A leading publisher of religious curriculum materials needed help gathering customer feedback in preparation for a complete redesign of a basal program for parish religious education programs. MMS Education planned, organized, and implemented a series of “blind” product evaluations. These evaluations were conducted with religious directors of education in multiple locations throughout the country. The feedback and information from MMS Education’s in-depth evaluations, delivered as a presentation to the company as well as in a complete report, provided the publisher with the information needed to complete their product redesign and launch.
Pleased with the results and quality of the research team at MMS Education, the publisher again turned to MMS Education to help with the research for their next product redesign. By working with the publisher’s editorial and marketing teams, MMS developed the strategy, methodology, and plan for the research. MMS managed the project on a turnkey basis by developing and designing the discussion guides for telephone interviews, recruiting all participants, developing and deploying an online survey, gathering and analyzing the data, presenting the key findings and issuing the final report. Through a combination of qualitative and quantitative research, MMS Education provided information on the changing market and the needs of the customer, giving the client the information they needed to shape their next round of research.
Market Research Project Profile: Assessment Provider
A prominent assessment publisher needed to project—with more accuracy—the demand for its products. In addition, the company needed insight into market opportunities to ensure that its products were on target. Looking for answers, they turned to MMS Education.
We developed a customized set of surveys, screened prospects, and conducted a combination of online and telephone surveys with district- and building-level administrators. We determined what assessments they had used, their level of satisfaction with those assessments, and their future needs. After compiling the data, we analyzed the results and presented the client with a concise report indicating where market opportunities existed and where they would be in the near future. The client used this information to formulate a strategy for revising its existing projects as well as its plans for future formative assessments.
MMS Education marketed FORTUNE Magazine for Time, Inc., through the FORTUNE Education Program. The program provided college students low-cost subscriptions to FORTUNE Magazine, plus resource materials for professors to help them use the magazine in their business classes. We developed popular teaching resources such as the FORTUNE Preview Guide and quizzes based on magazine content as well as online resources to help professors present business information to their students in a timely, engaging manner.
We developed a targeted email marketing program that delivers FORTUNE magazine samples to participating professors as each semester begins. Combined with precisely timed follow-up based on varying college start dates, this program was successful in retaining a high rate of participating professors each semester. Year after year, we grew the number of subscriptions, the number of new orders, and total program revenue.
In order to expedite an early subscription start for students, we also handled online data entry into Time’s subscription fulfillment system. We were one of only a few vendors permitted to access that system. Our dedicated team managed both the marketing and sales initiatives in higher education and customer service designed to deliver a seamless experience for professors.
Action for Healthy Kids is a school wellness organization that helps lead the fight against the epidemic of overweight, undernourished, and sedentary youth by focusing on changes at school. The organization involves a network of 51 state-level teams representing thousands of volunteers, supported by a national coordinating group and guided by 60 national organizations and government agencies. Together, they all work to improve kids’ wellness nationwide—but the organization needed a way to capture and share the learning from (and impact of) this effort.
We developed a solution: a series of Field Reports with highly readable stories about what teams are doing at the school building, district, community, and state levels. Each Field Report portrays specific strategies, approaches, and lessons learned by those working on the front lines to improve the student nutrition and physical activity environment that can promote learning.
The audience for the Field Reports? Action for Healthy Kids team members and funders, educators, public health advocates, the media, and anyone interested in these issues. All reports are available at ActionForHealthyKids.org.
Field Reports include:
- Lessons for Engaging Diverse Communities to Create Healthy Schools and Kids
- Beyond the School Day: Using After-School as Part of a Wellness Program
- Ideas, Commitment, Action, Results: Model Projects Advancing the Cause of School Wellness
- From the Top Down: Engaging School Leaders in Creating a Healthier, More Physically Active School Environment
- Giving Kids the Voice of Authority: Engaging Students in the Fight Against Childhood Obesity
- Tapping Into the Power: Engaging Parents in the Fight Against Childhood Obesity
When Disney Educational Productions wanted to transition from selling its educational products through a national catalog distributor to a dedicated, direct sales force focused on selling to schools, they turned to MMS Education.
