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Understanding school evaluation and buying cycles

Throughout the year, schools generally go through several steps in the evaluation and buying cycle. First they determine their needs, then they seek solutions and request information, and finally they review alternatives and select a product for purchase. Ongoing marketing is needed at every stage, but knowing the key points along the way can help you refine your marketing and sales strategy and maximize your opportunities.

Schools and districts in the U.S. generally operate on a July 1-June 30 fiscal year, with one exception—school libraries, which use a calendar fiscal year. They must consider the regulations attached to state, federal, and local funds, and those regulations generally involve timing.

Successful marketing is not just about email and direct mail campaigns. All of your marketing channels need to be integrated and optimized – including your direct marketing - in order to achieve your goals. In a strategic marketing program, each channel has its own strategy and metrics that need to be integrated for successful outcomes. However, each channel also needs to stand alone in moving the customer or prospect to the next step in the process.

Social proof is a psychological construct in which we look to others to guide our behavior in a situation. We react based on the assumption that the actions of others reflect the correct behavior in a situation and that we will make fewer mistakes if we follow the leaders.

The idea of social proof has great currency right now because some aspects of social proof are used as metrics in the evaluation of marketing and social media programs. For example:

Email is one of the most powerful tools in the marketing toolbox, and the most successful email marketers are the ones who regularly review, analyze, and test their campaigns. The reason? Even with proven campaigns, there are opportunities to improve results that can contribute to the bottom line. Let’s look at several key areas:

The days of indiscriminate email blasts are long gone. Part of this shift is due to the changing role of marketing itself from a broadcast or interruption process to an attraction process. More than ever before, educators are in the driver’s seat of any relationship that develops between them and your organization. They will research your company and your competitors. They will speak to other educators to assess your value. Often these conversations occur through social media platforms, and will happen with or without you.

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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.