October 8, 2010 / Marketing

The yearbook marketing beat goes on

Written by Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Let a student marketing manager beat the yearbook drum all year to keep yearbooks on the minds of students and parents.

Your yearbook staff should be hard at work covering events, taking photos and designing spreads. As a student publication, it is right that they should be the people creating the book. The same goes for marketing your yearbook – as a student publication, the students should be in charge of marketing and sales.

That is one reason to have a student as the marketing manager. Another reason is in most schools, it is getting harder to sell yearbooks. With the current economic environment, marketing yearbooks is now a year-round job. And just like advisers do not have time to be the editor-in-chief of the yearbook, they do not have time to be in charge of the marketing tasks.

Even if your staff made a big effort at the beginning of the school year to sell your yearbook, and you sold a lot of them, marketing cannot stop there. If you have not used a marketing manager to lead your marketing and sales efforts before, consider finding one now to take charge so both yearbook creation and marketing can continue uninterrupted.

A marketing manager plans ways to sell more yearbooks, and ads and options if your staff sells them. These campaigns also should increase awareness of the yearbook and make it appear valuable in the eyes of students, faculty, parents and the community.

“Our adviser had to do a lot more with the yearbook. So, while she was spending time on that, I was able to do the business aspect of it,” Jeremy Eiler, marketing manager and business manager of the yearbook at Corydon Central High School in Corydon, Ind., said of the previous school year.

Eiler, a 2011 senior, is serving in the same positions this year. He increased sales last year, and spent part of his summer making plans for marketing the yearbook this year. One new tactic is to let students see how many times they will be in the yearbook.

“I will be generating the index as pages get done and I will post the index on our school site and around school so kids who might not think they are in there actually are. That should increase sales a lot because kids will wonder what they are doing on that page. They will not have access to see it unless they buy a yearbook,” Eiler said.

Eiler also planned to use incremental pricing and inform everyone to buy before the price goes up again.

Some advisers are using a marketing manager for the first time for the 2011 school year. Kim Praser, adviser at Thornton Fractional South High School in Lansing, Ill., said her student manager and marketing team will not only promote the yearbook and ads, but all other aspects including picture-taking days and sneak peeks of the book, with the goal of getting students, parents, school staff and community members talking about it.

If you do not have a marketing manager now but think it sounds like a good idea, you can recruit one from your current staff, the marketing or business classes, or even run an ad in the daily announcements seeking one. Find a student up to the challenge, and you can increase your chances of increasing yearbook sales.

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Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Elizabeth Braden, CJE, is the former editor of Idea File magazine. Before retiring, she was a copywriter for Walsworth Yearbooks for more than 15 years, writing articles for various marketing materials, and proofreading copy for the Yearbook and Commercial divisions. Her career included reporting and editing for United Press International and editing for Knight-Ridder Financial News. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Media News from the University of Tulsa.