We asked five experts around the Agile office to forecast the education marketing landscape in 2017. Are any of their predictions on your radar this year?
Jenny Schumacher, Vice President, Sales & Marketing
All Eyes on ESSA
“With the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) scheduled to go into full effect the 2017-18 school year, every education marketer is wondering about the changes it and the new administration will bring. Almost one year ago, Agile conducted a survey among educators to gauge their attitudes toward ESSA. What we learned is that only 12 percent said they were very familiar with ESSA legislation, and 45 percent are looking to vendors for guidance on how to meet new rules and regulations. As you plan marketing campaigns, consider ways you can fold ESSA into your messaging. Some tips:
- Focus on evidence. Data is a cornerstone of ESSA. If you haven’t already, start planning how you’re going to measure your product’s impact on test scores or the learning environment, and how you’re going to communicate that impact to educators.
- Re-evaluate your value proposition. Once you know how your product has impact, meet with your team to determine how you’re going to communicate that through marketing and sales.
- Get educated. If you haven’t been following ESSA, it’s time for a crash course. Expect more questions around data, accountability and how to meet ESSA’s requirements, and be prepared to answer them knowledgeably.”
Bob O'Dell, Managing Partner
Moving to Mobile Compatibility
“With technology becoming a part of the everyday in classrooms due to initiatives such as BYOD and 1:1, I think we will see more and more educators using their devices beyond instruction — and that includes checking email. In fact, more than 50 percent of educators receive and read emails on their mobile devices.
“It’s more important than ever to make sure your emails are mobile-compatible. It’s no longer a good idea — it’s a necessity. Agile has an awesome playbook that’s all about email marketing best practices, and you can flip to page 15 to learn more about mobile compatibility. Give it a read for tips and tricks for designing and coding your email messages to look great on mobile devices.”
Agile offers a host of email marketing services, some specifically to ensure messages make it to educators’ inboxes — no matter what device they’re using — and get read. Visit our website to learn more.
Suzanne Morgan, Director, Customer Experience
Make It About Educators
“Marketo dubbed 2017 ‘The Year of the Customer,’ and we couldn’t agree more. Educators especially value personalized experiences in emails from education vendors. A recent Agile survey of Curriculum and Title I Directors found that educators are most likely to open an edtech email when it’s helpful and addresses a specific need or problem they’re facing.
“In 2017, education marketers should be making efforts to deliver more targeted and personalized email experiences. Addressing teachers by their first names is a great start, but go beyond that. Personalize text for specific job titles. Personalize offers for influencers and decision-makers. Personalize images according to where the school or district is located. Dig deep into the different ways you can customize the email experience. Also, be strategic about the kind of content you send. Asking educators to participate in a webinar over the summer makes sense — they have more time! But reading a 10-page white paper may be a big ask in the fall when educators are especially busy.”
Agile can help you zero in on your best prospects and personalize email experiences with PURLs and EdIntel, a one-of-a-kind tool that offers deep marketing insight into specific programs, products and initiatives in use in public schools and districts.
Scott Brooks, Vice President, Corporate Development
Automate, Automate, Automate
“Without a doubt, email marketing will be an essential tool for education marketers in 2017. When we asked educators their thoughts on email, 66 percent said they trust email offers, promotions and newsletters for information about education products and services. As marketers ramp up their email efforts, marketing automation systems will become more and more essential to keeping campaigns on track and providing the kind of personalized experiences Suzanne mentioned.
“As we all know, the education purchasing cycle is highly predictable, with distinguishable phases. Education marketers can use marketing automation to guide educators through that cycle by delivering the information they are looking for at the exact moment they need it. You can make that information even more compelling through personalization, which marketing automation permits you to do at scale. Keeping your messaging consistent, helpful and relevant will not only convert leads, but also will help you retain loyal education customers.”
Learn more about personalizing your messaging with marketing automation.
Verlan Stephens, Managing Partner
Keep Your Data Clean
“Education marketers have access to more data than ever before. In fact, one commonly circulated statistic reveals that 90 percent of the world’s data has been created in the last two years. And in the always in-flux education market — schools consolidate, close and open; educators shift roles; etc. — it can be easy to lose control of your data quality.
“Data hygiene is more important now than ever before. It’s your most important asset, after all! Without accurate data, you won’t generate qualified marketing leads, convert those leads to customers and keep those customers loyal. To put it simply: better data = better marketing.”
Agile offers database services to maximize the effectiveness of your in-house data. We can eliminate duplicates from your CRM, facilitate list cleaning and file hygiene, fill in missing information, and even add new data such as district sizes and Title I percentages.