It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic uprooted industries across the board, forcing businesses to rethink their marketing plans and quickly shift strategies. For EdTech marketers, in particular, looking to stake a claim in a newly booming industry, the new wave of demand for effective, remote learning and education solutions opened up a hallway of doors. However, with opportunity comes its own set of challenges. For one, the mix of education buyers and influencers is extremely broad and diverse, making it more complex to market to them. As a result, a marketer’s job gets a little more complicated.
To ensure a successful strategy, marketers must craft consistent messaging that addresses each audience’s specific pain points. After all, there is no “one-size-fits-all” marketing strategy for reaching different buyers and influencers with differing motivations and needs. Here’s a breakdown of what matters and how to reach the key EdTech decision makers.
The Wallet Holders: The School Board
This audience is playing a numbers game. They want to know how much your solution costs, how it compares to others on the market, and why it’s worth investing their already limited dollars. While school boards do hold decision-making power, marketers must understand two key points. Many school boards must ensure that their spending aligns with their district priorities and learning objectives. Secondly, school board members can’t always afford the hottest tech device or software solution, and often board members have little tech knowledge, hampering their ability to make informed tech decisions.
For EdTech startups, develop a strategy that helps to validate your story with business or other higher-tier media. This is where you want to tout your company’s growth and momentum, or any case studies and success stories with an ROI message. If you are a startup, buyers want to know your solution will be available for years to come. This should not make up most of the content you produce but should remain a critical part of your content strategy with press releases and op-eds to back it up.
The Main Points of Contact: Administrators & IT
IT influencers will be the ones that read articles about your solution or product, conduct the research, and be on the lookout 24/7 for the next, most effective solution for their school. Develop a storyline that addresses how your solution handles key concerns such as scalability, data security, and student privacy. Do this by inserting technical messaging into your content that speaks to the minds of IT. They are looking for tangible, technological evidence that your solution is as secure as you claim it to be.
In addition to reaching the IT buyer, you’ll also need to win over both the school system at large and local administrators, such as superintendents, Chief Academic Officers, and principals. They are less tech-savvy and won’t be reading the same news outlets or care about the same information as their IT counterparts. Instead, hone in on your education message and where your EdTech tools are more efficient and provide better results than current practices or solutions they might have in place. This person wants to know how you’re going to better the lives of their students and teachers, but most importantly, how they will get the school board to write the check.
The Users: Teachers, Administrative Staff, Parents & Students
While they may not hold the purse strings, these groups are decision influencers, so take time to communicate with these audiences. There are benefits to addressing this group, as they are the ones who will be using your technology day in and day out. Their overall feedback to the other decision-makers may impact whether or not your EdTech solution becomes a critical, ongoing part of a school curriculum or gets tossed to the curb.
According to a survey conducted by the Nevada State Education Association, half of the teachers polled are considering leaving the profession partially because they’re overworked. Of the respondents, 75 percent said they don’t have enough time to prepare for their jobs during the workday.
When developing content, ask yourself: Is this content helpful? For example, when writing a blog post, taking into consideration whether or not this information will address their most common concerns and frequently asked questions. Teachers will need help with learning how to implement the solution; parents will want to know that their kids' privacy is safe, and students might be trying to navigate how to use this tool to learn. Address their concerns directly on your website and on social media to keep those lines of communication open and show them that you care.
By elevating your brand in the evolving EdTech space, engaging with a mix of education buyers and influencers who help shape the future of education will help you inspire today’s educators through your vision for tomorrow’s learners. With the right approach, companies can get through the fragmentation barrier and get buy-in from the right people at the right time.
Want more information on how to craft your EdTech marketing messaging to reach more potential customers? Download our EdTech Marketing & Communications Guide or contact Suzanne Block to discuss more.