Since 1994, we have been managing an inside sales force for Disney, with an experienced sales team dedicated exclusively to selling Disney educational DVDs, books, digital rights, and broadcasting rights to K–12 schools, public libraries, and service industries across the country. Our team includes project management, inside sales representatives, customer service and sales support, monitoring social media sites, and data management. Data management includes order processing, invoicing, billing, and reporting on all sales activities nationwide. In addition, MMS Education provides customer service and sales support for all sales channels including direct sales, distributors, and online customers.
Sales and Support Project Profile: Teaching Strategies, LLC
Teaching Strategies, LLC (TS) was faced with a dilemma. Thanks to the solid reputation it has built since it was founded in 1988 and an increase in funding for early childhood education, business was booming. As a publisher of high-quality early childhood curriculum and assessment materials and a provider of early childhood professional development, TS had also just launched an updated version of its online assessment program and needed to transition current customers to the new version. Because they wanted to transition their talented Direct Response Team to other initiatives, Teaching Strategies needed a partner it could rely on to deliver customer support services to Pre-K teachers —efficiently, effectively, and quickly.
With a proven record of helping a diverse slate of clients make an impact in the education market, MMS Education was the ideal solution. We worked collaboratively with TS to transfer TS’s customer service operations to MMS. Our dedicated team of TS representatives provides customer support services; showcases TS products, programs, and services; drives utilization; processes orders; and keeps the TS name on top of customers’ minds. The team engages and listens to customers, shares specific feedback with TS, and offers ideas to improve the customer experience, many of which TS implements.
One hundred percent of eligible customers were successfully transitioned to the new version of TS’s online assessment program, and customers routinely give TS high marks for efficiency and effectiveness of order processing and customer support. And TS has expanded MMS’s role; our representatives have taken on additional tech support duties to provide a more seamless customer service experience—a true testament to TS’s confidence in MMS’s capabilities.
To learn more, please read our Case Study.
Sales and Sales Support Programs Project Profile: Learning Ally
After updating their name from Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, and enhancing their product and pricing model, Learning Ally (LA) turned to MMS Education to help them re-enter the education market. MMS Education assembled an inside sales team to focus on renewing existing customers and developing new customers in smaller school districts, which allowed Learning Ally’s existing sales team to explore previously untapped markets and open new opportunities for growth. Within a few months, the results were beginning to show, and as Learning Ally’s outside field representatives needed more sales support, the MMS Education inside sales team expanded. MMS was responsible for hiring, training, coaching and managing the inside team while Learning Ally provided ongoing product training and product support. Utilizing Learning Ally’s contact management system, the inside team at MMS and Learning Ally’s outside sales team were able to work collaboratively, effectively, and efficiently.
Sales and Support Project Profile: Capstone Digital’s myON® reader
Capstone Digital develops and supports award-winning, personalized learning environments that empower students to track their reading growth and achieve success across the curriculum. Launched in 2010, Captsone Digital’s newest online program, myON reader, allows students to select books that appeal to them from a digital library of over 3,000 digital books. myON reader has grown very quickly and Capstone Digital needed help supporting their expanding customer base and increasing the utilization of myON reader.
As part of a seamless and coordinated customer support plan, MMS Education begins working with customers after they have received product training and have completed the initial implementation program, both provided by Capstone Digital. The MMS team works with customers to explore issues that may hamper utilization and offers creative and actionable ideas to help teachers utilize myON reader more effectively with their students. When needed the MMS team will escalate issues as well as share sales and support opportunities with Capstone Digital. Whether sharing myON reader’s best practices, the latest product or company news, or resolving Tier 1 technical support issues, MMS Education helps Capstone Digital reach their goals of providing meaningful customer engagement and increasing product utilization.
The Verizon Foundation had a goal to make a difference in the lives of students, teachers, families, and the communities in which they live and work. To do this, they supported the creation of quality educational programs and resources that enabled educators to quickly and easily find information needed to improve student achievement. Through Thinkfinity.org, the foundation provided educators with outstanding, free online educational resources and professional development to help improve student learning and achievement.
