Get Ahead of the Game- Build Your Awareness Now!
August 28, 2019 Michael Campbell
With over 15,000 educational service providers vying for attention in the marketplace, it is more important than ever to focus your services and products on the appropriate decision-makers. In the past, many EDU marketers have taken a “shotgun” approach to their marketing campaigns.
Today, most district and school purchasing decisions are made by groups of key stakeholders. This means that targeting one job title in a district won't work, even if that specific job title is ultimately the one who approves purchase orders. When it comes to marketing to educators, marketers need to understand who the players are, (especially the decision-makers) find a champion, and learn how their buying cycle works when it comes to purchasing teaching materials.
Understanding the buying cycle for educators helps you engage potential and current customers with the right amount of information at the right time, allowing your marketing message to cut through the noise of the marketplace and provide deliver the right amount of information at the right time in the decision-making cycle. Most educational marketing professionals have divided the calendar into four key strategic stages:
The “dating season” has just begun with back-to-school, even though classes have just begun and many are starting new solutions and products. At this point, many schools and districts are setting goals and assessing needs for the next school year. This is the time to get on their radar by creating awareness of products or services. Content marketing is important in the fall with blogs, webinars, and targeted email campaigns. Without building your awareness you miss out on building the relationship that is important to address the needs of your customers.
As the school year progresses, companies see additional opportunities for trial and RFP proposals. If you are looking for trials, we encourage clients to propose a strategic plan that encourages trial participants to provide input and provide “skin in the game” in order to build value for your service or product. Educators are looking at the needs they identified in the “dating season” or building awareness; building lead initiatives like webinars, free educational resources, or Lunch and Learns are great opportunities to engage your customers.
The majority of schools will finalize their budgets from April through June. This is closing time! Give educators the info they need to validate their purchase decision. You’ll need to offer demos or free trials of your product, customer case studies, white papers, and webinars that discuss implementation.
With the outline of the school buying cycle down pat, now you need to focus on who you will be marketing to and the best channel to reach your targets. Our team at Forward Thinking EDU can help you determine strategically the best way to reach your customers and to drive a lead generation pipeline that leads to results. Contact us to discuss your needs.