Harriet Gething, Director of Marketing

Name: Harriett Gething

Job title: Director of Marketing

Current place of employment: Notting Hill & Ealing High School GDST

Years’ experience in education marketing: Six

How did you get into school marketing?

I was Director of Communications and Advocacy at WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts), in non-formal education and felt it was a logical step to move into formal education!

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What do you feel is the biggest misconception about your role?

That all we do is take photos and tweet!

What do you feel has been the most significant change in your profession since you first started working as a school marketer?

There are a lot more agencies and professionals supporting the education market – a good sign that it is being taken seriously. After all, school marketers are in charge of the marketing for a multi-million pound organisation, which is nothing to be sniffed at!

Your top tip for engaging stakeholders in your marketing?

Understand the landscape, be helpful and be jargon-free in your communication.

What do you think makes for a successful school marketing campaign?

It’s the same as any campaign – a clear and concise single goal with emotional benefit to your target audience.

Preferred social media channel?

For NHEHS, it’s twitter – our parents are very tech-savvy and twitter seems to be the channel of choice for quick bursts of content.

Do you feel there’s any aspect of digital advertising/social media that’s underrated/overrated?

Like others, I think facebook has become saturated in ads and I fear that our message will be missed.

If you had endless budget, what would you implement into your school’s marketing?

TV! I would sponsor Bake Off, although of course, it makes no sense to do so as we are a single-site school in West London! I have big (and realistic!) plans for NHEHS though over the next few years which is exciting.

Moment you have been most proud of in your current role?

I’ve only been there for less than a year but I am most proud of the fact that my team (Admissions, Digital, PR, Alumnae and Development) is highly motivated, ambitious and genuinely, the best group of people I have worked with. We have also re-branded the school which had been a big task but actually, a real pleasure as everyone has been so open to it.

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What are your favourite tools to make your job easier as a school marketer?

I love canva for simple graphics and InDesign for bigger graphic jobs like adverts and booklets. My team and I use WhatsApp a lot to share ideas.

How much do you rely on data to inform your strategy?

I’d say it would be 60-40 – data and research is essential but I do draw a lot on my own experience working in FMCG and charitable brands and organisations to build an effective strategy.

What do you see as being the most significant change/trend school marketers will face in the next 10 years?

The biggest shift will be that all parents will be tech natives, so we have to make sure we can respond in the way that parents will need us to.

The dreaded ‘B’ word! Do you think Brexit will have an impact on your role? If so, how?

Who honestly knows?! Ask me again when it actually happens!

What are your favourite professional resources (e.g. blogs, authors, books, etc.) you use in your role?

I read Marketing Week, Guardian Education and TES a lot, as well as articles on state, independent and international education. It’s useful to keep an eye on what’s going on as well as looking at best practice by other non-educational brands.

What’s the best piece of career-specific advice you ever got?

A line manager once commented on the sheer volume of ideas I used to have (I probably derailed his train of thought at least twice a day!) He told me to never stop thinking outside the box as although some of my ideas (like ‘let’s sponsor bus stops and turn them into mini roof gardens’ when I worked in coffee – coffee grounds being excellent ingredients in compost!) never quite saw the light of day, sometimes I can land on something pretty unique that actually works!

What’s the one piece of advice would you give to a new school marketer?

Don’t follow the crowd – get creative! It’s a very safe place to try new ideas out as generally schools like a trier!

If you weren’t a school marketer, what would be your alternative job?

I am obsessed with design and interiors – I am currently renovating a beautiful old house in Spain – so it would have to be something in that creative field.

Mo – Mailers

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