A New Conversation

First published June 2, 2008

One of the current strategies for K-12 education is differentiated instruction. Differentiation has always been a marketing strategy for businesses. Customers and prospects ask, "how are you different from your competitors and why should I care?"

How companies answered those questions has changed over time, however, the one-way nature of the communication has now been significantly altered by social media. Some companies have embraced the change and others have been sitting out and waiting either to understand the landscape better or to wait for it to change again. Well, it's time to jump in because the genie is out of the bottle and it's not going back in. Consumers in every industry (some more than others) have seized upon social media and new technology tools to share their opinions, create their own content, network with and find each other – talking about your products whether you participate or not.

If you think you are in charge of your brand or your messaging, think again. The traditional arc of brand marketing has been replaced with conversation. You can observe it or you can participate in it and try to direct it, but it's here to stay and does affect your company.

Those of us who have spent our careers in K-12 publishing know that the number one way educators get product information that they trust is from other educators. Social media tools have given educators and all other customers tools to facilitate those recommendations. One of the fastest growing and most impactful tools that K-12 publishers can adopt is a company blog. Because a blog's interactive format usually encourages feedback through the comments section, companies can develop an energetic conversation with their own customers. Smart companies listen to what their customers and prospects tell them and change their strategies accordingly.

Teich Talk will explore what this changing landscape means to educational publishers. Read why corporate blogs are important to educational publishers or visit some of the other educational publishing articles posted on this site if you are new to social media and want to get some background quickly. Our focus will be on conversational marketing – what it is, how your customers, prospects and competitors are using it, and how it is changing the landscape of all business, not just educational publishing.

So, how do you follow or participate? I invite you to subscribe to the RSS feed or visit here regularly as we explore how to integrate social media into your strategic sales and marketing plans. Join the conversation. Leave a comment and tell me what you are most curious about. Let's get started.

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