By Jenny Schumacher, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Agile Education Marketing

It’s back-to-school. Budgets are set and education purchasing is underway. Teachers and administrators are already considering products and programs to invest in for next school year. Given all of the activity during this busy season, how do you know whom to schedule meetings with? What should you talk about during sales calls?

Insights from a recent Agile survey of educators will help you strategize your approach and be better prepared for conversations.

Find out who’s making purchasing decisions.

The level at which purchase decisions are being made — the school, district or both — determines whom to reach out to, and how. Agile’s data shows that district leaders typically make purchase decisions regarding core curriculum and ed tech, including digital whiteboards and projectors. School leaders and teachers make more of the purchase decisions for non-digital supplemental materials. Survey respondents indicated that purchasing digital supplemental materials and professional development materials is a shared responsibility.

At the school level, teachers and administrators are more involved in purchasing some products and programs than others. Teachers said they are somewhat to completely involved with purchasing supplemental materials and classroom supplies. Principals, on the other hand, tend to be more involved when purchasing core curriculum materials, computer hardware and software.

Find out where they’re researching and making purchases.

It’s important to know where educators are finding information about potential purchases — as well as making purchases — so you can meet them on those channels. Our survey revealed that the Internet is the most-used research tool. (Teacher recommendations, catalogs, retail stores, and teacher stores were other popular resources.) The Internet also is the most-used channel for making education purchases.

These findings support the importance of building a strong web presence. You can do this by supplementing information about your products and services with content that establishes thought leadership and expertise. Providing valuable, educational and engaging content that’s relevant to your products and programs — not just sales and promotional materials — helps you establish awareness, authority and trust. So, when it comes time for educators to make a purchase, your content has helped you stay top-of-mind.

Find out when educators are making purchases.

Survey results were overwhelming in this category: May and June are the primary months for making education purchases, though there is some overflow into April, July and August. According to Agile’s Classroom Purchasing Power report, Q2 also happens to be the window for finalizing budgets.

As the summer budgeting and purchasing window closes, start gearing up for the next step in the K-12 purchasing cycle. Purchase planning for the following school year is taking place now and goes until December. Consideration and trial periods range from January-April.

 Agile Survey Results: View the infographic

References and Resources:

Infographic: Align Marketing to Educators’ Purchasing Behaviors

Research Report: K12 Purchasing 2013: Classroom Purchasing Power

Free On-Demand Webinar: K-12 Buyer Cycle Webinar

Blog Post: Get Education Decision Makers to Pay Attention

 

Currently Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Agile Education Marketing, Jenny Schumacher has worked in the education world for 18 years. She has held a variety of roles in her career — including sales, marketing, operations, and client services. She understands the education market and provides a unique organizational perspective to help Agile’s clients exceed their marketing goals.

Formerly a Director of Operations with Denver Public Schools (DPS), Jenny worked with the talented team there to launch its ground-breaking teacher performance and evaluation program (LEAP). Prior to joining DPS, Jenny spent 11 years with Quality Education Data (QED), a leading education data company, and managed a number of operational and client-facing teams.

 

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