Marketing Panel At EdNet 17 Gives EdTech Companies Insight Into How To Market Their Products To Administrators
EdNet 2017 kicked off Sunday afternoon in Scottsdale Arizona. The first full day of the networking conference for education technology professionals with a focus on K-12 was Monday. A breakout session called “Don’t Crash The Party- Get Invited: Why A Disruptive Approach To Marketing Is No Longer Relevant”.
It’s no secret that marketing education technology products to the actual decision makers is like no other marketing in the world. We talked about some of those challenges in this piece; “4 Tips On Bringing Your EdTech Company To Market.”
The panel at EdNet, moderated by PR With Panache’s Chris Piehler. The panelists were Dr. Stephanie Miller (Superintendent Congress Arizona Elementary School District), PR With Panache Partner Emily Sumner and PR With Panache’s Managing Partner, Jacob Hanson. The panel was designed to give both sides of the education marketing conundrum.
Piehler used Kahoot to make the panel interactive surveying the audience made up of product companies, media and administrators in real time throughout the panel.
The most important tip when marketing an edtech product to an administrator with buying power is to truly take the time to understand their problems, situation and challenges. Miller explained that her district is about 70% free and discounted lunches, and has at times been more than 80%. A nearby district is less than 30% demonstrating that superintendents across Arizona and America all have different problems, different students, different parents, different teachers and different circumstances. Until product marketers understand that no two school districts are the same they won’t see the results they want.
It was also important that superintendents don’t get inundated with spammy email. They also don’t like when product marketers assume anything from personal information to district challenges. On the personal side Miller explained she recently had someone pitch her by addressing her as “Steph” a nickname only her brother calls her. The marketer probably assumed that calling her Steph would somehow break the ice. It didn’t.
For Miller and countless other superintendents across the country, deals and discounts don’t work either. “If we really want something and it will make a difference in our students’ lives, we’ll find the money for it” Miller explained.
Not surprising, face to face is the best way to kick off a relationship between an edtech marketer and a prospective district level buyer. Email can be effective if created correctly. Miller prefers bullet point lists rather than long, boring narratives. Social Media plays a small role in these relationships as well.
The relationship between an edtech product marketer and a district level buyer is complex and long tail but can be fruitful.
During the panel Miller joked that a simple snap of the finger would get her attention and could lead to a sale. The same thing was true for her with dark chocolate. The best time to snap to her (physically snap with the finger) and buy her dark chocolate, is the third week of August. Of course that was a joke.