Welcome to Fall! I hope everyone wore their white shoes and pants all summer, because the time has come to retire them. It’s official, Summer is over. For those of us who work in the education market, that can only mean one thing: Back to School season is in full swing.
In recent years, with digital and social marketing, the once clearly delineated buying cycle for education has flattened. Likewise, more campaigns now zero in on the big dollars that administrators command, and fewer campaigns target teachers, which may be a missed opportunity.
For educational marketers and consumer marketers alike, back-to-school (BTS) campaigns to teachers present unique advantages. Teachers are excellent prospects as both professionals and as consumers. Fall is the perfect time to be reaching out to them with your messaging. In fact, if you’re not planning a fall BTS campaign to teachers, you could be missing out. Here are five reasons you should be including teachers in your marketing campaigns this fall.
1. Teachers are ideal consumers.*
When creating a profile of their perfect customer for nearly any consumer business, a teacher checks all the boxes:
- They are highly educated: all teachers have college degrees, and 61% have at least one advanced degree.
- More than three-quarters of them (76%) are homeowners.
- Most of them (86%) have and use credit cards.
- They love to travel both in the US and internationally.
- They have 43% higher average household income ($143K) than the general population ($100K) and they use it to shop (a lot!) –97% shop in stores and 85% do some shopping online.
Educated people with high household income and good credit, who like to shop – that’s a win-win for any marketer!
*Source: MDR “Teachers as Consumers” Report
2. Teachers spend a LOT on their classrooms.*
While some districts still offer teachers an annual discretionary stipend (i.e., Chicago Public School teachers get $250 to spend for the entire school year), that funding is shrinking or even disappearing in many cases. Yet, teachers are still outfitting their classrooms with their own money, with the average teacher spending about $400. They buy supplies and materials in the beginning of the year to set the stage and equip their students to learn. They spend later, too – to replenish or replace necessary resources, to decorate for holidays, and to integrate fresh ideas into their lessons. Teachers need to do more with less. You can help them by offering regular sales, special coupons or offers like BOGO, and other promotions that will help them get more for their hard-earned money.
*Source: MDR’s State of the K12 Market Report, “Classroom Trends: Teachers as Buyers of Instructional Materials and Users of Technology
3. Teachers are brand champions.
Do you have any teachers in your life? If so, you know that they are all about the feedback. If they encounter a problem with your product, they will let you know. And if they love your product, they will let EVERYONE know. Teachers are collaborative and generous. Their job is about sharing knowledge, and that philosophy informs everything that they do. Identify and cultivate the teachers who love your products and they will foster connections with their colleagues and peers. When teachers love and use your brand, your brand wins.
4. Teachers influence large purchases at the school and district.
Teachers make a necessary contribution to the school purchasing cycle. If a product or service is being used in the classroom, administrators will solicit teacher feedback before making a big purchase. Even though the administrators sign the checks, the teachers’ opinions matter. Introduce teachers to your products early. Offer pilot programs, free samples, free digital instructional materials, downloadable posters, and free lesson plans to build brand awareness and support large purchasing decisions at a grassroots level.
5. Teachers value those who have their backs.
These are difficult days for educators. Budgets and jobs are being cut, class sizes are growing, safety is an ever-present concern, and all of this is happening in a fraught political environment. Even so, despite the constant drumbeat of negativity, teachers show up to educate students and keep them safe. Now more than ever teachers need support – professional, emotional, and moral. Show up for them. Create campaigns that demonstrate your commitment as a visible, vocal advocate for teachers and you will win their loyalty. Teachers trust, and remember, those people, companies, and brands that stand with them.
As you plan your fall marketing activities, take a good look at your company’s mission and marketing goals. If you’re not already doing it, consider building in a marketing campaign for teachers. Your brand will be the better for it.