September 6, 2013

Mobilize an Army of Students for Your Marketing Channel

Are you constrained by tight budgets?
Are your marketing channels inadequate?
Have you ever thought about the power students have to implement a marketing program?

Students are great source of getting your marketing plan into action. Not only are they enthusiastic, they are diligent, creative and resourceful. You may wonder if this concept would be favored by educators and schools. This idea provides students with an opportunity to learn how ‘real world’ planning and implementation takes place. Given the opportunity they get to learn and the exposure they obtain to potential employers is a strong point that gains a positive vote from school administrations.

Like using any other channel strategy, you need to make a plan. 
  • You need make a plan and select schools that are best suited to build the program
  • You need to assign a teacher to handle day-to-day operation of the program
  • You need to set aside dollars for your student ‘agency’ to manage and include rewards as a part of the budget.
  • You need to spend time to discus and guide your student agency to support their efforts in implementing the plan.

While using a student group to create, manage and implement your marketing plan, there are few aspects that need to be kept in mind:
  • Give yourself at least six months to draft a plan and select the best suited schools.
  • Set aside at a month to communicate your concept to schools you plan on working with. It is important that you have strong support from teachers and administrators.
  • Ensure the teacher assigned to manage your program is committed and is driven to ensure a successful outcome.
  • Keep your student agency in the loop from the beginning. Treat them as you treat a professional agency. 
  • During implementation, it will be productive to measure the performance of the student agency and provide constructive feedback and guidance to help them perform better.
  • Make sure to acknowledge and reward students and teachers who are actively involved and providing positive results.
  • Get your management involved to reward participants with recognition letters and certificates.

By keeping these aspects in mind, it is possible to utilize a group of students to implement your marketing plan. The end result is that, in a few hundred dollars and little time on management, you have a rocking plan and an effective and low-cost marketing channel.

Let students get a feel of the real world
Mobilize them to build your ‘agency’

September 4, 2013

How to Implement Pilot Products to Drive Referral K-12 Sales

Introducing a product in the education market is a challenge, especially with tight budgets and changing landscape in the education industry. 

  • So, how do you ensure your pilot product is accepted? 
  • How do you ensure it is suitable for a school or district?
  • How do you ensure you achieve satisfaction, loyalty and referrals?

These challenges were discussed by Glen McCandless on BlogTalkRadio with Farimah Schuerman and Mitch Weisburgh, Partners in Academic Business Advisors.

1. What Preparations are required before launching a product?

  • The product has to be ready to use and implement. The company has to be confident that the product will work, is safe and effective.
  • A defined market penetration plan needs to be prepared. Before launching a product, a defined plan should be set as to which market you would like to target. Those schools need to be selected which will have a good impact from implementation of your product or service. You need to consider whether the school is stable and if the district is functional to avoid challenges in the future. Selection could also be done based on geography and profile of schools suitable to your products or service.

There are 2 types of pilot products:

a. A start up pilot product – This kind of product implementation s is usually in the early adoptive stage and is accepted by schools willing to take the risk of implementing a new product. When launching a product at such a stage, it is important to set expectations in the beginning and provide strong service and support. At this time, it’s not about profits, its more about gaining satisfaction, building loyalty and gaining referrals.

b. A trial product – Many schools / districts like to try out product before completely adopting or implementing it. At this stage it best to align product implementation with the school.

2. How is social media used to leverage successful pilot launches

In order for a product launch to be successful, what needs to be done is to:
  • Understand the problem
  • Identify the implications of the problem
  • Get to know what the school did before your product / service was introduced
  • How your product solved or will solve the problem
  • What were the results – whether in terms of student achievement, teacher performance or cost savings

Once you find this information, you can create a story that can be shared in the market place through social media channels. This will help in showcasing how your products / service benefited the school and the problem that it solved. This success story can be distributed across channels through your website, blog, twitter or through video testimonials.

An important aspect to consider is that social media activity in a company should not be considered as a marketing task. Instead it should be assigned to someone who need not necessarily be a marketing person, it could be someone who is just comfortable using social channels. This will help in making social media interaction natural and not as forced communication.

With too many pilot products being introduced and implemented, companies need to ensure they are prepared, that they have defined goals, set expectations, relevant selection criteria and reliable service and support. This will help them establish a strong relationship with schools and districts, and will help in creating loyalty, referrals and sales.

