It may seem hard to believe but it is (once again) the time of year when schools are faced with the “use it or lose it” challenge when it comes to spending the remainder of their 2022-2023 school budgets. And while lack of sufficient ongoing funding remains a problem for many districts around the country, school leaders are also faced with needing to spend American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Education Rescue (ESSER) funds within the timeframe mandated by the federal government.
How can your company support educators as they grapple with these budget priorities and, at the same time, leverage the opportunity for your products and services? Here are a few ideas:
- Take a deep dive into what products/services schools really need right now. Remember school leaders are under a tight timeline (in some cases less than 60 days) to spend the rest of their 2022-2023 budgets, so it is critical to market them products or services that meet their immediate needs. They are also likely looking for resources that won’t require a lengthy review or approval process. Have a conversation with your current and prospective customers and learn more about how you can help them.
- Think about how to help schools manage an influx of technology. There was a recent article about New York City Public Schools purchasing 725,000 devices to support online learning and now struggling for a way to count and inventory them.* Surely they can’t be the only district dealing with this—though maybe not at the same volume—since many districts quickly bought devices for learning at home. Do you have a software product or service that could help districts? Maybe it is a slightly different application of a tech product that districts are already using? Thinking out of the box in this way might help schools cope with an urgent situation and expand the use of your technology.
- Renew subscriptions early. With time at a premium and money on the line, districts might be more inclined to renew a subscription or increase use of a product they already have rather than reviewing, approving, and buying something new. Creative thinking about renewing subscriptions early or expanding use of your products within a school or district could easily meet their future needs and encumber funds so they don’t lose them.
- Support summer learning programs. As schools continue to strive to mitigate the learning losses of the past few years, they are likely to turn to summer learning programs again this year. How can your products or services support these efforts? Maybe you offer an in-school only online program and could provide home access for the summer months?
- Offer tutoring. Another way that schools are accelerating learning for students is through tutoring programs. If there is a tutoring component to your product or service and a district isn’t taking advantage of it, this could be a prime opportunity to remind them about it. They are already familiar with your program so you would just be adding another component—not introducing something entirely new.
- Expand teacher professional learning. Now that things have settled down a bit for schools, many are looking to accelerate the professional learning opportunities they offer to teachers. Think about offerings associated with your program they might not have been able to take advantage of over the past few years and package them in an attractive way to meet their needs—maybe online over the summer or for back-to-school in the fall.
As always, paying attention to education customers’ needs and the challenges they face is the most important strategy in today’s evolving environment. MDR is here to help you develop plans for reaching those customers through targeted, multichannel marketing campaigns to reach the right customer, at the right time, with the right message. Want to collaborate? Connect with us.
*Source: NYC bought 725K devices for remote learning. Now they’re trying to count them — and all school tech.