Education Marketing Strategy

Doing Good While Doing Well: 5 Tips to Authentically Connect Your Education Company’s Mission and Business Growth

By March 19, 2024June 6th, 2024No Comments
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Altruism is a fundamental driver for education companies. Your commitment to help students and teachers succeed motivates you to keep going. That might seem obvious, and you might even wonder whether it’s worth highlighting in your marketing. It is. 

In fact, strategically incorporating your company’s mission into your messaging can lead to better financial performance. This is important as the business of education continues to “grow up” as a category. Reach Capital reports that edtech companies have raised more than $16 billion in investment capital over the last three years. Competition is increasing. And as the end of the ESSER-era stimulus funding looms, now is the time to lean into altruism to differentiate your education company.

Here’s how to articulate your altruistic spirit—without crossing the line into pandering—in order to secure a competitive advantage.

1. Strike the right balance of purpose-driven and commercial messaging

You don’t need to choose between feel–good messaging and content that moves your prospective buyer through the decision-making process. These elements are complementary. 

Appealing to a sense of greater purpose tends to come more naturally for early stage, founder-led companies. Your passion is personal, and it shines through. Making an impact is the reason you took the risk to start an education business in the first place.

However, mission-driven messaging can be challenging for larger companies and companies backed by private equity. This is partly due to how few marketers in larger companies have a background in education. While smaller companies tend to overplay their values to the point of sounding too sentimental, far more companies do a poor job of connecting their mission to their marketing. 

You’ll want to find a spot between those two extremes. Consider running some tests to see how your messaging is landing with your target audience. You can gather this feedback informally with customers who already know and love your company. Or you can collect input through a more formal research channel, such as a focus group. Time and again, we’ve seen education companies have that moment of realization where they say, “I never would have thought people were interpreting our messaging that way.” 

2. Create messaging that reflects your audience’s commitment to making a positive impact

Education leaders are unique—in more ways than one. Even more than average consumers, these purchasers are likely to gravitate toward companies with a do-good mission. They want to know their commercial partners are equally devoted to their students’ success. 

They’re also “in it” for the long haul. EdWeek Market Brief revealed that forty-four percent of superintendents previously worked as principals, and 43 percent of principals most recently worked as assistant principals. It seems despite the challenges and stressors that these educators endure, they remain committed to the cause as they climb the career ladder. 

If you want your messaging to resonate with your target audience, acknowledge both their expertise and commitment in your communications. These essential personas want to know that you’re their ally in improving students’ and teachers’ lives.

3. Be realistic about your impact

A large portion of your target market consists of educational experts with deep subject knowledge. It’s crucial that your messaging is as precise and substantiated as it is altruistic. Avoiding broad claims or lofty overstatements will help you convey credibility.

For example, if your business offers a commoditized product like headphones, claiming that you’re reimagining education will come off as a stretch. But that doesn’t mean your product isn’t improving the lives of teachers and students in smaller ways throughout the school day. Be specific about how your product helps. 

Specificity is key when it comes to impact. If you speak generically about “having a positive impact,” you’re missing an opportunity to differentiate your brand from other education products and services with similar objectives. To avoid adding to the noise of ordinary education companies, make sure you showcase specific customer testimonials, efficacy research, and other data that proves to education purchasers that you know the true value of your solutions.

4. Make your customer the hero 

One of the best ways you can highlight your company’s philanthropic motivations is to showcase your results in your customers’ own words. 

Because your purchasers are leaders in education, they’re more likely to be swayed by testimonials from other educators in the field. A customer testimonial or case study also offers opportunities to speak specifically about how your tools and services improve the educational experience, which will differentiate you from your competitors.

5. Find an objective perspective to hone your unique, authentic messaging

Aligning on how to authentically use your mission to expand your business can be challenging for internal teams. For one, agreeing on the right message and how to articulate it genuinely is difficult. And there are always going to be competing ideas and priorities among sales and marketing decision-makers. 

Bringing in an objective perspective with extensive knowledge of the education market can help. A clear-eyed view on how to incorporate a sense of altruism into your marketing efforts can give your education company a competitive edge to ensure you can continue making a difference. 

Ready to marry your mission with your marketing? We can help. Reach out to us.