Integrated marketing is a hot topic. There’s lots of buzz about the importance of creating a marketing strategy that utilizes all areas of marketing communication to deploy messaging through a variety of channels.
But your marketing strategy shouldn’t be defined solely by current trends. At the end of the day, it’s your customers who determine when, where, why, and how you market. It’s their preferences that should guide your plan.
So, how about educators? When working in the education market, is an integrated marketing approach effective for reaching teachers and administrators? Our data points to yes. Here’s why:
Education Purchasing Is Collaborative
Many individuals are involved with education purchasing at both the school and district levels. And occasionally, schools and districts share purchasing responsibilities in some spending categories. In a survey conducted in May 2016 by Agile, educators indicated that there is some level of shared responsibility between schools and districts for purchasing core curriculum, digital projectors, computer peripherals, supplemental materials, digital whiteboards, and professional development materials.
The lesson here is simple: Education purchasing is a group effort, and you must connect with everyone along their various paths to purchase — a difficult feat without an integrated marketing strategy that maximizes your reach and visibility. And because teachers and administrators might prefer different channels of communication, an integrated marketing strategy will help you reach them where they are while simultaneously funneling them to a common end: the purchase.
Educators Do Their Research
Our data tells us that educators are students at heart. They tap many resources when learning about education products, programs and services. In Agile and SheerID’s 2016 Teacher Spending & Loyalty Survey, educators rated word-of-mouth, email, conferences and tradeshows, social media, and catalogs as sources they value most for information. And in the May 2016 Agile survey, educators indicated that they turn to a number of resources when researching supplemental materials, classroom supplies and professional development materials. Among their favorite resources were websites; teacher recommendations; retail, book and teacher stores; and catalogs.
These are just some of the platforms where you can meet with educators. Now think of all of the different marketing tactics you can deploy through these channels and how you can integrate them to move educators through the buying funnel.
You’re asked to speak at an education conference. You invite education clients to join you on stage for a panel discussion. There. You’ve already started to create word-of-mouth. At the end of the presentation you drive people to download a related white paper your organization recently released, which you also promote through social, email, etc. Of course that content is gated, so visitors to your site must provide contact information in exchange for the content. And just like that, you’ve got the basic information you need to enter individuals into a lead nurture program. Utilizing email, you can push content (case studies, videos, catalogs) to these prospects in a strategic effort to lead them closer and closer to the purchase. Though all of this material is unique, it’s also consistent. Each piece stands on its own but also aligns to tell a larger story about your brand, your offerings and your promise to educators.
Education: A Perfect Fit for Integrated Marketing
Taking this kind of integrated marketing approach can have many benefits in the education market. It can help you:
- Ensure your messages are seen and heard in a noisy marketing landscape
- Reach educators where it matters most to them, raising awareness and making you a natural part of their lives
- Leverage the strengths of the many channels educators engage with
- Create a strong, consistent brand message online and off
Agile can help you maximize your reach and create consistent messaging across marketing channels, including email, direct mail, webinars, and digital advertising. Let’s talk about how we can help you strengthen your integrated marketing plan.