At the crossroads of education and technology stands the EdTech world, innovatively combining the two to create solutions for learning and training.
Hundreds of universities and industries provide online learning options, courses and modules, certifications and professional training targeted at one’s specific interest. Remote learning at one’s own pace and anytime availability are the most significant contributing factors for its rapid growth. Cost-effectiveness is the other factor.
Start-ups are turning into Unicorns in the EdTech sector. As of Nov 2021, there are now 32 EdTech Unicorns worldwide who have collectively raised over $21B of total funding in the last decade and are now collectively valued at $95B+.
They have fought their way to the top by committing several mistakes and then learning from them. We at Areneva believe mistakes are an integral part of learning, but sometimes a big enough mistake leads a working start-up/enterprise to its grave. Some mistakes should be avoided at all costs. Here is a list of 6 such mistakes curated by experts at Areneva.
- Generalized Branding.
Your brand should have its unique tone and voice based on your mission and vision.
People buy the same content/product in a different packet only if the packet is attractive and resonates with their needs and wants. Pretending, generalizations and catchy phrases are out of luck; the value you deliver is your key to success.
Focus on what solution your product can provide and how it is the best fit for the client—no fancy slogans. Your expertise in your niche will attract clients. With EdTech customers being more intelligent and knowledgeable, a genuine and straightforward approach in Branding and Marketing is more productive.
One major mistake that most companies make, especially in their initial years, is the pricing. With numerous competitors plying in the market, sometimes companies undersell their products. But cheap things create an impression of inferior quality. You will look suspicious.
Customer loyalty and traction cannot be won by under-pricing; rather, it takes away the ability to invest in R&D, reinvest in marketing, product improvement, hiring etc., which indeed is a fatal mistake.
3. Poor Market Research.
There is an ecosystem at play in the EdTech industry; teachers, students, parents, administrators, management, district and state-level decision-makers are all part of it.
Market research becomes essential in an EdTech marketing plan. Working on a standard textbook approach works counterproductive in EdTech. An SMB vs standard enterprise or B2C funnel delineation vs B2B may or may not define the buying cycle.
4. Misunderstanding Niche.
K-12, college-level and higher education are all different niches. A single product may seem viable for all but would always be lacking in some way or other. Also, the budgeting and buying process is different, so treating their sales cycles as cohesive is likely to have a marketing team applying the B2C funnel to B2B practices or vice versa.
The enterprise dream in EdTech is real & achievable yet fleeting & fatal at the same time. A single product’s workflows and use cases are so disparate between schools and private businesses that it leads to the risk of diminishing its value in any industry.
Also, it can affect the base of potential customers by mis-marketing the product as one-size-fits-all.
5. Misunderstanding Customer.
With Schools, colleges, teachers, management committees, students and their parents, the state/district level policymakers all being the potential buyer, an EdTech company tends to make the mistake of marketing the wrong plan to the potential buyer.
In simple words, the decision-maker(admin/school/management) is not the end-user(student/parent) and hence may not convert into a buyer if you don’t take inputs of the end-user.
The student’s feedback and confidence of parents and teachers in your product will set the stage for future PR and Brand making, leading to more active users and renewals.
6. Digital Marketing Mistakes.
Word of mouth is the primary source of EdTech promotion, and a big mistake hence would be underestimating the use of social media influencers and the EdTech community.
An honest and unscripted campaign can be the best solution. Use Digital Marketing to create a brand story and product testimonial rather than selling pitches and presenting figure/data graphs.