Authentic Marketing 101 for K-12 Publishers

Teachers have long been savvy consumers of educational products.

They can spot marketing jargon and marketers from 100 feet away, and do what they can to avoid both.

K-12 educators don’t generally have a lot of brand allegiance. Their primary concern is  – does the product work in the classroom?

Given that educators are particularly resistant to marketing, how should educational publishers begin the marketing and sales process?

Just like most other consumers, teachers want authenticity with their vendors. First and foremost, publishers need to respect teachers. That has not always been the case and educators know when they’re being patronized or manipulated.

Secondly, educators want publishers to understand what they’re selling –  the pedagogy and learning standards that the product supports.

Thirdly, most educators or schools want to see proof that other educators and schools have used the product successfully before committing to a purchase.

To authentically engage educators, publishers and technology companies need to:

  • Make product and research information freely available on their websites so that educators can easily find and evaluate without commitment.
  • Create a social media stream for educators to investigate and share information with each other.
  • Feature case studies that highlight product success in real classrooms – remembering that this is the truest test for educators.
  • Use videos to spotlight educators using the product successfully because above anything else, educators value the opinions of other educators.
  • Provide professional development opportunities that support teachers in their use of the product to meet the standards they are held to.
  • Ensure that your implementation and tech support are rock solid and respect the needs of educators and users after the sale.

Trust is an essential ingredient in marketing to educators. Treat them with respect and provide the information they need to make informed decisions.

This is the best way to be authentic.

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