Articles Posted in Marketing Management

Great marketing infuses a brand promise into everything a company does. It isn’t about the slogan – it is making the promise come alive for your customers in every small detail.


In honor of a Thanksgiving traipse down the tryptophan trail enjoy the images below from the Heart Attack Grill. They make a very simple promise and then drive it into every single thing the company does with quality and humor. They are also unabashedly politically incorrect.

They have done something remark-able – people will talk about it. TV news has covered it, blogs have been covering it, and radio is in on the act.

In education – where at least 50% of everyone’s sales come from referrals – this ability to be remark-able is essential. Yet we are saddled again and again with conservative copycat sample brochures and catalogs that could have been printed 15 or 20 years ago. What are you doing to make your products, services, and company remark-able?

I’m not suggesting that you mock 50 years of public health announcements – but just look at how they made a big promise and then delivered on it.

I don’t think this translates directly into the education publishing market – institutional sales have to be politically correct as anyone who has tangled with the California Legal and Social Compliance guidelines can attest to. The reason I’m highlighting it is that it is a stark example of driving the brand promise into the operations – taking messaging beyond empty slogans that no one believes or pays attention to.

First the menu:


When you are done get wheeled out to your car by a “nurse”


Follow below the fold for more hilarity.

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870607_braeburn_1Products designed for the classroom must meet the needs of teachers first. If students are the primary users of your instructional materials this may sound a little backwards – but it isn’t. Teachers can make or break your product before a student ever sees it.

Designing for teacher ease-of-use should be a core competency at any education publisher.

Today we tackle issue #4 in the series on selling and marketing to educators.

Another entry in our sporadic series on bad marketing.

This video is hilarious. I love the “my daughter didn’t get it” and “we’ve love it but have some minor tweaks.” I’ve been known to say the latter.

From the target market definition to the creative it skewers slack thinking and over-engineering.

ertydfhcghDo you need to pick a target market when entering the education market? One of the true signs of a rookie is a business plan built on selling to all schools. Just because all schools should be using your widget doesn’t mean they are ready to buy it.

Picking a target market is a discipline many people try to avoid – they don’t like getting boxed in. Others don’t understand just how big the education market is or think all schools are the same. If you are in love with your product you may resist the idea that some schools don’t want it or don’t need it.

Today we tackle issue #2 in our series on selling and marketing to educators. As a consultant in the education market I work with a wide range of businesses. This series covers the common execution errors I see with new executives and companies when they enter the market.

1068068_hortensia_leaf_with_old_key_1Rookies in the education market make a set of common mistakes. There are five concepts you need to grasp about selling to schools that will help you avoid execution error as you enter the learning market. Consider these the iron laws of marketing to public schools. Accept them, nay embrace them, and your job will be easier.

In my consulting practice I go through these topics with almost all clients who are entering this market from other industries or countries. In this series I will post my thoughts on each of these rules and I welcome your comments and reactions. We will cover:

Part 1. Obey the calendar. Schools buy on a regular schedule, design your business around it.

458233_buns_and_other_festive_treatsPiping hot education related blog topics served here! The debate over formative assessment, the top 10 sites for educational games, crowd-sourcing the next great novel, controversy around Microsoft’s new ads, the relationship between quality and advertising, and a hilarious spoof of Politicians all get the nod this week.

Education Week has a very interesting article about Formative Assessment. Given the burgeoning mantra that formative assessment makes the biggest difference in outcomes it is revealing to see how little consensus there is on what it really is. Is it a practice or is it a product?

John Rice has a list of the top 10 sites for free EduGames. It is worth a peek and linking through to get a sense of what kids are actually playing. This should dispel the myth that EduGames need to rival commercial games in graphics and sound. What matters most is fun game play.

0808_ecpEducation Channel Partner published a story I wrote about partnerships for companies that serve the education market. Whether you are a textbook publisher, an education technology developer, a fellow management consultant, or a reseller/dealer I hope you will find some useful ideas in the article. Think of it as Business Development 101 for education.

Too many partnerships fail because the partners didn’t work through all the questions they needed to address individually and mutually. This article attempts to lay out a process for evaluating partnerships and a partnership taxonomy to help determine what kinds of partnerships are right for your company. It draws on my experiences at Apple, Chancery, Pearson, and Harcourt.

From the blurb:

Death_By_PowerpointPowerpoint slides are “glance media” just like billboards. Today’s post by Garr Reynolds at Presentation Zen is an excellent synopsis of how billboards can inform slide design.

His post builds on Nancy Duarte’s Slide:ology where she sets the standard for glance media – “Ask yourself whether your message can be processed effectively within three seconds.”

In a marginally related segue I’ve been reading Daniel Gilbert’s “Stumbling on Happiness”. Today’s best insight:

Overloaded carSchools are inundated with paper and instructional materials at this time of year. Those of us who build education products and create marketing collateral should be cognizant of is how wasteful so much of this is.

In our personal lives many of us go through the “more shelves or less stuff” debate all the time, and all too often we end up at Ikea with another Sbrorg shelving unit strapped to the top of the car.

Please stop.

Idea SpiderEducation technology bloggers have been a busy lot with NECC 08, end of school year, and lots of new products to play with. Here are just a smattering of some of my favorite posts from the past few weeks. Enjoy.

John Rice flagged an article showing that putting games in libraries increases reading. This jibes with a presentation I saw last week at Games Learning & Society – a public librarian started doing game nights and they saw their youth circulation double – for BOOKS. This is going to make several people in my house happy – Mrs. Education Business Blog is a middle school librarian and the EBB spawn are avid gamers and readers.

Danah Boyd shares some meaty insights on status and online behavior for teens. The money quote: