I recently facilitated a workshop on Marketing/Advocating for the ag program. Now, I can’t say I’m an expert at this but I will say that there are a whole lot of resources out there to get better.
That being said, why do we struggle with marketing our programs? Is it because we’re too busy with the daily grind to worry about it? Do we think we’ve already got that covered and no need to do more? Or are we just plain ignorant of how badly we are actually are at it? (Remember ignorance is fixable, stupid is forever.)
I’d propose that it’s some of all those reasons. And like most things, we don’t worry about it until we need it (often that is entirely too late).
What can we learn from a basic Marketing 101 class? Take a few minutes and view a great example of these principals in this AllState Insurance commercial. (You can google Allstate tiny tow truck to find it.)
In 30 seconds, the marketers were able to illustrate:
• Product positioning (Are you positioning your program where it’s easy for students to choose you over other electives?)
• Having a package that stands out from the rest (Are you wrapping your program in more than an FFA jacket?)
• Extra benefits (What can students get from you that they can’t get anywhere else?)
• Premium/Token/Catch (What’s your tiny tow truck to push students over the edge and choose you?)
• Tag Line (Have you got something besides the stereotypical labels?)
Share your thoughts, strategies and success stories of marketing your ag program and check out the December issue of Making a Difference. It has some great ideas for effectively marketing your program to various audiences and stakeholders. Take advantage of those ideas and Marketing 101 strategies to improve your support, increase your enrollment, and promote your students. I've also attached the worksheets that I used during the workshop to help participants work through their messaging as they develop their plan for marketing their programs.
As a teacher in a program that is rebuilding marketing the ag program has been an important focus for me. One thing I started this year was a blog (www.gillettageducation.wordpress.com) that is connected with a Facebook page to highlight the entire ag program, not just FFA. I post pictures from class, articles featuring the importance of agriculture, upcoming events and more. It's been an effective tool, especially with administrators and parents.