When considering the best ways to sell to schools, it’s easy to understand why the proposition can seem bewilderingly complex and – if you’re approaching the education market for the first time – a little overwhelming.
“Schools” is an awfully large, vague target, and if you think about the educational market as a monolith, you might just shrink back from intimidation. But thankfully, people don’t sell to faceless institutions; they sell to people.
Here’s a look at some of the more common roles and responsibilities education professionals have at the school and the district level. Having a good idea of what they do, how they do it and what their everyday work lives are like will help you in such tasks as creating personas to more finely craft your messaging and approaches and also ensure that you are sending the right information to the right person. (For more on sending it to them at the right time, see Seasons of Success: Mastering the Education Marketing Cycle.)
Principal: The principal manages the day-to-day operations of a school, its staff and its students. Principals make sure that everyone enjoys a safe, productive and enriching learning and working environment.
Assistant Principal: The assistant principal, or vice principal, is responsible for micro-level school management, such as scheduling classes, ordering textbooks and handling student discipline. Depending on the school, this position may have even greater responsibilities, such as evaluating teachers and curriculum.
Curriculum Coordinator: This person develops instructional material; coaches teachers on implementing new curricula and creating lesson plans; and performs assessments, including student testing and teacher observation, to track the effectiveness of new teaching strategies.
Lead Teacher: Also referred to as a Head Teacher, this individual often is the liaison between school leaders and colleagues. The lead teacher mentors other educators and is trusted to help plan curriculum and organize school programs.
Computer and Instructional Technology Coordinator: This individual is responsible for purchasing software, managing technology within a school, and training educators in using edtech in their classrooms.
Superintendent: You may know this person as the chief executive officer or chief school administrator. The superintendent is responsible for the entire district’s education and business operations. How involved they are in the decision-making process depends on the size of the district, but ultimately superintendents are responsible for every purchase made.
Assistant Superintendent: This position supports the superintendent, helping with general district operations and recordkeeping. Some districts have several assistant superintendents who specialize in specific areas, such as administration or curriculum.
Director of Information/Instructional Technology: This is the person responsible for overseeing the use of technology in a district. This individual may recommend and purchase educational technology. He or she may also coordinate educational content and instructional tools to help educators incorporate technology into their curricula and classrooms.
Director of Instruction/Curriculum: The director of instruction or curriculum is responsible for ensuring that a district meets set standards and education goals. This person leads the charge in organizing curriculum, administering it in schools, supervising its implementation, and evaluating its effectiveness across the district.
Purchasing Agent: This individual provides support for education purchasing and makes sure all purchases are compliant with district requirements, fall within established budgets and help the district meet its educational objectives.
(Source: Be Buyer Aware playbook, Agile Education Marketing)
While in schools and districts the principal and superintendent, respectively, may be the final decision makers, they work in collaboration with a variety of education professionals, so it's important to reach out to a mix of influencers and decision makers to get the best results. Making sure that you understand who's involved in the decision making process and could benefit most from your products and services saves both you and your audience time and will give your marketing campaigns more relevancy and better return on investment.