Avoid telling teachers what you sell and instead show them their relevance to the current school situation.
I have long been advocating the view that the current changes in school budgets don’t mean that schools will buy fewer products, but rather that they will cut the number of teachers (by far their biggest expense), enlarge classes, and start using other means of teaching.
Further, my argument is that this won’t mean redundancies, but rather will mean simply not replacing staff who leave and abandoning attempts to recruit when applicant levels are low to non-existent.
Recently, articles online and in the press have started to concur with this analysis, and the London Councils’ submission to the DfE’s consultation says, “As around 70% of a school’s budget is spent on staff salaries, funding reductions are likely to result in fewer teachers and support staff posts in schools, as well as increased class sizes.”
As the Guardian notes, London already struggles to recruit and retain teachers because of the high cost of living.
I don’t think the right response to this is simply to say, “schools can’t buy - they don’t have the money” but instead to look at the current situation and think, “how can my product or service be of value to schools with larger class sizes and fewer teachers?”
Then one simply writes the adverts in that way, saying yes the situation is difficult but this product or service will help.
This doesn’t mean I am suggesting that you should write a headline that says,
Larger classes? We’ve got the answer!
But rather that in a somewhat more subtle way you might suggest that your products or services are exactly what the school needs in these rapidly changing times.
My thinking here is that in recent years schools have suffered from the problem of having less money available, and so they have had plenty of time to start working with the problem.
Also I think we should all be aware of the continuing uncertainty within the situation. For example, there was a surprise development when the F40 group of MPs and local councils, most of whom are Conservatives, asked for changes to the funding formula.
They were at the heart of the drive to the new funding formula, and it seems that now they have it they don’t like it. In fact what we now have is people like Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, the Conservative MP for the Cotswolds, saying two-thirds of schools in his region would be worse off under the new formula.
But changes are starting to happen, and it is noticeable that the drive to spend money on converting LA schools into academies has been abandoned.
I appreciate that with some products and services it is not easy to see how the advertising of them fits into this current situation, but I do believe that the companies that are already flourishing in this environment have achieved that by some serious re-thinking of how they present the benefits of what they offer.