Alison Clark-Wilson and Canan Blake, of EDUCATE’S research team, outline the importance of knowing your audience
Learners, teachers, and parents are the main stakeholders of EdTech products and services. It is almost always necessary to know your users – the learners – and the people who are choosing the product for them – often teachers and parents. You need to be able to communicate effectively with these stakeholders and find out about their educational concerns or needs.
Teachers will often give you ideas to help you to build the best solutions and parents often choose what kind of resources their child will have access to. It is also important to get policy makers and investors (other important stakeholders for EdTech) on your side so that you will be able to address the more global requirements and problem areas on the EdTech landscape.
It is not easy to arrange meetings to introduce your product so, when you do get the chance, it is very important to present it in a way to make sure its features are clear to your audience and you are more aware of their needs.
You also need to keep in mind that, most of the time, your main users are not the ‘buyers’. Teachers or parents make the selection for their pupils/children – school leaders buy for their teachers.
So, let’s look at how you should be presenting your EdTech to people! The following steps might help:
- Get their attention by describing your EdTech briefly – but at the same time make sure you explain clearly what it is that your product does and how it is going to help them for different school or classroom settings.
- Give them a chance to explain their difficulty to you. For example, if you are presenting a reading help solution, ask them about the reading level of children in the school and about the areas that the school and the students struggle with.
- Listen to the answer you are given. You may only get one shot at this and may need to train your team to be mindful of this. This information will help you to tailor your response to them in later conversations.
- Connect their problem area with your product’s offerings. You should be able to suggest ways to implement your solution and give information about how much time it will require.
- Show them your evidence and examples of learners’ use of the product in ways that achieve impact. This needs to be very clear and easy to understand, but be prepared to present more detailed explanations, if necessary. Having visuals and explaining how your product helps learners in clear terms are necessary, as well as keeping the focus on learners.
- Ask if they can see how your product can help them. If the answer is yes then you can begin to explore how to provide the solution to them. This is when you can start talking about purchasing and pricing, support, student data protection, access and accounts.