Helping to bring quality education materials and services to schools for over 30 years.

Still Marketing by the Seat of Your Pants?

One Simple Tool that Helps You Rule

Sep 23, 2019

By Bob Stimolo

Imagine building a house with nothing but your hands, or making marketing decisions by throwing darts.  That’s not too far afield from how many of us manage our marketing programs.  However, there are marketing tools that will allow us to make more intelligent decisions about our strategies.  Too few of us understand or make use of them.

Teachers in Customer Schools are Better Prospects

Educators in schools where we have customers are more likely to be exposed to our products.  Teachers talk and share.  If a teacher is pleased with your product other teachers in that school are going to know about it.  If you have sold something to the school, you are also an approved vendor.  Teachers in schools where someone has purchased your product are better prospects.

You can take advantage of this phenomenon by matching your customer file to an education database and identifying all the schools where you have customers.  You can also include sales data so you can rate the matched schools based on the level of sales that you have there.  This tool is called a “match”.

More than You Ever Wanted to Know

A byproduct of this process is a report that allows you to see your customer and sales penetration by virtually every data variable in the database.  In some cases as many as 112 data variables in all.  You can learn the relative importance of school types, household income of the community, ethnic composition of the student body, technology spending, test scores in reading, writing, science and math and much, much, more.  By including your sales data in the match, you can learn which data variables correlate with your sales success.

Match Rates are Free

You can find out what your match rate is for free.  You don’t get any reports or data but you learn how many schools and how many educator names will be matched.  This also allows you to get a complete quotation on the cost of completing the match process so that you can decide whether to proceed.  If you decide the match rate is too low or the cost too great, you’re under no obligation to proceed and there is no bill.

Even though your business may only sell into the education market, match rates for schools run between 55 and 65 percent. Match rates for educator names run between 30 and 40 percent.  But the process can still lead you to a significant number of prospects in schools where you have customers.

Thousands of Prime Prospects

For example, if your customer file consists of 10,000 educators, you should match approximately 6,000 schools and 3,500 names.  If the average school has 30 teachers, one could identify 186,000 educators in schools where a customer was known to exist.  Few of us mail all the teachers in a school, so let’s say on average we target 20% of the teachers.  That would represent more than 36,000 prime prospect targets, less the 3,500 customers or a net of 32,500 prime prospects.  If you have 20,000 customers, double these numbers, 30,000 customers triple them, and so forth.

In addition to prime prospects you also learn what types of schools buy from you and how much they buy.  You learn where they are located, what their demographics are, what kind of programs they have, what kind of funding they have and, literally, more information than you can digest in a single sitting.

Lots to Gain and Nothing to Lose

The match rate, the size of your house file of customers and the margin you enjoy on your sales are the factors that decide whether undertaking this process makes economic sense.  That’s why the process of determining what the match rate will be is free of charge.  You have nothing to lose and a great deal to gain.  I can walk you through this process.  Contact me at rstimolo@smriinc.com or 800-838-3444 x205 and let’s see if this marketing tool makes sense for you.