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Unquantifiable Business Decisions – No Campaign Promotions

The second unquantifiable business decision we’ve made at MY has drawn even sharper reactions than closing enrollments (https://ltprofessionals.com/unquantifiable-business-decisions-limited-enrollment-period): no campaign promotions. This strategy can elicit such strong reactions that once I even got kicked off a Facebook group for school owners after proposing it, being told that I was making the suggestion only as an attempt to keep other school owners down. (?!)

 

Our entry fee is ¥10,000 and monthly tuition for elementary school students ¥8,500 plus tax. The only time we discount either or those is when a student is introduced by a current student–so I suppose the blog title is a little misleading. In the case of an introduction, we halve the entry fee to ¥5,000 and then give the introducing student a ¥5,000 gift card, essentially passing the entry fee on to the introducing student.

 

If the new student is not introduced by an existing one, however, we have no special campaign promotions–even in the spring. We of course do considerable marketing, but while the ads for our competitors almost always mention some kind of discount, we spend our ad space touting the benefits of our school, teachers, and qualify of our lessons.

 

On demo lesson days as well, we give no special discounts to people who sign up on the day. We instead encourage parents to compare us to other schools before signing up. We do let them know that their desired class may fill while waiting, but that is all the pressure we give.

 

There are three main reasons we do this:

1) We want to stand out in the marketplace as the school that cares more about educational quality –

Every other school in our area is doing special campaign promotions. We want to stand out from the competition, not act just like them.

 

2) We don’t want students choosing us based mainly on price –

We want to be selective in who we attract. We reduce our entrance fee for those introduced by current students partially because our current students have done a level of screening for us. If students are attracted to us mainly as a result of a campaign promotion based on price, then we believe they will be less interested in quality and more likely to leave sooner. As you know from my previous blog post, we cutoff new beginner student enrollments three months into the school year, so any student that takes a spot in a first-year lesson and then leaves after only one or two years is taking a spot a longer-term student could have had.

 

3) When we discontinued special campaign promotions, we found no negative impact on enrollments –

There was a time when we did fairly large promotions. Our largest competitor in the area did a promotion for half-price tuition for the first two months, so we tried to top them with free tuition for the first two months instead. We tried that for three years, but did not see a significant increase in new enrollments. In fact, the year we stopped the promotion saw a significant increase. It’s possible that was simply coincidence, but it also strongly suggests that our free tuition campaign was simply leaving money on the table.

 

Next post I will write about closing our schools for teacher training.

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