Why Is Education Such A Tough Nut to Crack?
It’s the familiar story of an edtech team with a genuinely valuable, reasonably priced product. It sounds good but their marketing campaigns are falling flat, they’re struggling to generate leads, brand awareness is an ongoing problem and there’s a distinct lack of buzz surrounding the product.
Education is considered a particularly tough market because companies often struggle with marketing and sales. What’s going wrong? Consider the following statements:
Educators are busy. Ok. We all know that much.
Educators are lovely people who care deeply about their students. Sure but a motivational quote or sentimental GIF isn’t elevating anyone above the crowd.
We help educators personalise learning to the needs of every student. Said almost every edtech company ever. Why should I listen to yours?
In contrast, the best edtechs are pedagogically informed, clued up on educational research and have a good handle on policy. They can discuss Hattie’s impact studies with confidence and understand why Coe thinks that engagement can be a poor proxy for learning. They also know why this stuff really matters when pitching to the senior leadership team.
The answer lies in credibility. To successfully engage educators, we must first develop trust and confidence. We want to develop credibility through pedagogically informed campaigns, research-based sales pitches and community engagement that raises eyebrows for the right reasons. We want to earn educators’ respect by speaking their language.
The best edtechs know how to create campaigns that people care about, find PR opportunities to get the product noticed and talk about learning from the perspective of someone who understands and cares about it deeply. They know why university academics feel strongly about TEF and why secondary educators chuckle at the mention of VAK.
The best edtechs ‘talk teacher’ and even understand the many associated acronyms – AFL, VLE, PAL, HOD, AHT, CPD, OFFA, HESA, MAT – so they can follow a live Tweetchat, tailor editorial content, refine messaging and promote their events to the right people. With in-depth knowledge of their customer personas, they invest considerable time learning about their needs, wishes, hangouts, concerns and anxieties so they can understand how to help.
I’ve worked with some of the best, most exciting edtechs in the space for nearly three years and have worked in schools, colleges and universities for nearly nine. I’ve experienced both sides of your sales pitch, webinar or product demo and know what’s effective. I’ve realised that the most successful companies – shout out to Satchel – understand educators deeply and inspire brand advocacy. I point to this example because I’ve never worked with Satchel (nor have I used their products) but the reason for their quick rise to success is patently clear: they’re educationally credible and everyone knows it.
Even when budgets are tight, there are countless successful edtech companies bringing valuable products to their end users and spreading the word to the people who matter: staff and students.
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