Classrooms have changed – so should your approach to marketing

Are you still licking stamps and sending flyers to schools?

Traditional methods of selling to schools are based upon the push marketing model which is the way it has been done since Adam was a boy.

Push marketing is defined as a promotional strategy in which a business attempts to get their message in front of their potential customers without them having a desire or interest to buy the product or learn more about it. Push marketing requires a lot of reach and can be considered to be ‘interruptive’. Push marketing may be suitable for products such as school lockers, grounds equipment and services, trolleys, sports equipment and the like.

Pull marketing on the other hand requires a much higher level of engagement. A better informed market is demand driven and will let suppliers know when they are ready to buy rather than the other way around which was traditionally the case. Products such as web based learning (WBL) and development tools would use pull marketing methods to engage with their audience.

The new buzz Engagement Marketing is a strategy that directly engages consumers and invites and encourages teachers to participate. Rather than looking at consumers as passive receivers of messages, engagement marketers believe that consumers should be actively involved in the development of the solution and have “buy-in” to the way it is marketed and engages with other educators ie a high level relationship with the brand.

Why has this shift in focus occurred?

Technology has changed the way school suppliers engage with the education market. We have witnessed the emergence of a better informed more savvy audience who have an opinion – many of whom are A-ZGovBIZ customers.

Educators share opinions, thoughts and ideas via chat rooms, forums, collaboration platforms and social media spaces. There are maths chat rooms and chat rooms for science, astronomy, english, music and more. Forums such as Yelp, Teachers Net, Education World, Amazon and LinkedIn are forcing suppliers to become more transparent and listen to what teachers want – not the other way around.

According to education chat platform Education World “Web-based chat platforms have been around for years, but are gaining a new foothold in classrooms as educators look for ways to incorporate technology into the curriculum.”

Marketing experts such as 5MetaComm in Indiana advise before you commence your marketing engagement you should source a good marketing list. The list should contain contact names as well as email and phone numbers. Select a list of the correct contact names and job descriptions of key decision makers; be they school IT Managers or school Principals. Do not underestimate the importance of a quality database if you are serious about building prospects.

Social media site LinkedIn is being used by teachers and principals more than ever before. As with other social media, LinkedIn is about connecting with another human, not with organisations. This person to person relationship is of utmost importance and will open doors you hadn’t thought possible.” See related story.

You can contact school mailing list suppliers or go through a list-broker. But if you go this route, be careful to choose reputable ones because the best direct mail piece will fail if it doesn’t reach the mailboxes of the properly targeted recipients. Contact A-ZGovBIZ for contact details of reputable list brokers.

Depending on your goal (bringing in new customers or enticing a regular client for additional business), you are likely to have an adequate in-house source at your fingertips: your own well-maintained customer database. Use it, but only after carefully updating it.

Consider augmenting your list with a bought-in list. List suppliers will remove the existing schools on your database from their list so you save by only paying for new contacts.

The A-ZGovBIZ approach to building marketing lists of school decision makers is to supply the highest possible quality list at a realistic price. School suppliers can use A-ZGovBIZ education lists to build multi-channel marketing programs that are appropriate to the type of products and budget available.

Our lists are fully personalised with first and last name which is critical when navigating the crowded education market space. According to UK marketing leader Yeomans it is critical that your promotions are personalised.
Speak to us about the education lists we have available:
TAFE and Universities
Education and Department /Authorities

Michael Bleakley is a journalist, communicator and marketing professional of 25 years. His career began in his early 20’s publishing tech magazines for education. Michael’s career then moved into online and book publishing for a global business publisher, then finally into database publishing and marketing at A-ZGovBIZ.

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