Do you know your school's target market: the needs, opportunities for growth, and school design options?
A well-planned analysis of your target market enables better school design. Knowledge of the trends and economic forces provide a foundation for meeting student needs more effectively as well as improving the accuracy of your design of new programs.
As you seek to tightly define your target group(s), consider using Business Model Generation's 5 key areas to evaluating market forces. Although it may seem awkward to apply these entrepreneurial business methods for school design, you will be infinitely more prepared to make meaningful improvements to your school culture and outcomes if you undertake an intentional investigation of the marketplace. According to Osterwalder and Pigneur, Market Issues, Market Segments, Need and Demands, Switching Costs, and Revenue Attractivenessare all key elements in understanding market forces as they relate to your school design through innovation planning.
Assessing Market Issues
Assessing Market Issues provides direction to identify ways to drive and transform your value proposition. What is impacting your current and future families? How will this change the make-up of school programs and offerings? Analysis of Market Issues includes consideration of current trends affecting families, as well as potential opportunities and threats. Anticipating the threats helps focus your school design on the strengths of your organization, while capitalizing on the opportunities provides new revenue streams and improved quality.
In the EdX MOOC course, Innovation and Commercialization, (in which I recently enrolled) Professor Eugene Fitzgerald outlines the key elements to researching market issues and impact. Collaboration with colleagues in the education marketplace is a beneficial strategy, but hard to accomplish with the other demands on overloaded school leaders.
Marketing is a contest
for people's attention.
Surveying current families about the factors that influence their decision to remain committed to your school is an effective way to learn about market pain points. Soliciting input from prospective families while corresponding with them through the enrollment process will also provide useful data about why they were attracted to your school and what they deeply need. Ultimately, the goal is to determine the Buyers Surplus, defined by Fitzgerald as the benefit that is received by the family for the actual cost. A valuable question to ask: “Is your school offering a high value return relative to the cost, or perceived Buyers Surplus?”
As a starting point, assessing these target market issues serves as a foundation of data that enables you as a school deigner to make informed innovation plans for rapid and effective school improvement.
However beautiful the strategy,
you should occasionally
look at the results.