Educators are perhaps the most selfless group of professionals you’ll find. They work tirelessly to perfect their lesson plans, inspire students and share their knowledge with others. They are highly dedicated to their profession.
Their passion for teaching often means they often don’t have time to spare during the school year. So how can you connect with this busy group and turn them into advocates for your brand?
In the seventh post in our series on engaging B2B buyer personas in different industries, we’re revealing how to get educators to pay attention to your marketing efforts.
Who is the educator?
They need love
While educators are typically hard workers—banking upwards of 45 hours per week at work—they tend to be under-appreciated. The 2013 Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that just 34% of teachers feel society cares about what they do.
Find the right type
While not all educators are the same, most tend to fall into one of three main categories:
ENFJ all the way
The widely-used Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a questionnaire that suggests a person’s key personality traits. Educators typically fit into the ENFJ type, which ranks high in extraversion, intuition, feeling, and judging. The Keirsey Temperament Sorter, a similar personality questionnaire, notes that educators view people as their highest priority. They are often looking for the best in their students and want to inspire them. They are also highly organized and—not surprisingly—great communicators.
4 tips for marketing to educators
1. Tap into their passion
Teachers teach because it’s a calling—not because they have career advancement goals on the mind. If your advocate marketing program helps make them feel special, or gives them a chance to be in the spotlight, they’ll be more likely to stick around.
Since educators understand the importance of learning (it is, after all, their profession!) they also understand the need to constantly soak up new knowledge of their own. “While educators teach 21st century skills like collaboration and critical thinking in the classroom, they also want to engage in their own learning,” says Kevyn Klein, Director of Customer Success & Advocacy at Edmodo. Provide them with professional development and learning opportunities to gain new skills and they’ll be appreciative.
2. Capturing the ebb & flow
Educators work long hours during the school year, then have long stretches of time off during the summer (plus winter and spring breaks). “Don’t waste an educator’s time. Always be thinking of how you’re providing them with value and they’ll return the favour,” says Michael Beahm, Customer Advocate Marketing Manager at Blackbaud. You need to work around their schedule to connect with them.
Try using fun themes during break times that will keep them engaged. For instance, you can ask them to share vacation photos, or the funniest exam response they’ve ever seen. Otherwise, try to reach them outside of school hours.
3. Points? No thanks
Educators give out badges and points—they don’t want to receive them. Instead, reward them with professional development opportunities, or chances to showcase their expertise. Consider discounted or free access to courses and certifications that take place on weekends or when school is out.
You can also reward them with product upgrades or software licenses. Not only will they understand the product’s benefits, but they can also take the information to supervisors, principals, or the school board and explain the advantages to them, too.
Not only are educators unlikely to desire tangible rewards, but they may also not be permitted to receive then. However, who doesn’t like a bit of swag? Stuff like hats, shirts, mugs, and travel mugs, make great (and useful!) rewards. Plus, the educator will be showing off your brand at work.
4. Wanna talk?
Educators love to discuss strategies and philosophies with peers. “They love having an elite learning community,” says Kevyn. “Create a space where they can connect and collaborate.”
Try to encourage connections through your advocate marketing program. Creating public discussions will encourage advocates to check back frequently to see what others have to say on pressing issues or topical items.
Your biggest challenge with this B2B buyer persona is first determining which type of educator you’re dealing with. Then you need to able to work around their unusual schedules.
If your advocate marketing program appeals to educators’ altruistic nature, and offers rewards that will enhance—not distract—them, you’ll get a A+ in your advocates’ books.