Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How Customer Case Studies are Impacting the Education Field

I was in my second year of teaching, at the elementary level, when a fellow second-year colleague of mine and I decided we wanted to pilot a new computer-based grading program. Up until that time, our district still recorded student grades and progress the old-fashioned way, pen to paper. Many of our veteran colleagues clung to the old adage, “If it ain’t broke!” 

But, as we would all soon learn, the "traditional" way of grading was broken, antiquated, inefficient, and in desperate need of repair!

The grading program I piloted, Online Assessment Reporting System (OARS), was effective and easy to use. Unfortunately, it wasn't marketed in a way that appealed to teachers, especially seasoned teachers. 

To understand their resistance, one has to step into the shoes of a public school teacher. Year after year, we are faced with insurmountable obstacles: high-stakes testing and failing test scores, higher numbers of students with special needs and second language learners, low funding and sever budget cuts, not to mention planning, prepping, teaching, grading, and communicating with parents!

On top of these challenges, administrators and school boards, as well as government officials, constantly barrage teachers with updated curriculum, new programs, cutting-edge technology, and the latest models of collaboration; often times, with little to no training!

Because these challenges are unique to educators, we tend to stick together..."birds of a feather", and all! What many districts have realized, and are starting to capitalize on, is the teacher-led professional development model. In this model, teachers present new curriculum, programs, and innovations to their colleagues. In using this approach, administrators tap into the expertise that is already present on their campuses; and, when presented by fellow teachers, there tends to be greater buy-in.

Although the final buying decision comes from the top-down, with administration and school board approval, there has been a shift in the decision-making process. More and more, districts and administrators are seeking the feedback, opinions, and approval of their teachers. With this in mind, companies and organizations that work within the education field need to promote their products and services from multiple perspectives, including that of the classroom teacher. 

Showing how a product or service has helped a fellow teacher, potential clients will be more open to considering a new approach or an innovative technology tool. And, what better way to showcase the application and relevance of your product or service than with customer case studies

To better demonstrate how customer case studies can influence teachers and educators, consider the following examples:

·        Schools and educators have taken a strong interest in the "flipped classroom". Under this model, teachers use, or create, video and audio-based lessons that their students can view from home, while classroom time is used for student-teacher interaction. While the importance of flipping a classroom lies in the student-teacher interaction, there is a large market for online presentation tools, such as Versal and Prezi, and open-source learning platforms, such as Moodle. As a marketer for these types of businesses, it is important to showcase how your products and services are already helping teachers.
·        We all know how popular and mainstream tablets have become in our society. Although somewhat behind the times, schools and districts eventually catch on to latest technology craze; most recently, the use of tablets and iPads in the classroom. Companies, such as Apple and Amazon, are extending their marketing queries to educators and teachers, in hopes of capitalizing on the tablet momentum that has built up in the education field. Reaching teachers through teacher case studies is an effective way to expand their marketing into the education arena.
·        With a surge in online learning, schools and other related organizations are turning to learning analytics as a means of tracking student data. Companies, such as SNAPP and Brightspace can focus their marketing efforts by promoting their programs through customer case studies, showcasing how teachers are currently using learning analytics to track their students.

These are just three areas in the education field that can benefit from using carefully crafted customer case studies. Not sure how to get started? Hiring a copywriting consultant that specializes in customer case studies might be your best option. If interested, feel free to contact me, via email or phone, to see how case studies can help promote your education-related product or service.

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