Care for Kids debates ECEC marketing strategies
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > Care for Kids explores ECEC marketing debate – digital or traditional?

Care for Kids explores ECEC marketing debate – digital or traditional?

by Hannah Rother

March 20, 2024
Care for Kids marketing panel

Marketing professionals in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector came together, on Thursday 14 March, at Lightspace in Brisbane, Queensland, hearing from marketing experts Jess O’Sullivan, Dr Monica Chien, Phil Oren and Sarah Tikfesis.


The Care for Kids event sparked the ever-present debate for marketers, to go digital or not to go digital? This time, with an ECEC lens. Participants were asked to consider if there might be a “silver bullet” to capture the hearts (and enrolments) of families? 


Other provocations included: 


  • Is TV advertising relevant anymore with the rise of streaming services? 
  • Is it possible to win someone’s attention in the world of social media?


As expected, there was no defined and agreed consensus. As Speaker Sarah Tikfesis, Acting CEO of Megaphone put it, “it depends.”


The panel, whilst putting forward their own ideas, encouraged the audience to dive deeper into those on the receiving end of their marketing efforts. What do they value? What do they consider in an ECEC setting and who do they listen to? How well do we know our current families, why they chose us and why they stayed?


In a highly competitive and saturated sector, staying ahead of the curve is about developing strong, meaningful insights on the customer. But how can ECEC professionals do this?


Talk to your families ECEC professionals have an incredible opportunity to explore and understand  parent concerns and values, as the people who are most often responding to questions about their experience looking for the right ECEC fit. They can identify the considerations and pain points better than anyone.


Review your tour experience – The most creative and effective marketing campaign can only get families to the door. Ensuring the facilities, atmosphere and staff match expectations is the most critical component for converting a lead to an enrolment. What is the family really wanting and how can you demonstrate this? 


Word of mouth – We know families talk and share experiences. Most ECEC leaders have probably noticed enrolment numbers soar or plummet because of this. Nurturing current relationships can work wonders to build a strong reputation in local communities. Wanting a more direct approach? ‘Refer a friend’ campaigns are a great incentive to parents to spread the word.


Whether you have a marketing team working behind the scenes or you are the jack of all trades, there is no limit to how you can show value to families, future and current. Look beyond what you are ‘selling’ and talk to what families actually want.


The panel explored using artificial intelligence (AI) generated content to establish a meaningful brand. Whilst the technology is still being refined and developed, panel experts generally agreed it can be a helpful tool to spark creativity and the foundation for real people to expand on.


The event was a fantastic opportunity for ECEC marketing specialists to learn from experts and meet other like-minded professionals.


To read more about how Care for Kids connects ECEC providers to families, and provides data-led insights for performance-driven marketing, please visit the website, here.

Image: Will Gordon

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