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ISC Marketing Conference: How to stand-out from rivals (and friends!) November 1, 2010

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in Conferences.
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Next Wednesday I (Alex) will be attending the Independent Schools Council’s 2010 Marketing Conference in London.

The ISC are expecting approximately 175 attendees at conference, the vast majority of which will be directors of marketing and marketing managers at UK independent schools. Around 20 percent of registered delegates are Heads, deputy heads and governors.

The growth and popularity of the conference shows just how important marketing and PR has become in independent schools in the UK; a fact highlighted by sales of our recent book in the Leading Schools in the 21st Century series, Public Relations, Marketing and Development.

The Association for Marketing and Development in Independent Schools (AMDIS) are one of the most important organisations in the field, having been promoting best practice in the independent education sector for over 15 years and representing over 400 member schools.

AMDIS chair Kit Bithrey-George will be giving one of the keynote speaches at the conference, and their general secretary Tory Gillingham was one of the editors of our Public Relations, Marketing and Development. Here’s what Tory wrote in the introduction.

In schools, most of our marketing practice is (thankfully!) a world away from the highly commercial, aggressive win-at-all-costs-and-no-holdsbarred style that increasingly dominates the promotion of goods and services. In contrast, wise schools act in a more measured way, continuing to eschew the temptation to produce ‘knocking copy’ that does down their competitors.

There is a recognition within the sector that our rivals are often also our friends, and that schools, whilst competing against each other, find that unity and some solidarity and professionalism can be a strength rather than a cop-out. However, none of this reasonableness and reticence should deflect us from the challenge of marketing our schools more efficiently, more purposefully and more sophisticatedly. There is a balance to be struck.

It should be an interesting conference. Kevin Fear, Head of Nottingham High School and contributor to Public Relations, Marketing and Development, is giving a speech in the morning on A Head’s View of Marketing — Aligning your Marketing Strategy with the Strategic Goals of the School.

His is just one of a number of really enticing presentations. If you are heading along, do pop by the John Catt Educational stand and say hello!

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