Nerdies – ISTE Marketing Awards

IMG_0052What could be nerdier than a huge ed-tech trade show? It has technology, teachers, curriculum, and lot of gee whiz bang products. I’m sure a couple of the hotels had mad D&D sessions going late into the night.

I’ll tell you what is nerdier – judging the marketing efforts at said trade show. Welcome to my world.

Most K12 education technology companies launch new products at ISTE. Companies go all out to put their best foot forward which means it is the fairest opportunity we have each year to pass judgement on the quality of their marketing.

The esteemed Panel of Judge (ahem) spent several hours wandering around casting jaded eyes on this year’s offerings. It won’t surprise close observers of the market that the mad scramble around Interactive White Boards is where the most intense competition and best marketing are happening. Both winners are in this space.

Best In Show

Proving that great marketing doesn’t have to cost a lot of money this year’s winner is eInstruction’s Mobi View. Their t-shirt (two views below) captured the entire core messaging. I didn’t even need to see the product to know EXACTLY what it did. Brilliant, elegant, fun, memorable, plus cheap. All the things that make great marketing captured in a stack of $10 t-shirts.

Mobi View t-shirt ISTE IMG_0233

This proves that in the Interactive White Board scrum where behemoths like SMART and Promethean are dominating the messaging that a scrappy and creative team can get noticed without blowing the budget.

Most Questionable Use of Marketing Budget

Proving that spending a lot of money doesn’t translate into coherent marketing, Polyvision takes the prize for their booth fountain. It was pretty, but in most classrooms I’ve seen sensitive electronics and open water don’t share the same space. It wasn’t clear what the take away from this stunt was – if there was a product related message in the fountain it wasn’t obvious to me.

Polyvision Fountain

I like Polyvision’s technology and I’m sensitive to the need to do something to stand out in a crowded field. But eInstruction is in the same space and managed to that without resorting to this kind of empty showmanship.

About the only positive thing I can think of is that is created a zen like space of reflection and calm amidst all the jangling advertising going on across the floor.

Now if I could just find the World of Warcraft LAN party….