It was the Best of Times
At age 60(+), I have been around the education game a long time. And in all my years, I don’t think I have ever seen a time with this much promise for our learners. Because of the confluence of events leading up to this very moment, and especially because of the Coronavirus pandemic and the enormous shift in thinking and behavior it caused, education has pressed fast-forward and progressed a dozen or more years in the past 12 months.
And then the rains came. First, the CARES Act and its $13 billion to K-12, then the CARES Part 2 and an unreal $54 billion, and finally the American Rescue Plan and an obscene $130 billion more for K-12 schools.
Suffice it to say, if schools want to buy it right now, they can. But what does that mean to you, the men and women that run the companies that supply our learners with, well, everything?
I was talking with one of my friends last week who is in the public relations and marketing business, and whose clientele is exclusively education-related. She said last year, education companies generally aligned themselves in three camps. Those who did very little marketing or pulled back to conserve funds. Those who did the same or a little more. And those who went all-out.
Those who pulled back to conserve funds did not fare well, maintaining or slipping market share. Virtually everyone else seemed to do well, and those companies that increased marketing saw better than expected returns.
Last year was a record year for EdTech spending, due to the increased need for additional technology and more than adequate funding. This year, it is difficult to predict. Last year, schools and districts were buying under pressure with an intense need to make remote learning successful. This year, schools and districts are buying under a different kind of pressure. They have money they literally have to spend. A lot of money. Mad money. Crazy money. Schools and districts have their check books out. And they are ready.
What that means to you is you need to get out in front of them now. You can’t wait another week. Another day. Another moment. As soon as the PO comes out, it is already too late.
My friend in the marketing and PR business told me that many of the companies that offer pathways to schools and districts are running low on inventory. Ads, podcasts and webinars are getting booked, or are already sold out.
At the risk of appearing self-serving, I’d like to introduce you to Annette Erwin at the Learning Counsel. She has the ability to help companies find avenues that lead directly to school districts who need them. You can email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. But don’t wait.
One of the reasons that Annette is so successful at what she does is because she does not simply accept solicitations from companies to sponsor her events, podcasts, webinars and papers. Instead, she and her team hand-select sponsors that are needed by our school districts. It is a different way to do business, but it works much better for our schools, and works much better for our sponsors as well. It requires an understanding of the market and some major-league skill on her part, but the bottom line is everyone wins. Especially our learners.
About the author
Charles Sosnik is an education journalist and editor and serves as Editor in Chief at the Learning Counsel. An EP3 Education Fellow, he uses his deep roots in the education community to add context to the education narrative. Charles is a frequent writer and columnist for some of the most influential media in education, including the Learning Counsel, EdNews Daily, EdTech Digest and edCircuit. Unabashedly Southern, Charles likes to say he is an editor by trade and Southern by the Grace of God.