No. Really. Higher Ed Is Different.
Vendors who work with companies - outside of education - hear it all the time when pitching their wares to EDU: “we’re different. This won’t work for us.”
The vendor smiles. Jockeys. Endeavors to blanket the school in a broad proposition. When they walk it, you might hear gripes like, “they just don’t get it.”
To be fair, they might sometimes be right. As far as any of us in the buzzy EdTech startup world can tell, the tech our alma maters are reliant upon is ancient. Overly structured databases (seemingly) too big to change. Communications tools in desperate need of facelifts. All that sad jazz. Or is it the blues?
But we’re at fault over here on the vendor side, too; especially when hawking “anywhere” products to education.
When a Fortune 1,000 company buys a large format marketing automation package, for example, they build in dozens of new hires to cover things like data cleansing, campaign design, API integrations, content writing and tagging, and a lot more.
And that kind of makes sense for them. Most companies don’t really have a whole lot to say, so marketing is all about campaigns and multi-channel campaigns. And in that way, it’s just a classic campaign. I want a bunch of people who might buy some new gym shoes to see gym shoe content that leads them to buy gym shoes.
Then - boom. Off go the big marketing machine operators to whip up landing pages, calls to action, content and logic based email and other modality campaigns.
Education, however, is not at all like that. Not in the slightest. Why not?
Alumni and others are not *just* interested in one thing from their alma mater. I don’t just want gym shoes, or near eastern studies department news, as it were.
Better, yet, schools are hotbeds for diverse content. We work with some schools that create over 1,000 unique pieces of content as an enterprise every week. And that content, once in QuadHub, shows through analytics to cover 10’s of thousands of topics.
Schools absolutely need better marketing tools, but shiny and new is not necessarily what anyone should be running towards. Automated and personal is the key - concepts that “anywhere” products don’t understand. Nebulous tools = nebulous responses from constituents.
Of course, we love seeing massive enterprises join the ecosystem to advance new thinking and solutions. What I’m most optimistic for is to hear more of these “anywhere” vendors listen for the different their EDU clients need and should expect.