The most basic principle of launching a new product or service and the greatest success stories come when an entrepreneur recognizes a void in the marketplace and serves that need and those customers.
Learning a Lesson From ESPN
Does anybody recall the early days of ESPN, the Sports cable giant. There wasn’t much to shout about in terms of major sports programming – Australian Rules Football and a plethora of rarely televised events. The staple of the network that fueled its growth from the early days was its own sports news program – Sportscenter.
Why was Sportcenter so successful that it was able to build the foundation for a multi-billion dollar sports icon. Well think about what has been happening to the sports segment of your local news programming.
In most markets, the sports highlights and recap segment of the news has dwindled, as have the resources allocated to employ journalists, producers, etc. According to a 2006 study by the Penn State Center for Sports Journalism in a survey of the top 50 markets, the average local sports segment is 3 minutes.
The logic is that weather and news affect everyone, but sports only appeals to sports fans. Yet that doesn’t mean there aren’t legions of sports fans longing for a more extensive sports news program with highlights and analysis presented by enthusiastic and entertaining broadcasters, and that’s what ESPN’s Sportscenter provided.
- If you’re at a private school, any differentiator is a selling feature that can help attract students. At your open houses, your potential students and their families might not consider arts education a priority. Articulate that you’re still committed to excellence in the arts – but more importantly – tell them why it’s important!
- Create marketing materials with similar themes.
- If you’re not competing for enrollment, your administrator still wants recognition for your school. Summarize your accomplishments and create relationships with local media.
- Track down your former students and ask them to articulate what being a part of your arts or music education has meant to them personally and professionally as they’ve moved throughout their careers. Nothing is more effective in sales than the testimonial of a happy customer.
- Ask those same former students to come back and perform or speak to your students and parents. Seeing these successful professionals with provide a clear demonstration that your program impacts lives.
It’s a cliche, but in every challenge there is opportunity. And if you’re a great arts or music educator (and I know you are!), let ‘em know it!
I once interviewed the Development Director for a symphony organization, and he said that when he speaks to representatives from major donor organizations, most were involved in music programs as a child – and that’s the danger of cutting school music programs – the number of individuals who “buy in” to the power and benefits of music education is likely to diminish.
I recently listened to an interview with Dr. Richard Fratianne and a burn patient regarding the benefits of music therapy as a healing aid. Interesting that Dr. Fratianne indicated that music was an integral part of his upbringing.
Campbell’s corporation has a Labels for Education program that allows participating schools to collect product labels, accumulate points, and exchange those points for educational resources for music/art, athletic, or academic use. Schools can simply enroll and appoint a coordinator to act as a liaison to collect and submit the labels.
Anyone considering music education budget cuts should spend some time listening to Neil Moore, Founder & CEO of Simply Music, a man with an amazing story and a passion for the importance of music. Yesterday I posted a quote from Neil from my book. Here’s an excerpt of the audio interview:
This 60 Minutes segment with Bob Simon should be mandatory viewing for any school or jurisdiction considering budget cuts to music education. A program known as El Sistema (The System) and The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra are a model for turning around poverty-stricken children’s lives and giving them hope. It’s noteworthy that Bob mentions specifically “Confidence and Self-Esteem,” which we identified as one of the 9 common lessons of music education that translate into success in my research.
A leader of the program also notes the “irreversible transformation” that takes place in children. Also, a young man who went from a juvenile detention center to clarinet player says, “It’s completely different than when you hold a gun…Music taught me how to treat people without violence.”
Nice effort by students “Bex” and “Brizzle” to use their creative energy to promote music education for a school project.