September 3, 2013

How the Internet Has Changed the Education Industry

Whether it is the way students learn and find information, or whether it is the way teachers teach and provide information, the internet has definitely changed the landscape of the education industry. Consider this:
  • 90% of teachers are using social media in course they are teaching
  • 20% of teachers assign students to post or comment on social media sites
  • 32% of students are taking a course online in higher education
  • 93% of students get information online rather than search in a library
  • 85% of offices use social media for college admissions 
  • 8 out of 10 teachers use online videos in classrooms

The internet has changed the way students learn, teachers teach and colleges buy.
It’s time marketers get online and tap into various channels

September 1, 2013

Capitalize on the $7 Trillion Education Industry

The education industry has evolved to adopt technology-enabled solutions that are customized to each student. Here are stats that validate the fact that the $7 trillion education industry is an opportunity marketers cannot miss:
  • Online learning enrollment has grown by 17% versus higher education enrollment.
  • Teachers are utilizing and accepting online learning tools. 
            95% of teachers feel that they engage students more than traditional methods. 
            93% of teachers feel that they improve overall performance of students.
  • Cost saving – By going digital, online tools and eLearning saves cost by 40% as compared to the investment in instructor-led training. The cost of 1 hour of instruction for 100 students is:
          $9,500 through eLearning
          $17,000 through instructor-led training
  • There is an increase in use of combined teaching method of classroom instruction and online tools. The projected growth of combined learning solutions is by 47% in 2014 and 98% by 2020.


Contribute to the growth of a seamless learning environment

August 30, 2013

Is Your Education Database Up to Date?

  • Administrators in the district change every minute,
  • Teachers change jobs and roles every month,
  • A new school opens every month,
  • A school shuts down every year.

Are you up to date with this information?

Every new detail of information you add to your database will increase the chances of improving your connection with your market.

Analytics and decision making heavily rely on data, and it will have a huge impact on business if it is not updated or accurate. Data appending is what ensures that the length, depth and breadth of your data to facilitate conversion and increase in revenues. By not appending your database regularly, it invariably results in hard bounce emails and cold leads.

We are sure you do not use just tele-calling to reach your prospects. You would also rely on email marketing, social media marketing and traditional, direct marketing. For that, we understand you require complete contact details for each contact on your database. Contact details which are updated, credible and relevant.

For those marketers who use a multi-channel approach
Optimize your existing database

August 29, 2013

Be Active on Social Media to Connect with Education Experts

“78 percent of Internet users look online for information about a service or product they are thinking of buying”, according to the Pew Research Center. 

Like everyone, even educators go online to find information about educational products. They read digital publications and are active on social networking sites. There is an emerging trend of ‘edu-bloggers’ who write personal blogs and about their experience and interactions with education marketing companies and the use of products. 

This group of education experts, education technologists and passionate teachers are nowadays actively blogging, podcasting and conducting webinars. 

Why you need to connect with this group?
  • These social communities provide a huge opportunity to communicate, interact and listen to this strategic group of decision makers.
  • Educators are more likely to buy products that are recommended by other educators about those organizations that understand and support their needs.
  • This is a good avenue to build public relations and gain brand visibility through word-of-mouth advertising.

You need to observe online conversations
You need to share product information through various channels
You need to participate and connect with you audience through social media
If you want your brand voice to be heard by education decision makers.

At K12 Lists, we have social media information of exclusive contacts in the education industry.

August 28, 2013

PTAs & PTOs – School Buying Decisions Are Influenced by Parents. Connect With Them!

Even been to a school bake sale lately?

These enthusiast groups of parents play more than just a role of distributing cookies. They now are strong influencers in the decisions schools make and in the development of education marketing plans.

The responsibility of decision making which was once reserved for paid staff of administrators and teachers is now taken over by parents. Dollars spent by schools on education and teaching material are now predominantly decided by parent groups such as Parent Teachers Associations and Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO).

Why you need to engage and connect with PTAs and PTOs?

Consider this:
  • Most of 80,000+ K-8 schools in the US have a parent group in form or the other.
  • 77% of these K-8 groups are independent PTOs working at schools their kids are enrolled in.
  • Approximately $2 billion is amount they generate yearly mainly from fundraising events, donations and auctions at schools. 
  • And this $2 billion is spent on school equipment, curriculum material and education software. 

This is a huge opportunity for education marketers and connecting with this group influencers in the education market is as important as targeting administrators and educators.

So, How to Sell to PTAs and PTOs?

When selling to PTAs and PTOs, marketers need to have a slightly different approach.
  • The product should be lower priced than those sold to school administrations.
  • There should be a commitment to providing support in order to make selling easier and profitable.
  • The products should be designed such that it’s easily consumable and is made for frequent purchase.
The important aspect in selling to PTS and PTOs is to address a pain-point and provide a solution. Marketers can easily generate sales from schools provided they have a relevant products and a well defined marketing and support plan. 

Make parent groups as an ally
Provide valuable resources
Make them look good in their community
And they will more likely promote your marketing messages