Education Marketing…Is It Really That Different?

Good marketing is, well, good marketing. But just like any other B2B or B2C niche, there’s a whole ecosystem of buyers, influencers, users, and champions. One message, one promotion, one campaign simply doesn’t fit “education”.

Whether you’re just launching your products and programs into the education market or looking to upgrade and refresh your current education marketing initiatives, here are some new things to think about, think through and then apply to your strategic and tactical plans:

  1. Who and Where are YOUR Educators?

Already have education customers? When is the last time you did an in-depth profile? Targeting in email, social, and other media channels works best when you reach prospects whose characteristics mirror those of your customers. Small town or rural? Urban or suburban? New to the profession or a veteran teacher? Principal or department chair? You get the picture but customizing messaging, offers, and product mix will make a difference in results.

  1. Who Influences Who?

Collaboration and consensus are facts of life in the education market. Teachers often ask librarians to purchase specific resources. Principals may not purchase unless their teaching staff is on board. Administrators want buy-in from principals. The decision-making unit is alive, well and fluid in most districts and schools. For marketers, that means reaching in, through and around the influencers and purchasers to get to YES!

  1. Prove It!

Does your product boost student achievement? Does it increase teacher satisfaction or retention? Does it save time, money or both? Educators are held accountable for their work and they hold their vendor partners accountable as well. Case studies, testimonials, data outcomes, reliable information about time or cost savings…all these help move an educator from prospect to potential.

  1. When in Doubt…Ask an Educator or Several Educators.

Two years ago, if you asked educators about evolving priorities, you would have heard all about their interest in STEM and STEAM programs. Fast forward 24 months, and the acronym SEL is at the tip of curriculum leaders’ tongues and they have specific SEL instructional and resource priorities they’re working to address.

  1. The Marketing Mix Matters

It’s just not enough to ask who and where your slice(s) of the education market are. What channels in print and digital media do they trust? Who are their “influencers” and “thought leaders"? What associations do they belong to, and which conferences do they attend? What’s the last “new” product or program they purchased? While we’re focused on moving educators through the marketing funnel and pushing out relevant content, knowing how, when, where, and why they’re buying and what they’re looking to buy are the real drivers of any marketing or promotion plan.

To dig deeper into your education market opportunities and challenges and build programs that deliver, let’s connect!

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