How Marketers Can Make the Most of the Spring Season
26 May 2015
→ Steve Gatland, VP of Clients, MDR
It’s hard to believe the 2014-2015 school year is almost a wrap, but it’s certainly not a slow time for us here at MDR or for our clients. In a world where devices are always on, information is always accessible, and every medium is an opportunity to connect, education marketers have more ways to reach prospects and drive new sales than ever before. Spring is a great time of year to build new relationships and forge trust with educators.
Recent SoundBites articles by our team members, Rebecca Ryan and Dana Truby, offer advice on maximizing the digital and social channels available to you. So what’s on my mind this spring? As always, it’s helping our customers grow. Here are a few important things I’m focused on with our clients.
More Response, More Digital
How can I get more response? This is a perennial question for our clients, especially with the ever-accelerating shift from traditional marketing programs to targeted, digital marketing channels.
MDR’s database and market research show 50% of the teaching population is below the age of 40.
This is a generation of digital natives who have grown up with the Internet. But, in truth, educators of all ages are incorporating a digital approach and that means they are intersecting with marketing messages differently. While traditional channels like print or direct mail (even email) continue to be useful tools (and in some cases tremendously productive), the increased targetability of digital and social media—supported by relevant and compelling content—is having a clear impact on how we effectively reach and engage educators.
So my advice for clients is to challenge the traditional, largely linear, educational marketing framework. Instead, focus on using the broadest spectrum of channels across traditional, digital, and social to reach the broadest possible audience of educators. Also, since engaging content is the underpinning of a great multi-channel campaign, think about making your marketing content less about you and more about educators. Many marketers continue to use, for example, feature/benefit messages or financial incentives as the campaign headline. However, in reality, a 50% off sale is less appealing to today’s audience than a story demonstrating how your phonics program helped a struggling reader succeed. Talking to your audience in the channels where they are listening and with a valuable message…that’s what drives response today.
How do you connect with an audience across multiple channels?
We know it takes the average person seven to ten brand impressions before they buy. But how many times will a person realistically look at the same email message?
That’s why my client conversations focus on the importance of bringing the right message to their audience multiple times through the numerous channels educators are consuming on a daily basis.
We also know message responsiveness is directly tied to the communication’s relevance to the prospects’ professional or personal interest. In the context of educators, the best relevancy play is still tied to the subject matter taught and resources needed to support their curriculum.
Many social media channels claim to offer native targeting, but in truth, they can only reach people who may have shown an interest in a product or topic at some point—a very broad brush. The unstructured nature of social media challenges the ways in which marketers can deliver engaging content tied to educators’ professional identity.
MDR provides the structure by which our clients can leverage multiple digital and social channels:
We can ensure the individual you’re reaching is not just a teacher but a math teacher and an algebra teacher, regardless of the marketing channel being used. That’s a substantial difference in relevant targeting and that relevance directly translates to responsiveness.
Integrated, multi-channel marketing engages educators because you are delivering precisely targeted, relevant messages exactly where educators are looking and at a frequency that makes a real impact.
I’d love to hear how you’re integrating digital into your back-to-school plans. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s connect!
Steve Gatland grew up on Long Island, attended college in Ohio, and has lived in the Chicago-area for 20 years. He and his wife Laura are the proud (and exhausted) parents of 3 young boys. Professionally, Steve has grown in his career at MDR, starting as a front line sales rep handling account management and new business in the Great Lakes region. Prior to joining MDR, Steve worked for CIEE, an educational non profit in NYC, where he marketed intensive overseas educational programs to college faculty. Next came a sales role at an educational technology company in Chicago, followed by MDR in 1993. In addition to direct selling roles, Steve managed MDR’s Central Region, managed the National Sales team, and ultmately led the MDR Major Account organization from 2006-2012.
In his MDR career, Steve has worked with a diverse cross-section of MDR customers and has developed deep and trusted relations with many industry leaders. He has been able to parlay his expertise of the market and his relationships to consistently have a point of voice about what MDR’s customers need today as well as tomorrow.