Marketing Educational Services Requires a Multigenerational Approach
Marketing educational services to schools often requires a multi-audience, multi-generational perspective. Keep in mind that your services will be purchased, implemented, and used by Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zs.
- Purchasers are likely to be administrators, school boards, or principals.
- Implementers will be teachers, advisors, or coaches (and they may influence the purchase).
- Users will be students and teachers, often with the teachers on the back end for management, reporting, tracking, reviewing work, etc.
As a result, marketing educational services requires appealing to the needs of multiple audiences and several generations. You may already have a marketing plan. (If not, talk to us! We can help.) But if that plan is not yielding the results you had hoped for, consider segmenting your messages to address the following:
Purchasers are bottom-line oriented. They want to know the cost/benefit of any program they incorporate into their school’s curriculum. Your marketing has to address their primary concerns:
- How will this program meet the needs of my school?
- How does it address our school’s mission to provide a meaningful and appropriate learning experience to our students?
- Where and how has it improved learning in other schools/districts like mine, and how is that measured and reported?
- Will it cost us money or save us money?
- What internal resources will be required to implement, manage, and administer this program?
Because these are primarily institutional, resource, and financial questions, your marketing should address them in a straightforward way — bottom line, nothing fancy.
Implementers are the bridge between the school and the student. They embrace technology, keep up with current trends, and understand the student generation. Implementers are often concerned with two main issues — the benefit to the students and the time commitment on themselves — and may influence purchase decisions based on their assessment of your services. Remember, implementers can also be users, so your marketing plan should address the following:
- How much time will it take to implement and then manage this program?
- What is the learning curve for implementing this program?
- How does it fit into the rest of the curriculum?
- What is the direct benefit to the students? To the teachers?
When addressing these issues, consider providing graphics that show the time for learning, implementing, and managing your program.
Purchasers and implementers will cross generations. The people buying and employing your services could be Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, or Millennials. To engage them quickly, consider developing marketing approaches designed for different generations. Consider targeting Baby Boomers with more traditional marketing — straightforward spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. Gen Xers or Millennials may be more drawn to online demos, videos, or even apps. So, develop multiple approaches for your audiences. Employing varied marketing media greatly improves the speed with which you can capture your audience’s attention.
Today’s student users want to be engaged. While Gen Z students want and need to know what they’ll be doing, or learning, or experiencing (and what is expected of them in the process), what they crave most is to be engaged. Your marketing plan should include strategies that show teachers how the student is pulled right into an experience. Consider how young users are influenced outside of the education arena — think movie trailers, social media, and gaming. Marketing the ways in which your services meets the expectations of Gen Z audiences requires excitement.
- How are your educational services exciting? Fun? New? Different?
- Why is being a part of your educational experience better than missing out?
- How do you answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”
Bottom line: Your target is whoever makes the purchasing decision. But by keeping all four primary audiences in mind when marketing your company’s educational services, you are demonstrating that your services meet the needs of every audience the purchaser is considering during the “buy” decision.
If you’re not sure how to position your educational services to multiple audiences and generations, let us help. We can assist you in planning, creating, promoting, distributing, and supporting education-market initiatives that capture attention, reach decision makers, support implementers, engage end users, and generate results. Clients choose MMS Education because of our deep understanding of the education market, backed by more than four decades of working with schools, systems, administrators, and agencies. Call us today at 800-523-5948 or fill out this form to see how MMS Education can help you reach, engage, and measure impact in the PreK-12 education market.