available to you. 

Shouldn’t Our Marketing Person Cover It All?

Often there’s the perception that once a school has hired a marketing team member that all their marketing needs are covered. Have you ever been called the school photographer, or been asked to arrange a parent get-together all in the name of marketing? Similarly, it can be an expectation that school marketers will do it all, from writing copy to taking photographs, event management, website editing, and digital marketing media buying on Facebook and Google Ads. Not to mention the day you spend trying to fix your SEO. We’re always learning as marketers, and while we can cover some of these areas to the best of our ability, we also need to realise when we may be hindering our schools’ growth by trying to do it all ourselves.

Once we have a clear understanding of what we can bring to the marketing department, we then need a plan on how to cover the areas outside of our remit. And the question remains, ‘Do we cover it in-house or outsource?’

Covering Digital Marketing In-House

Building an in-house team may sound like a dream come true and a few schools have afforded the opportunity to have most of their marketing needs covered in-house. Digital marketing is one of those areas where a qualified professional is needed for the role. If your school is looking to hire an in-house digital marketer to add to your team, there are a few considerations to bear in mind:

  • Great digital markers typically come with a price tag (expect to pay around $80,000 plus).
  • They’re hard to retain because of the demand for skills in this area.
  • They will have their own specialisation and you will have to work with each new hire according to their strengths to ensure you hire according to your biggest needs.

Having an in-house digital marketer on your team can be a huge advantage, however, it is not always possible to do so. Hiring a digital agency may be the next best step to ensure your school is proactively promoting through digital mediums.

Engaging an Agency to Join Your Team

So, what are the tell-tale signs indicating that it’s time to outsource to a digital agency?

  • Your digital projects keep being skipped on your list of things to do and you find yourself stuck in the day-to-day of the role rather than on your marketing.
  • You have a great strategy in place but rarely follow it or often find yourself off track.
  • You’ve had a brilliant marketing idea sitting on the ‘we should really do that’ pile for more than six months.
  • Certain issues within your marketing are starting to bottleneck the success of your overall campaigns, such as an outdated website or poor SEO.

An agency may be able to help you start to tick off some of this work. There are several advantages to hiring an agency:

  • Digital agencies will be able to offer you a wide variety of skills within their team for much less than the cost of hiring a marketing professional.
  • You’ll pay for a desired outcome and if that outcome isn’t met, you can choose a new agency. 
  • They’ll offer you flexibility and the ability to respond to market needs. For example, you could switch from SEO to digital advertising for a season, rather than being restricted to the abilities of your team.
  • You can save money by hiring an agency for what is needed, instead of employing a digital marketer and paying a salary. Time training a new employee is also saved as the experts are already prepared and ready to help you.

Whether you choose to go in-house or outsource, it is important to first identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team and the goals of your school, so that you can clarify what it is you need from a digital marketer. You will likely need to outsource at least some elements of the technical digital strategy to take full advantage of new technologies, so having a clear plan as to what you want to achieve and a budget, will help you find the right digital marketer or agency to fit your team.

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