Adopting a Marketing Mindset as a Pathway to Innovative Leadership

Year: 2021

Author: Drysdale, Lawrie

Type of paper: Individual Paper

In a VUCA world leaders are expected to adapt their leadership to meet new demands. This proposal argues that leaders will need to change their mindsets and adopt different frames of reference to innovate.  It was Albert Einstein who noted that ’Everything has changed except the way we think’. The proposal outlines six marketing dimensions that can provide leaders with a new set of lenses to define their leadership role in a time of change where innovation is necessary to survive and thrive.One important approach to changing perspective is for educational leaders is to adopt a marketing mindset. The presentation will explain what we mean by a marketing mindset and identify six marketing dimensions that leaders can assume. The Concept of marketingThe concept of marketing is often confusing and misunderstood in management. The ‘common’ view of marketing is that it is selling and advertising. It is often regarded with suspicion as being dishonest, exploitative, and manipulative. It is not surprising the concept of marketing is contentious in education. This is re-enforced by the way neoliberalism has captured the western world and is basically rejected by educationalists. Many school administrators, teachers, and community members do not believe schools should market or compete. This resistance is often associated with attitudes about the role and resourcing of educational institutions in society, as well as negative attitudes towards marketing. It is not surprising that there is resistance to marketing.    Modern MarketingPeter Drucker created modern marketing in the 1950s and argued that there were only two key endeavours for the organisation to succeed – marketing and innovation. The presentation will outline several dimensions of marketing that offer a wide range of perspectives that provide leaders with a valuable new set of lenses from which to view their school. A marketing mind-set that incorporates multiple dimensions of marketing can enhance their school’s performance by helping to set direction, understand the internal and external school context, develop people, build the organisation, improve teaching and learning, and improve communication. The author’s own research has identified at least six different approaches to marketing which are explored in the presentation. The six dimensions of marketing are market orientation, marketing as a function within the organisation, marketing as strategy, relationship marketing, brand orientation, and digital marketing orientation. Each of these orientations represents the evolution of modern marketing and could be viewed as a sub-disciple within marketing. The finding will define and outline how school leaders can see the school and act differently.Methodology The presentation is a conceptual paper based on the extensive literature on marketing, the author’s study of marketing including a Ph.D. on marketing in schools, and has developed and taught the subject ‘Marketing in Education’ in the Educational Administration Master’s program for 20 years.  The literature on marketing and marketing in education is used to support this presentation paper.