I’m starting a series about marketing fundamentals in which today’s post marks the first one in that series. Now, I think this is a good time for this sort of thing because of where we are as a global economy.
Digital ad networks have been flailing this year because of the COVID boom coming to an end, recession fears, inflation, and ultimately advertisers spending less money on ad platforms. Now, there’s been a lot of talk out there about a digital advertising winter but I don’t think that isnt all necessarily true.
What I think is happening right now is companies are shifting their budgets away from the platforms that are driving fewer results to the handful of platforms that are the most valuable to them.
It’s a subtle change that makes all the difference in the world. Essentially what we’re seeing is less experimentation and more caution when it comes to budget allocation. Hence, I think this series is timely because it gets right down to the few proven fundamentals of marketing that work nearly every time.
With these practices in place, your marketing funnel will be simple, efficient, and effective. Something that we all need to get back to every few years, especially after a boom like we’ve seen over the last couple of years. Today we’re going to be talking about finding your tilt.
Why Find a Tilt?
The marketing tilt was coined by Joe Pulizzi at The Tilt. I highly recommend checking out the work he’s doing there as well as the This Old Marketing Podcast BTW. A Tilt is the thing that makes your school stand out from the rest of ’em.
My tilt for my podcast is the fact that the episodes are 10 minutes or less. When I started the podcast nobody in the industry knew who I was or what I do or anything about me really. In other words, they had no reason to listen to my podcast over the 5 or 6 other shows out there that all have a larger audience, are hosted by more well-known people, or have more history than I did.
So, in order to stand out I created the first and only short-form podcast in the industry to date which instantly got me, listeners, because there was nothing like it out there.
Having a tilt is one of the most important pieces to marketing your school effectively. A good one will make all of your marketing easier and more effective.
Your tilt should be clearly communicated on your website and in your marketing. It can even be used in your tagline.
Schools With a Tilt? Not So Much.
In preparing for this post I looked at some of the top private schools in the country to find out their tilt. Surely the schools with the most resources available would have this thing down pat right? You would think so, but I found that almost all of them were saying the same old thing.
That thing was some variation of having an inclusive staff and student body, developing their student’s minds and personalities through more than just traditional “school work”, academic excellence, and school history.
The one bright spot in my research was from Groton School in MA. They highlight that their students have the option to design their own individualized education in special subjects under the guidance of a faculty member. They also state specifically how they develop leadership in their students by entrusting every sixth former to lead a dorm.
Now, it’s important to note that these may not truly be things that set Groton School apart from its peers. In other words, every other school around them may offer the exact same thing. But, Groton school does a better job of communicating these facts. Therefore, they win that battle.
In my opinion, they should double down on these points and call themselves
- “the school that develops leaders”
- Do research to find out how their alumni continue to lead after they graduate and back up their claims with true proof that they are one of the top schools to develop leadership skills in their students.
- They could also hone in on the specialized education bit – interview students to get their opinions on that offering – how they enjoy school more, how it helps them explore their curiosity, etc. They could also elegantly blend in the benefits that students get from trade schools while simultaneously getting the breadth of a world-class general education.
Finding Your Tilt
So, what could your tilt be? Here are a few places that you could start:
- Are your class sizes significant?
- Is your student-to-teacher ratio significant?
- Do you focus on developing a certain trait in your students?
- Do your students attend college at a significant rate?
- Do your students graduate at a significantly higher rate?
- Do you develop students for a certain profession
- Do you serve a specific audience?
- Do you have better/newer/different facilities?
- Does your staff have a significant history?
These are places where you can look to find your tilt. I encourage you to get started on this ASAP. Once you’ve got it figured out, use it in your marketing content and communicate it throughout your website. Doing so will make all of your marketing more effective because people will understand why they should choose you over the other schools on their consideration list.