Our Kids
Glen Herbert - Editor

James Shi
Lecturer, Our Kids Media

May, 2022

As a marketer, I was taught to define my ideal target market through a top-down approach:

  1. Start with a population (e.g., everyone in your city)
  2. Segment using a combination of demographic filters, such as age (e.g., 28-45) family status (e.g., has at least one school-aged child), income, and location

While this method worked for many non-school businesses, it was too costly for independent school marketing.


According to StatCan, only around 7.6% of Canadian K-12 students attend an independent school. That’s less than 1% of the entire population. Assuming you absolutely nail your demographic targeting down to 10% of the population, you’re still wasting your marketing budget on around 90% of your target audience.

Your true target audience is minuscule and difficult to target cost-effectively using the top-down approach.

However, unique to the school’s industry, your prospective families are extremely motivated to seek out information. In Key #2 of our School ROI Handbook, we talked about how families choose schools through “extended problem-solving”—a drawn-out “consideration phase” where they undertake a series of predictable actions in very unpredictable orders.

If you can pinpoint the specific actions your prospective families will likely take, and where they’re taking them, then you can influence them cost-effectively.

Some actions will happen directly on your owned channels such as looking for curriculum information on your website. However, most of the actions, such as comparing their options or reading or listening to testimonials from a past alum or parent, consuming content from third-party sources, take place outside of your owned channels. Platforms like Our Kids enables families to perform these important actions throughout the decision-making journey, filtering and capturing the most interested families from the rest.

To learn more about the behaviour of your most qualified families, please take a look at the School ROI Handbook. If you have any questions or ideas you’d like to share, please feel free to reach out to me by replying to this email.

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