Strategic marketing for public schools: A study of implementation by Connecticut superintendents and assistant superintendents

Date of Completion

January 2002


Education, Administration




During the course of the last decade, public schools have witnessed increased program requirements, escalating costs, a scarcity of resources, and a wavering public perception of the quality of services. With growing competition from the private sector and increased opportunities for school choice, school leaders are confronted with the need to develop effective skills to meet the challenge of attracting and retaining community support. ^ Across the nation, nonprofit organizations, universities and independent schools have successfully assimilated marketing strategies from the private business sector to promote their services to improve customer satisfaction. Although some public school leaders have begun to employ marketing techniques, they have done so primarily in an informal, instinctual manner. While school districts currently rely upon public relations to enhance school—community communication, school leaders may need to practice specific strategic marketing techniques to attract and maintain stakeholders' support. ^ The purpose of this study was to explore strategic marketing utilization by public school leaders, and ways in which these strategies benefit public school districts. An updated educational marketing survey was developed and issued to practicing superintendents and assistant superintendents in Connecticut. Qualitative data and quantitative frequency distributions pertaining to the results of the survey revealed a plethora of specific strategic marketing practices that are being conducted in varying degrees and manners in school districts throughout the state. Analysis of variance statistical procedures, followed by a Scheffe post-hoc analysis, determined significant differences in the manner and extent to which marketing strategies and activities are practiced across the state's Educational Reference Groups (ERGs). ^