Cultivating a Thriving Christian School Series:
Addressing major components for institutional health in Christian schools
Dr. S. L. Sherrill
Someone has said, “We write a story every day by the words that we say and by the things that we do.” As believers, we have the most incredible story ever told. As educators, we tell that story through Kingdom education. The question to be answered is, “What story will our school families and community hear?” Kingdom Marketing leads others to take faithful action in building God’s Kingdom one day at a time with one voice, your vision, and one purpose, your mission. The leadership and staff must mobilize and engage all stakeholders (parents, students, alumni, grandparents, community, etc.) in the Kingdom Marketing of the school by giving, volunteering, sharing, doing, seeing, reading, and experiencing Kingdom education. Therefore, my purpose is to share Kingdom Marketing principles that reveal how telling the story well leads to a successful ministry.
First, Kingdom Marketing requires that we drive word of mouth through:
Experiences: People share experiences with others, a good word for a good experience and a bad word for a bad experience. You can be sure that prospective parents will ask current parents about their experiences.
Quality: Repeated success, producing graduates that excel in college and life, will tell your story.
Satisfaction: A satisfied parent is a positive parent. You should measure stakeholder satisfaction on an annual basis.
Trust: Parents trust their friends; so, if current parents trust the school, that will drive word of mouth with their friends.
Service: How you treat parents is critical to driving word of mouth. Solomon spoke of “the little foxes that spoil the vines” (Song of Sol. 2:15). How we return phone calls, answer emails, conduct personal meetings, and greet in the carline tells the story and drives word of mouth.
Loyalty: Parent loyalty equals brand loyalty, which is built upon experiences, quality, satisfaction, trust, and service that will grow over time.
Stories: The stories you tell help drive word of mouth. Jerry Twombly said, “If you’re not putting out stories, you basically don’t exist.” Most schools are not putting out their stories. “Telling the story” is strategic.
Second, this question must be answered: “Are you providing a good service at a good value?” Kingdom Marketing involves critical customer service principles such as:
Elevator Speech: Every Kingdom educator must develop an elevator speech that affirms and explains the who, what, and why of a school’s vision, mission, core values, and expected student outcomes.
The Gold: Remember that parents have the gold. The customer is not always right, but they are still the customer. You must know what your parents and students want and need. Listen to them. Thank them. Gratitude is memorable. Your goal is for every parent to walk away happy, satisfied, or heard.