Covering the strategic waterfront

Among marketing and advertising folks, there is a well-known case study of a product launch in the mid-1960s that failed spectacularly.

The product was a new brand of dog food, and the reason the launch became famous was the extreme lengths the company went to research the prelaunch of the product. Everything was tested – the shape and design of the packaging, the color of the lettering, the background graphics, and the habits of dog owners as they strolled through the store.

Nothing was left to chance. Everything was vetted via shopper intercepts, focus groups, interviews, etc. And yet, the product bombed.

Care to guess why?

Nobody asked the dogs. Turns out initial sales were great, until pet owners discovered their dogs didn’t like the taste and refused to eat it. The product sank like a rock.

We’ve witnessed similar instances in K-12 with strategic planning that failed to cover all the bases. Time after time, we see school districts spend months working with a strategic planning committee to identify upgrades, changes and new policies to only have those fail once implemented in the community.

When Patron Insight works with school districts on strategic planning, we ramp up the data collection phase to insure two things:

  • Everyone in the district has a say in the process.
  • Everyone is informed about potential changes in the district well in advance of any changes.

Our methodology includes a statistically-accurate patron telephone survey, online surveys for parents, students, staff and the public, and interviews with key opinion leaders. We encourage our school district clients to seek the input of all patrons in the process and publish results of the surveys as they happen.

Using this approach, our clients find once it’s time to implement their strategic planning initiatives, everything falls in place without a hitch.

As Dr. Tim Hadfield, superintendent of the Camdenton School District (Mo.), said, “We’ve never had a strategic plan go this smoothly.”

Is your district about to get started on a strategic planning process? Let Patron Insight help. Contact Ken DeSieghardt at [email protected] or 816-255-0668.