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:

The education purchasing cycle is predictable. For example, we know that school purchasing takes time. We know that a majority of schools and districts finalize budgets and purchasing decisions for the following school year by Q2. We also know that most purchases are made during the summer.

Because purchase planning starts months in advance of that Q2 budgeting deadline, it’s important that marketers time communications strategically. Our education marketing cycle calendar offers quick tips for moving educators through the funnel. Learn:

  • The different phases of the education purchasing cycle
  • Recommended marketing tactics for each phase
  • How to time messages to maximize response

Of these two email subject lines, which one would you open?   

  • [Your name], we’re offering a 25% discount to [grade level] teachers!
  • Get a 25% discount today! 

Both promote compelling offers. But if you chose email A, then you’re like many educators. In a recent survey to educators in edtech, Agile found that respondents are most likely to open an email when it’s helpful and addresses a specific need or problem they’re facing. When asked what prompts them to take action on emails, respondents said they’re most compelled by messages that teach them skills or strategies that are helpful to their jobs, or when they want to learn more about a specific product that seems to meet their needs. These answers have something in common: personalization. Hundreds of emails can pass through an educator’s inbox daily. You can get educators’ attention — and keep it — by segmenting your audience and personalizing content to create relevant, meaningful messages that speak to individual interests and needs.    

What is a Thought Leader?

Many companies say they want to be a thought leader or already think they are. But what exactly does the term mean? Glenn Llopis, a regular contributor to Forbes, defines thought leadership this way, “A thought leader is a person who identifies trends, common themes and patterns within a particular industry or functional area of expertise to help others identify new opportunities or solutions for growth.”

Brian Solis, principal analyst at the Altimeter Group, takes a more philosophical approach. He believes that thought leadership is based on thinking about people and how to provide them with value, helping them solve problems, and assisting them in achieving their aspirations and goals. “True thought leadership starts with empathy. Can you tell me the top ten problems your audience has at any given time? How about the top ten aspirations? Are you thinking through where your audience wants to be, compared with where the market is going?”

Technology is becoming an integral part of 21st century classrooms — if it hasn’t reached that point already. Some proof: Global spending on edtech is in the billions, and it’s expected to keep rising.

Data from Agile’s latest survey of Curriculum Directors gives insight into how to create a strategic marketing plan that helps you get noticed in this booming market.

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About Agile Education Marketing

We're the go-to people to build brand recognition and generate leads. Using our comprehensive EdConnect™ database of early childhood, K-12 and higher education institutions and personnel, Agile Education Marketing helps you reach educators at school, at home and online.