Since March 2020, federal lawmakers have passed three COVID-19 relief bills that together provide billions of dollars in emergency aid for K-12 schools. This Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding is playing a key role in companies’ marketing efforts.
According to a CB&A survey, 56 percent of respondents have linked their education marketing strategy or messaging to the availability of ESSER funding. Another 15 percent said they’re in the process of doing so.
Respondents who have incorporated emergency relief funding into their business-to-education (B2E) marketing have taken a variety of approaches.
For instance, 84 percent said they’ve created content pieces explaining how education buyers can leverage this funding to purchase their products—and 63 percent said they’ve contacted existing customers or prospects with information about how their products are allowable expenditures for ESSER funding. Companies have also used social media to disseminate this message, and they’ve trained their sales reps to bring it up in conversations with clients.
The majority of respondents (74 percent) said it was either too soon to tell how successful these efforts have been, or else the response they have gotten has been similar to other initiatives. Of those who have seen definitive results from connecting their marketing to the availability of pandemic relief aid, nearly three times as many said they’ve had a better response from these efforts (19 percent) than those who have seen worse results (7 percent).
Twenty-five percent of companies said they have purchased lists and marketed their products as eligible for ESSER funding to schools they haven’t done business with before. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that B2E marketers will have better success if they adopt a more strategic approach by targeting schools with whom they’ve established a prior relationship.
“We do not purchase lists due to our generally poor results,” one respondent said. Another noted: “Our feeling is that this should be handled as an ‘oh, by the way’ rather than leading with it. If prospects respond that their budget doesn’t allow for our solutions, our reps bring up that funding is available and our solutions are eligible.”
For more insights into B2E marketing during the pandemic, including three key lessons that companies have learned over the last 18 months, you can read the full survey report here.