Education Marketing Strategy

Blend Your Education Brand’s Mission With Efficacy Research to Connect with Buyers

By May 30, 2024No Comments

Most education brands have a compelling mission aimed at helping students and educators succeed. Good intentions are almost always the driving force behind improving learning outcomes.

However, relying solely on a do-good mission to compel education buyers is unlikely to drive sales. Yes, education and district leaders want to know your heart is in the right place. But tangible evidence that your product or service truly makes a difference in the lives of students and educators is just as important.

Education buyers must vigorously defend their decision to purchase your product to their peers, superiors, and even parents and caretakers, and they can’t do it without your help. This is where efficacy research can provide your mission-driven messaging with a major assist.

Efficacy research substantiates your education company’s mission-driven claims

You can use tangible results uncovered in research to underscore how your company benefits the educational experience.

The more compelling results you incorporate into your mission-driven messaging, the more it improves your bottom line. More sales create more opportunities to live up to your mission and values. 

5 considerations for implementing efficacy research in your messaging

Whether you conduct efficacy studies through a third party or on your own, there are a few key considerations that will allow you to get the most value out of your research.

1. Efficacy research doesn’t have to be a heavy lift

Efficacy studies meeting ESSA Tier 1 criteria are the gold standard for creating sales and marketing materials. However, conducting this type of research can take a substantial amount of time and effort, depending on whether you outsource this process to a third party as well as how rigorous you intend your study to be. 

Fortunately, there are simpler and less time-consuming options for conducting research. For example, your internal team can conduct customer surveys that indicate things like satisfaction or observed results. Or you can enlist your VIP education leaders to provide testimonials about the anecdotal or directional results they’re seeing in the classroom. Personal user stories and proprietary user surveys can be appealing to your target audience.

2. District-specific evidence like case studies are likely to move the needle with ed buyers

As you strategize which efficacy research will resonate most with school district leaders, remember that district priorities vary depending on the location, size, affluence, and other factors. While student achievement and increasing graduation rates are common priorities for most districts, your company should be attuned to specific challenges within each district. 

For example, rural school districts may be particularly focused on increasing access to professional development opportunities for their instructors. Others may focus on increasing WiFi access for families. Having readily accessible case studies that showcase your company’s solutions to these challenges can underscore your highly-relevant value proposition to buyers.

3. Your education company’s proof of efficacy should align with ESSA standards

Your education company will only get so far if your efficacy research doesn’t align with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) tiers of evidence. Education administrators are beholden to ESSA standards to justify any education purchase they make with particular funds. An inspirational story can pique their interest, but their decision ultimately hinges on your ability to prove your product’s efficacy in an ESSA-compliant manner.

If you’re unsure whether your research can meet these regulations, there are school districts and third-party companies you can enlist to conduct ESSA-aligned studies. A partnership with them will validate your research in the eyes of district leaders.

4. Your results and data should tell stories without academic jargon

Your efficacy studies should be scientific. But they also need to be digestible. While education buyers are, unsurprisingly, a well-educated group, they’re often too busy to wade through lengthy and complex research papers.

Make sure you frame your studies’ findings through the lens of your company’s mission and values. Swap academic jargon with concise language, and supplement your data with examples about how your solutions have impacted real-world impact. 

Data visualizations can also break down complex information and provide some variety in how you tell your story. Use charts and graphs in addition to testimonials to establish an emotional connection in addition to scientific integrity. 

5. De-position the competition

Your education company can generate its own industry survey that underscores existing issues your product is uniquely qualified to resolve. 

For example, our client Edsby sought to uncover the candid sentiments of K-12 educators toward their current learning management systems. The K-12 education company wanted to understand where their products could provide better solutions to these educators’ challenges.

They launched a “Grade Your LMS” poll and research initiative. The results of the study exposed significant dissatisfaction among teachers and administrators with many commonplace LMS offerings in the market.

The insights Edsby gleaned from the study shaped their marketing messaging and sales strategy. They could now showcase their LMS’s features and benefits in contrast to their competitors’ documented shortcomings. The survey results also helped secure coverage in influential education trade publications, further increasing Edsby’s U.S. brand awareness and market credibility.

CB&A, a FINN Partners Company, has over 30 years of experience of fusing education brands’ data-driven evidence with their inspirational “why.” Curious how we can help you forge deeper connections with education decision-makers? Reach out.