It Never Hurts to Ask…But It Might Hurt if You Don’t

Educator Voice & Market Planning

It’s officially planning time for education marketers as we all look to turn up the volume for the January – April sales season. And while it’s always valuable to look at the performance metrics of your promotions and campaigns from this year’s back to school and fall programs, there might be more to the story than just those “historic” metrics. We think when you’re driving, it’s always good to check the rear view mirror before switching lanes, but even more important to look forward so you can inject some strategic thinking about what’s ahead.

So, as you’re planning your education market programs, it’s a good idea to gather educators’ insights and projections about what’s ahead for the rest of the school year and what’s changing in their planning for the start of the 2019-20 school year. Here are some concrete steps to consider as you’re building and perhaps finalizing your spring education sales and marketing programs:

  • What’s Changed Since School Started This Year?
    Enrollment up or down? New courses added to the master schedule for next school year? Grants won? New initiatives for SEL, community engagement or CTE started? This is just the tip of the iceberg and these and more, are questions worth asking your current and prospective education customers. Their answers could impact your sales and marketing programs in subtle or much bigger ways.
  • Personas Evolving?
    That history teacher who also coaches school athletics could now be a department chair, or member of a curriculum review committee, or involved in building an internship program for students. The principal who is concentrating resources on boosting core reading and math skills may also be looking for ways to involve and engage families. And that technology director who worked so hard to provide more access to students and teachers may now be leading the district’s cyber security and data privacy initiatives as priority #1. Short answer. Every educator’s role, responsibilities and priorities change and without qualitative and quantitative research, you may miss the opportunities those changes create.
  • That’s So Yesterday…Or Is It?
    Are the educators you serve and sell to adding new social media channels to their digital lives? Are they leaving channels behind? What’s changing in their use of email or other platforms? What new professional publications, channels or sources are they using now that they didn’t use a year ago? Your campaign analytics give you part of the picture, but they don’t tell you what might be next or worth testing now.
  • Knock, Knock…It’s the Competitive Landscape Calling
    It’s always a risk to think that your competitive landscape hasn’t changed much. But it’s really important to include educators’ voice here…because they’ll tell you about new products and solutions they’ve just seen and they’ll also tell you what they wish they could try or purchase. And if you probe a little, you might just find out where they learned about those products and that could (or perhaps should…) give you some new things to think about as you build your campaign plans for the next several months.

If you’re curious about integrating authentic educator voices into your marketing audits and plans, let’s explore some options together.

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