Guest Post by Sooraj Divakaran Marketing Manager – Digital & New Media at Zee Learn.
The year 2012 had many milestones and the launch Aakash 2 Tablet was one among them. As many of you already know Aakash is an initiative of government of India to make quality education accessible to all. It brings us to the question how is private sector contributing to the initiative of making educational products or services accessible to all?
Conventional Buying Cycle for an Education Product/Service:
The prospect/student decides on the stream/course that he/she wants to opt for based on the knowledge gathered from parents, relatives, friends, academicians/faculty etc. Once the course/stream has been zeroed upon the prospect visits the respective institutes providing the course and then finally decides which institute he/she wants to join.
New Buying Cycle:
Today the conventional buying cycle has changed primarily due to emergence of technology which makes information easily available and decision making becomes a lot easier. An offline research conducted by TNS Australia on behalf of Google India revealed that over 60 percent Indian students, who have access to Internet, use it as their first source to research for information related to educational courses and institutes.
So what are the conventional set-ups doing about it? They start off by setting up a website which is nothing more than a visiting card placed on the web and later focus on online lead generation to tap the growing number of online users. Most conventional set-ups don’t have a technology or an online marketing team and solely depend on an agency/vendor to take care of their online initiatives.
For instance in case of test preparation conventional set-ups couldn’t catch up with the new age start-ups. Grockit a social learning start-up in test preparation segment claims that around 27% percent GMAT students in India have used their website to prepare for the test. The website provides series of full-length & sectional tests, has the best tutors across the world available to the students and also focuses on elements of gamification to make whole process of preparing for the test interesting for the students. Selling to an online user requires a different mind-set one that focuses on value addition rather than selling the product/service itself.
Selling Education Products/Services:
How is selling an education product/service different from selling any other product/services? Let’s say that you want to buy noodles what would you do? Probably head to a super market or the nearby convenience store and buy a pack of Maggi. While in case of educational product the prospect wouldn’t engage in impulsive buying as buying an education product/service is an emotional decision as it is a high involvement product. For instance in case of higher education the decision making process could take anywhere from 4 – 52 weeks as the prospect starts the decision making process in pre-final year .
Today some conventional set-ups have realized the importance of lead nurturing and classify the leads into different maturity buckets and provide them with quality content via newsletters, blog and applications. This helps the brand to be in the consideration set no matter when the lead decides to buy the product. Education brands have to consider themselves as content providers/publishers due to unquenchable thirst for knowledge the prospects have before buying the product/service.
IProf a Noida based educational start-up which runs digilibrary.com provides access to webinars on different topics to its users at a nominal cost of 100 Rs per webinar. The users can assess the quality of content and based on their experience they upgrade to be a paid user. The content is also made available to the user on multiple devices whether the user is using a laptop or a tablet.
Internet usage in India is growing at a very healthy rate and as per the recent estimate we are expected to have 300 million internet users by 2015. While many conventional start-ups have adopted the change and have to moved to a brick & mortar model but are yet to catch up with new age educational start-ups. As in case of any business change will happen gradually as mentioned by late American education reformer John Dewey “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.”
About Sooraj Divakaran
Marketing Professional by choice and blogger by night. Fortunate to have worked with two of the largest educational brands in the country. Currently leading the online marketing department for a leading educational brand.