Adviser Spotlight: Master Marketing with Matt LaPorte

Jostens Advisers & Staff

Matthew LaPorte, Southwest Career and Technical Academy [NV]
Matthew has been advising the Southwest Shadow Online New Site and The Howl Yearbook at Southwest Career and Technical Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada for over nine years. He was recognized in 2015 as a JEA Rising Star.


There is nothing better than hearing…

“HEY! Why did they get candy and not me?”
“Well. They bought a book. You did not.”

This student has just made it very easy for you to have a public conversation about the yearbook. And all you had to do to start it was distribute suckers. Those that are overhearing or learning about why some students got suckers and others did not are intrigued—and listening.

This is important. You likely have a yearbook price increase in the near future. People need to know about it, but making that message fun will generate more sales. You would be surprised by the power of a single sucker used as a reward or as a marketing strategy. A sucker wrapped in When, How Much and Where to Buy information is both delicious and informative.

You do not have to be constrained by the idea of candy— There are several online vendors that have the answer to all your inexpensive mass-quantity marketing needs. The joy of a sticky hand or candy bracelet are not lost on high school students. Trinkets are still fun long after kids have grown into teens. Students will want to be included when you hand out items for those who bought a book. And it’s up to you to document how your student body reacts.

Keep a Google Spreadsheet open for your staff to input tidbits they hear.

Did John Doe express his misfortune in not buying a book early enough so that he received a candy necklace? Awesome. Promise to hold an extra if he buys by the end of the week. Did Jane Doe look bummed because none of the items were not vegan friendly? Good note to keep for next time.

And if you are really willing to go the extra mile, consider designing a yearbook-themed temporary tattoo to hand out. Make it graphically exciting and fun. Or run a contest to allow students to submit design ideas and then vote on the winner as a staff.

Wearable art. Cool.

About the guide

The goal of this guide is to help you market your yearbook in the best way possible to ensure that you are selling every copy of your book by the last day of school. As an adviser for the last nine years, my personal goal for my students has been to sell books as quickly and efficiently as possible. For the past four years, we have sold out by the end of the first month of school.

Many of these are actual ideas and strategies my staff has implemented, or they are ideas that I wish they would try to implement. Other ideas were supplied to me by fellow advisers’ staffs that have had huge success marketing their respective publications.

Interested in learning more about the YRBK Adviser Guide?