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May 20, 2020  |  Larry Buchweitz

Advice in the Uncertainty

Like you, I’m monitoring the changing education environment and riding the highs and lows of the news cycle.  What is increasingly clear as we “open” the country is that starting up has extensive, complex requirements.  As a result, our districts and schools are having to plan for multiple scenarios.  The pressure on the education professionals we serve is only complicated by the waiting that is a part of this pandemic…waiting for tests, waiting for treatments, waiting for the vaccine.  And planning for how to function while we wait.

Last week I reached out to a few respected colleagues in the education market to hear more about what they are learning from education business partners, from districts and schools, and for their advice for navigating the uncertainty.

Here’s what they had to say.

 

The most significant thing I’ve heard from an educator since the onset of COVID-19 is…

…teachers and students need emotional support now and into the fall.

Annie Galvin Teich, President, The Teich Group, Inc.  ateich@theteichgroup.net, 336-255-8405

…they are overwhelmed with "free" offers  

…we're dealing with a LOT of big issues

Mitch Weisburgh, mitch.weisburgh@academicbiz.com  https://blog.academicbiz.com/

…a superintendent shared with me that his teachers were getting calls from angry parents because their kids were not staying engaged online!

Jacob Hanson, CEO PR with Panache!  jacob@prwithpanache.com

…that they can do the "impossible" ... i.e., NYC was distributing 20,000 devices a day to students in need, all with connectivity built in, for free... 300,000 devices total!!

…as states have eased and suspended some of the regulations that have been lifted regarding education, like seat time, should not return when this is over.

Jill Abbott, Sr. Vice President and Managing Director, SIIA Education

…plans are being made for 4 possible return to school dates.

Charlene Blohm, President, C. Blohm & Associates, Inc. (CB&A), charlene@cblohm.com

 

What is the most important advice you would share with an education services vendor?

Sales have not stopped, but they have shifted; adjust your marketing efforts accordingly and work with district leaders to solve problems.

Charlene Blohm, President, C. Blohm & Associates, Inc. (CB&A), charlene@cblohm.com

Create a dialog with educators about their needs, not your product.

Be helpful and be empathetic, while this tragedy could be a great opportunity at the same time, that will only come to fruition if you approach it right.

Jacob Hanson, CEO PR with Panache!  jacob@prwithpanache.com

Be a partner. Be helpful. Offer useful content to help them tackle one or more of the current challenges. Don't be a hard sell.

Annie Galvin Teich, President, The Teich Group, Inc.  ateich@theteichgroup.net, 336-255-8405

Focus on your relationships and serving the clients and the sector you know.         

Be patient and be sympathetic!

Mitch Weisburgh, mitch.weisburgh@academicbiz.com   https://blog.academicbiz.com/

Develop your products to meet the needs of all students and with online learning at the forefront. We have an opportunity for innovation. Continue working closely with your users – including families.

Jill Abbott, Sr. Vice President and Managing Director, SIIA Education

 

What is the top marketing and/or sale activity you would double-down on now as the school year ends?

On demand HOW TO use my product remotely - webinars, YouTube, podcasts, knowledge databases. I call it NURTURE CAMPAIGNS.

SEO- if anything this crisis has identified is that outside of their circles of friends/influence, educators and administrators turn to search engines for help!   

Jacob Hanson, CEO PR with Panache!  jacob@prwithpanache.com

Retraining/retooling the sales team to close all the leads generated with "free" offers during the early days of the pandemic.        

Charlene Blohm, President, C. Blohm & Associates, Inc. (CB&A), charlene@cblohm.com

Connect with and listen to your customers and make memorable experiences. Don't stop advertising by creating rich content and information. Celebrate your customers in some way.   

Jill Abbott, Sr. Vice President and Managing Director, SIIA Education

Webinars. Everyone is home and can focus on learning new things. Provide guidance, strategies, and ideas to help your customers navigate the uncertainty of this time and its impact on students.

Annie Galvin Teich, President, The Teich Group, Inc.  ateich@theteichgroup.net, 336-255-8405

Professional development, remote learning, data privacy, career planning.   

Be a listener and find ways to help with problems even if they are not something your company solves.   

Mitch Weisburgh, mitch.weisburgh@academicbiz.com   https://blog.academicbiz.com/

 

What is the one challenge ahead for districts/schools that no one is talking about?

Servicing special education.

How we can better support families at home during times of online learning.

Jill Abbott, Sr. Vice President and Managing Director, SIIA Education

What happens if schools move to a hybrid model with remote and campus-based learning. How will parents respond to students still at home part time when they have to work?

Annie Galvin Teich, President, The Teich Group, Inc.  ateich@theteichgroup.net, 336-255-8405

People are talking about learning loss, but not necessarily what to do about it. This summer is a good time to retrain staff to provide reading (and math) interventions for when we finally do return to the classroom.

Charlene Blohm, President, C. Blohm & Associates, Inc. (CB&A), charlene@cblohm.com

There are two: 1) budget cuts of 10-20%, and 2) having to deal with mixed type of instruction next year. 

Mitch Weisburgh, mitch.weisburgh@academicbiz.com   https://blog.academicbiz.com/

How many schools face closure due to the shortcomings in local tax bases, that will create another issue as it will increase class sizes.

Jacob Hanson, CEO PR with Panache!  jacob@prwithpanache.com

That this is not over. Educators need to plan for sudden closures in the fall when outbreaks will resume.

 

 

SNEAK PEEK

  • 60% of district and school leaders are making purchasing decisions NOW.
  • Another 40% will be making decisions through September.
Are you actively connecting with prospective buyers?
MCH can help.
800-776-6373
 

COMING SOON:

National survey of district and school leaders’ experience with the coronavirus pandemic.

We’re excited to be working with IESD on a research survey of 1,465 respondents including more than 600 district administrators and more than 800 school principals.

Our goal is to help you with a national sample of feedback to help shape plans for the 2020-2021 school year.

LOOK FOR INFORMATION ON HOW TO GET THIS VALUABLE RESEARCH NEXT WEEK!

 

Hard Data for the Road Ahead…

Uncertainty is the theme for the times we are in but having real insight can help shape plans.  My team here at MCH is focused on providing the changes in district plans for opening physical buildings, as well as the ways instruction is being delivered.  We’re tracking new funding from the CARES act to create new data selection that help you use our data most effectively to target new spending opportunities.

In an earlier post, I shared how important it is to stay visible and provide value during this time.  Stopping marketing is not the way through this challenge.  Give me a call if you want to talk about the best way to plan your road ahead.

Be well,

Larry 

 

 

 

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