Ypulse Guest Post: Five Things Marketers Can Learn from NECC 2008
- July 10th, 2008
- 1 Comments
Today’s Ypulse Guest Post is from Derek Baird. I met Derek when he was working with Yahoo! For Teachers, and we collaborated on the Totally Wired Teacher award at last year’s Mashup. Derek is an technology consultant, speaker, and author specializing in new & social media, mobile technology, Gen Y, e-learning, youth marketing, educational media and online communities. Check out his blog here. If you work in youth media or marketing and have an idea for a Ypulse Guest Post, email me!
Gen Y, Education & Learning: Five Things Marketers Can Learn from NECC 2008
Last week more than 17,000 educators, technology coordinators, administrators and educational technologists gathered in San Antonio, Texas, to attend the 29th Annual National Educational Computing Conference (NECC). The event is sponsored by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). The theme for 2008 was “Connect, Convene, Transform.”
Raised in the “always on” world of interactive media, the Internet and social media technologies, Generation Y has different expectations and learning styles than previous generations, and teachers are looking for new and creative ways to integrate School 2.0 into their classrooms.
Why are teachers such an important demographic for youth marketers? In the U.S., there are nearly 1 million K-6 teachers and 58,000 principals who influence 25 million school-aged students, who in turn influence the purchasing decisions for 28 million parents (Source: 2004 U.S. Census Bureau).
Here are some lessons from NECC 2008 that marketers can use to effectively reach out to the education community:
Do Your Homework: Teachers, like their Gen Y students, are very savvy when it comes to vendors, marketing and education. Remember, even when they have their back to the classroom, teachers can tell if you’re chewing gum. So if you’re going to pitch a product or service to educators or students, make sure that you are transparent, authentic and know what you’re talking about.
Stop Talking: Educators, by nature, are experts on sharing narrative feedback with their students. Many times however, when educational products and services are pitched to teachers, it is a one way conversation. If you want to market products in the education space, you must build a relationship of trust and create an open environment where two-way conversations can take place. If you want that golden feedback on your product, then stop talking and start listening.
Teachers Are Professionals: Don’t expect teachers to share their knowledge for free—if you have a “teacher focus group,” then pay them for their time. Nothing will turn teachers against your product faster than co-opting their ideas and feedback without some sort of remuneration and/or recognition. Remember that teachers are professionals, most with advanced degrees, and should be treated accordingly.
It’s About Learning, Not Technology: This year the NECC exhibit hall was packed with vendors touting the benefits of their Web 2.0 tools, services and student learning communities. Predictably many of the vendors messaging focused solely on how educators could use social media as a way to control, block or monitor student behavior online.
While student discipline and safety are a big part of an educator’s daily routine, teaching and student learning are their primary objectives. However, many of the vendors failed to explain how their product could support student learning. So when it comes to educational social media—stop adding fuel to the “MySpace-itis” fire and instead focus on students, learning and their digital learning styles.
Do Good: One of my former colleagues at Yahoo! used to have a mantra: “We can do good and do well.” Gen Y students are totally wired and the “Flat World” isn’t an abstract view of the future, it’s their reality. Increasingly teachers are looking for ways to interject global, local and other types of social awareness programs and curriculum into their classroom.
Educational programs that provide avenues for teachers and students to connect with other classrooms to “do good” can also provide you with an opportunity to build brand awareness with youth and allow you to “do well” at the same time. Tiger, Oprah, MTV, Target and Microsoft are already doing it, why aren’t you?