The short answer is: a lot!
The long answer is that they have more in common that most would think. However while teaching is viewed as a mostly altruistic act, marketing has a bad name for being pushy and forcing products on people. The reality is that both teaching and marketing want to achieve the same result. A teacher wants the student to accept (learn) an idea or piece of fact while marketers want the customer to accept (buy) a product or service. Marketing is most often associated with spending money while teaching is considered an act to help the student acquire knowledge.
Teachers rarely (consciously) use marketing tactics to accommodate learning while many marketers have realized the power of providing information while also accommodate the selling of products. Infomercials are perfect examples of that.:
“An infomercial is a form of television commercial that resembles regular TV programming yet is intended to promote or sell a product, service or idea……Most often used as a form of direct response television (DRTV),…… Infomercials are also known as paid programming (or teleshopping in Europe).….
While the term “infomercial” was originally applied only to television advertising, it is now sometimes used to refer to any presentation (often on video) which presents a significant amount of information in an actual, or perceived, attempt to promote a point of view. …” /From Wikipedia/
Teachers could also benefit from thinking more along the lines of marketing if they want to successfully convey knowledge. Some practises that could help are:
- Relating to the usability of the knowledge/How this knowledge can be used later on.
- Nice packaging (relatable text, nice graphics, gamification, etc.)
- Make it accessible for a wider audience.
- Use thought leaders and role models.
These are just a few tips on how to think more as a marketer to achieve higher results.
Edu- or Educational Businesses are as the name suggests businesses with a special focus on education, providing tools and know-how to teachers, schools, and students. In recent years with the emergence of online learning and especially since the pandemic, their contribution to education, in general, has been even more prevalent. The lines are blurred but these are the 5 main types of Edubusinesses:
- employed teachers (by school or institution)
- self-employed and freelance teachers and tutors
- schools and institutions
- software and platform companies (LMS, Edutech, apps)
- coaches, bloggers, experts
It’s very important from a marketing viewpoint to take a look at the different strategies these businesses need to have in order to be successful. Teachers who are employed by schools (even online schools) usually don’t need to market themselves or their schools directly. Self-employed tutors and freelance teachers (usually private language tutors) however need to extensively market themselves to get new students and to keep them the same way as online schools need to do. LMS (Learning Management System) and app developers need marketing strategies similar to any other product development company. Coaches and experts need to market themselves the same way freelancers need to. /Non-profit and governmental educational institutions are disregarded here. Self-development, self-help, and spiritual coaching are special types of tutoring environments and I’ll write about them in a later post./
The differences are in customer behavior and finances. LMS and learning tools are often marketed to corporate buyers or schools whereas freelancers and online schools (especially in language tutoring) have private students who are often interested- would like to learn- but cannot afford to pay and the dropout rate is the highest here.
The most difficult is to market freelance services and private tutoring. Most freelancers make the mistake to rely solely on social media and word-of-mouth to market themselves. They don’t build a consistent brand image thinking it only applies to companies and they don’t think outside of the box when it comes to marketing. It’s easy to see then that they’re struggling the most to become successful and create a sustainable income. The problem is that the demand and the supply often times cannot find each other.
Freelance tutors have the knowledge, experience, flexibility, and lower prices; all are very marketable but most freelancers cannot capitalize on them because they don’t see themselves as businesses and don’t use appropriate marketing channels. Sofware and Edutech developers usually operate like any other production companies and the reliance on social media as the main/only form of marketing is still prevalent among them. Unlike freelancers, however, they’re more likely to be able to build sustainable businesses as long as their products are relevant and marketable because their income doesn’t depend solely on the buying behavior of individual customers/students.
/This is an introductory post, I’m going to write more extensively about different marketing strategies for Edubusinesses in later posts as well./