Thinkfinity.org was a comprehensive program and online portal to thousands of standards-based, grade-specific K–12 lesson plans, student materials, and other educational resources created in partnership with leading educational organizations. The program combined outstanding content with comprehensive professional development and an online community site.
We provided support for Thinkfinity from 2000–2011, managing an outreach team of coordinators to facilitate the rollout of the Thinkfinity program to educators in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, we handled logistics for training sessions, supported measurement and reporting on the program, initiated a monthly newsletter, and provided customer service for all of the program’s participants.
A group of leading US foundations wanted to address the decline in science scores among middle-school students. Their goal was to get more kids involved in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities through problem solving and community service.
The foundations turned to MMS Education for help. Working together, we created the implementation program for the Christopher Columbus Awards program, a cutting-edge national competition that combines STEM with community problem solving in a real-world setting. Students form teams, identify an issue they care about, and use the scientific method to develop an innovative solution utilizing STEM principles. Over the years, more than 19,000 students and 2,000 adult coaches have taken part in the program, with teams receiving high-level recognition for their work. Several even secured US patents for their ideas.
Since launching the program, we have been responsible for managing all of the education marketing and implementation, from start to finish. One of our responsibilities was to create a guideline booklet for team coaches that explains how the program works and how it correlates with the National Science Education Standards. The booklet provides tips on sparking teamwork and brainstorming among students, suggestions for using scientific methods, and a timeline that guides teams through the research and entry process. We also developed a booklet for students, with entry requirements, a timeline for preparing to enter the competition, and information on protecting intellectual property and applying for patents.
We continue to manage the day-to-day operations of the Christopher Columbus Awards program. We create and fulfill the program’s direct mail marketing, distribute email announcements and updates, update and maintain the program’s website and Facebook page as well as staff the toll-free number to handle all inquiries. We identify and recruit judges for each of three judging panels, process the entries, distribute participant prizes, and plan and coordinate the logistics for the National Championship Week recognition event, held each year in Orlando, Florida.
To better track and manage relationships, programs, and activities in schools nationwide, MMS Education helped Dairy Management Inc. plan, develop, and implement a highly customized online database and customer relationship management (CRM) system.
This proprietary web-based system—School Market Access (SMA)—supports Dairy Management and a network of more than 20 state and regional dairy councils, providing access to real-time data in nearly 13,000 school districts and 100,000 school buildings in the United States.
In addition to a wealth of demographic data covering every school district in the country, SMA serves as a program and knowledge management system that integrates data from multiple public and private sources. SMA enables staff and managers, across multiple functions, to more effectively plan, track, and report on their work—with anytime/anywhere access and accuracy.
We host, maintain, and upgrade the system and provide user support through a help desk, online tutorials, and embedded online job aids that walk users through specific operations at the point of need.
Companion areas of the SMA system offer users access to online professional development courses, tools to manage grants and awards programs for schools, current information on education market trends, background information on marketing and outreach programs, and much more.
Integrated Services Project Profile: American Heart Association
Understanding the importance of how fast thinking and decisive action can make all the difference for victims of sudden cardiac arrest, the American Heart Association (AHA) launched a School Challenge around its online Be the Beat program to encourage students to learn what to do if they see a teen or adult suddenly collapse: call 911 and perform lifesaving, Hands-Only™ CPR by pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest.
AHA turned to MMS Education to help them with their school marketing. MMS provided targeted marketing of the Be the Beat School Challenge to educators, via an email marketing campaign, with the goal of encouraging enrollment and participation. In addition to providing copy and creative direction for the email campaign, MMS managed the deployment of a series of four emails in seven target markets.
MMS also created and provided support for the program enrollment and registration system, using database systems available in house – as well as a help-desk function with a dedicated customer service representative answering email tickets and providing phone support for users in the field. Program tracking and online reporting tools were also made available to the client.