7 Key Things to Know About the Schools You Serve
As marketers, we know that understanding buyer personas is critical as we create marketing pitches and sales approaches, choose distribution channels, and develop and improve products. But, as education marketers, it is just as important to understand the schools and districts in which our customer’s contacts work. The school/district environment influences what, when, and how much they purchase.
- School size: How many teachers and students are under that roof?
Of course, large schools are more likely to make a large purchase than small schools. And, large schools have more diverse needs simply because they serve more children. But, for large institutions, you may need to reach out to more contacts to achieve a sale and provide school-wide discounts. Very large districts often require vendor approval, may have a longer product assessment process, and/or have committees to evaluate materials, so be prepared for a higher customer acquisition cost.
- Metro status: Are most of your customers located in cities, suburbs, or rural areas?
Location influences a school or district’s ability to access services or send its staff or students to in-person events. Virtual events and online products/services, important for all educators, may be even more important for educators in rural schools.
- Federal funding: How important are federal funding sources to your customer district budgets? What funding do they receive, and how much?
The source of funding affects the flexibility of the district to spend the money. You should be familiar with how your products/services meet the requirements for various federal funds (Title I, Title II, IDEA, bilingual education, etc.) and message accordingly to districts receiving those funds.
- Affluence: Are your customer schools in areas with high household income? High levels of poverty?
Schools in more affluent areas may have more discretion on how money is spent and rely less on federal dollars for their overall budget. You may find they are more interested in fundraising programs or more likely to offer extracurricular or enrichment activities paid for by students’ families.
- Technology: What technologies do your customers use most? What do they spend on technology?
So many schools have upgraded their technology in the past few years, when many found themselves not well prepared for the remote learning the pandemic required. Understanding the technology status of your customers will help you assess whether your products/services will be a good fit and how much training will be needed for broad adoption. The increased use of technology does not necessarily mean that schools have abandoned print resources, manipulatives, or other hands-on materials; so be prepared to provide supplements that do not require devices or internet access.
- Student body: Are you serving schools with a diverse student body? English language learners? High percentage of motivated students?
Schools need to adapt to help all students learn —and they will need you to adapt too! Understanding the student body of your customer schools and districts will help you decide which products to recommend, and which may need modifications.
- Student performance: Are your schools focused on raising test scores? In what subjects or grades?
Schools with low proficiency scores may tap into funding sources to support learning growth and may need services and materials to support and motivate struggling learners. You will want to have case studies and evidence to assure potential customers of your effectiveness —schools focused on raising scores do not have time or money to waste and want proven solutions.
Agile can help! Our comprehensive database of education institutions has hundreds of data points pertinent to these 7 Key Things to Know. Comparing your database to ours can reveal characteristics of your customer base— some that you may have suspected, and some that may surprise you!
Knowing the characteristics of your customer schools means you can:
- Identify other schools that may be good prospects because they resemble your customers.
- Tailor your marketing messaging/methods to better target schools that do not currently perform well.
- Create a more effective sales pitch tailored to the specific needs of your clients.
- Revise or develop products to more effectively address the needs of schools that do not currently buy, to increase conversion rates.
Agile Education Marketing has the experience, skill, and knowledge required to supplement your sales and marketing efforts by offering reliable, up-to-date, and precise educational data whenever your organization needs it. Contact us to learn more about Agile’s marketing data services and get started on a partnership that will help you achieve your marketing objectives.
Written by: Terry Payson
Sr Account Manager at Agile Education Marketing