Marketing Seminar 2017 - the highlights

Marketing professionals from over 25 independent schools across New Zealand convened at the Intercontinental Hotel in Wellington last week to hear from an exciting range of speakers and to network with their peers.

Our speakers

Jeanette Paine, Director of Marketing and Development at King’s College in Auckland

Jeanette, a King’s College parent herself, took us through the research and development that resulted in the highly successful ‘Find Yourself at King’s’ campaign.

“I can’t stress how important research is,” she told us. “It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Complex passive experiences and interactions affect brand perception, which in turn influences people when they are actively considering a brand.”

Among the insights that Jeanette shared was that engagement with old Collegians and seeing students out and about was found to be more influential than media and advertising.

“Brand is what brand does – it must be the code by which all representatives undertake all their activities.”


Michael Prentice, Director, Thinking Out Loud

Michael shared the work he has been doing with Education New Zealand on ‘Redefining the New Zealand in a New Zealand education’. ENZ are developing a new strategy to increase perception of educational quality in New Zealand.

“The individual attention international students get in New Zealand is a huge personal growth benefit,” says Michael. “It’s a hallmark of the New Zealand education experience.”

Michael laid out some of the key benefits of studying in New Zealand:

  • We teach students how to put knowledge to work in the world
  • We offer time for learning outside the classroom.
  • We’re a small country, so it’s easier to connect with employers and your community
  • We’re top in the world for personal freedom and tolerance toward immigrants
  • All of our universities are ranked in the top 3% in the world.


  Michael Prentice, Thinking Out Loud


Nick Whiteacre, Head of Digital Strategy, Calibrate

Nick talked about marketing automation, and how to use automations tools to put the right information in front of people at the right time.

“The research says that the more parents are involved in their child’s learning, the better the child does,” said Nick. “Parents today are time poor – we need to make the information we provide to them as relevant and personalised as we possibly can.”


Ryan Marston, Managing Director, PureSEO

Ryan took us through what you need to know to use Google Analytics and AdWords efficiently.

He advised, “Ask yourself: do you answer the question your audience is asking? Google privileges those it trusts most, and who are best at answering the question.”

Google AdWords has become a necessity in online marketing, as it’s the only way to extend your online reach beyond your city now that Google search is location-based. “You need to plan who and where your audience are, and target them. AdWords allows you to do this very precisely.”


Jam Mayer, Managing Director, Conversologie

Jam shared some practical insights on how to measure the effectiveness of social media campaigns and calculate their Return on Investment (ROI). She suggested measuring the performance of a campaign by answering some simple questions such as:

  • How engaged are our audiences on social?
  • Which content is working and why?
  • How do we compare with other institutions?

Finally, Jam showed how to use the analytics side of platforms such as Hootsuite to collect meaningful data and answer these questions.


The Parents Panel

In a first for ISNZ, we brought together a group of independent school parents, to hear their insights and opinions on independent school education.

What they told us:

“We spent an hour and a half visiting the school. The Principal spent three or four minutes on us, and the rest of the time engaging with my son. From that point, we were in for life.”

“We were looking for a welcoming, caring environment and structure around the day. We don’t have family in Wellington so a warm, caring connection was vital.”

“Wellesley is a continuation of the structure I loved when I was at school.”

“On our visit we saw lots of camaraderie, and I could see how happy my son was at the interview.”

“Every day when I ask how their day was, they say, ‘Great!’ I go there and think I wish I was back in school!”                                                                                               

“Our kids are connected to the world in ways we never were. I want my son at a school which embraces our global community. There are parents out there who are looking for more than a standard education, and the International Baccalaureate will appeal to them.”

“Independent schools should be promoted as inclusive not exclusive, and catering to people from all walks of life. I’ve met parents from every demographic at my children’s school.”

“Get your very best teachers talking – we don’t promote the teachers enough. My son has had teachers who are superstars!”


And the verdict?

Feedback from our attendees included:

“I thought the day was extremely well run and very relevant. I particularly enjoyed Michael, Jeanette and Ryan's presentations, along with the parent panel discussion, as they brought a real personal and personable element into their presentations and spoke with passion and enthusiasm about independent schooling. They had some great 'take away' ideas on how to engage our community and wider audiences and that was very helpful. I also enjoyed meeting and catching up with other attendees and sharing real time information and marketing tips.

“It was great to hear the live example from Jeanette who had done a zero-based exercise and is seeing it through from brand evaluation to marketing and sales.”

“Being able to get an unfiltered response and opinions from our valued parents was invaluable.”

“I took so many ideas away from Ryan's presentation, and the parents’ panel was fantastic.”

“Jeanette's presentation was the absolute winner for me. Hearing another school's case study, so competently presented, was invaluable.”