Category Archives: Education

If I (only) had 100 marketing dollars

Fair warning: This advice is going to piss off a lot of advertising sales reps.

A question I get fairly often is, “Where should I spend my marketing budget?” The hidden question in the question is Blasieholmen_1930that there are magical tactics, unknown to mere mortals, that will propel market awareness and sales to Olympian heights.

There aren’t, of course. But there are tactics for any new tech-related product in the new decade which are definite musts. And a lot more are “it depends.” Or even “hell no.”

Now for the Olympus-sized caveat. This advice works best for a digital product or service launched by a start-up with a limited budget. It was originally developed for education technology products, a market which has characteristics of both business-to-business/government sales (administrators) and business-to-consumer sales (teachers). I originally delivered it at the 2010 Software and Information Industry Association Ed Tech Business Forum in New York City. But there are nuggets in here for everyone, especially in the “musts.” Continue reading If I (only) had 100 marketing dollars

How not to win awards

I have just wrapped up my reponsibilities as a first-round judge in one of the longest-running, most prestigious award competitions in technology and education. And what entered companies go through in their efforts to avoid winning amaze me.

In the interests of protecting the clueless (or perhaps in this economy, resourceless), I won’t name the companies. Or even the competition. But if you’d like to waste your award entry money, you do so can very efficiently by following these three easy steps: Continue reading How not to win awards

Blog canary in ed tech coal mine

It’s an odd reflection on the bubble the tech industry lives in — and simultaneously a sobering commentary on tech adoption in the education market — that there is still discussion of blogs being “new” in 2009.

But inside the education industry, even among the largest players, there are debates about whether or when to blog. Pros and cons were dutifully outlined for an article I wrote for the Software and Information Industry Association’s new book, The Expert’s Guide to the K-12 School Market, Second Edition. You can find an excerpt that succinctly outlines the pros and cons of companies blogging on the Selling to Schools site.

The full article in the book also includes a nine-step checklist to follow before starting a company or product blog. And, as you’ll note, the pros and cons and checklist apply to any business — not just those in the education market.

So why is this article curious? Continue reading Blog canary in ed tech coal mine

Tech toys that don’t teach

With the official start of the holiday shopping season, are you tempted to buy a toy that’s both fun and educational for the tot?

Better focus on the fun. A fascinating piece in the UK newspaper The Guardian states that a government-funded study found — when it comes to three- and four- year old children — that high-tech preschool toys “are no more effective than traditional ways of introducing basic literacy and number skills.”

Instead, the study notes, toy laptops and mobile phones are better as aids for imaginative play than education. Continue reading Tech toys that don’t teach