Education Marketing Guide 2017 -

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DEAR SUPPLIER There are some fantastic opportunities for education suppliers to thrive in today’s education market whether you are a small business looking to sell into a few local schools or a large corporation selling high value products and services to multi-academy trusts nationwide. The key to success for 2017 will be in how your business presents its expertise, accreditations and reviews to niche markets using a personalised database, capitalising on a range of well-established online and face to face to exhibiting opportunities while using modern, interactive content. As experts in school procurement and education marketing Incensu has brought together top picks of marketing opportunities for school suppliers in 2017. We predict what we’ll see from the most successful education marketers this year and provide an overview of the UK education sector to help even the newest school suppliers create niche markets within the sector to help drive successful sales.


CONTENT MARKETING FOR 2017 Niche Content Whether you feel that the content you create is suitable for multiple school audiences the point is more whether a school customer feels the content is specifically for them. By tailoring your content to niche audiences you begin to build the relationship you need to drive sales. Suppliers who have done this successfully in the past were those who capitalised on the conversion of schools to academies. By creating content that appeared to be specifically designed for academies they quickly grew a customer base of schools who felt they were being provided with information, goods and services that, as a new academy, they would benefit from. The benefits of niche marketing are that you are able to quickly move away from the vast quantities of generic content being published for schools and begin to dominate in a more unique area. Even suppliers seeking a far greater market share in their industry will find success in breaking their market into niche areas. An email, for example, that appears to be directed to the school business managers of grammar schools in Kent is likely to be seen as far more valuable to the relevant recipient than an email directed to school bursars. Use our Niche Identification Tables to tailor your communication to specific cohorts across the education sector.

Niche Identification Tables – Types of School, Roles & Responsibilities, Education Phases, Subjects, Local Authorities – can be found at the end of this guide.




VIDEO EMBEDDED CONTENT – SCHOOLS IN ACTION Of all the changes in marketing that we’ve seen in recent years the growth of short video storytelling has been the most viral of all. Video provides greater connection with your audience and is a format that schools are consuming more and more. Visual content is growing at a phenomenal pace and is a trend that is set to not only continue in the coming years but to deepen in complexity. We expect to see more demand for immersive content formats such as 360 video and virtual reality with Edtech companies leading the way in such formats to showcase their products and services in action in today’s classrooms and inspirational future learning environments.

INTERACTIVE CONTENT The concept of ‘Marketing flight paths’ is a relatively new one and is important in understanding the value of interactive content to drive sales in a variety of ways to reach the end-goal sale. Every school customer you secure will have reached the point of sale via their own flight path from the point at which they first engaged with your business. The key to greater success within the sector is to ensure a variety of paths to reach the point of sale and the best way to achieve this is through interactive content. Some education suppliers are already doing this very effectively especially where websites are set up in a way to encourage customers to make an early decision about what they are looking for. Great examples include those websites which ask the customer to select their education phase (Primary, Secondary, Key Stage), their role (Head Teacher, School Business Manager, Head of Department, IT Manager) or their business type (Academy, Multi-Academy Trust, Special School, Alternative Provision School).

“One great piece of content will outperform numerous mediocre pieces”





e expect to see the greatest coverage of advertising and public relations being conducted online via a supplier’s own website, with a profile on the National Register of Education Suppliers at, through back-linking activities from reputable education websites, across social media networks and using Pay Per Click. We also expect a supplier to engage in face to face exhibiting to schools whether that’s at a national education trade show (e.g. The Education Show, BETT, The Academies Show) or a local schools networking opportunity. While greatest coverage should be online, suppliers should expect to spend a larger proportion of their marketing budget on face to face advertising due to the cost of such events. This said, suppliers on a tighter budget would benefit from concentrating their marketing efforts online first and planning their face to face strategy once profits increase. Sponsorship opportunities are another effective strategy for building your brand within the education sector. Smaller, local businesses might start out sponsoring a local school sports team or year group planner, for example, while companies with a much bigger stake in the education market may look to provide corporate sponsorship to a national awards event or trade show. It is, however, worth noting that the limited opportunity for main sponsors at such events while, not only coming at a cost (often in the region of thousands if not tens of thousands of pounds) include a vetting procedure to ensure their sponsors are of the highest calibre and standing within the education supply industry.



CONTENT DISPLAYED ON LANDING PAGES A common mistake many education suppliers make is directing schools to their generic home page rather than their education landing page. For some suppliers this poses no problem but for those who have very distinct target markets in addition to education it makes far more commercial sense to direct customers to a more relevant page for them.

REDUCE BOUNCE RATE BY AVOIDING MISLEADING BAIT Gone are the days when customers were drawn in by old style killer headlines such as - Free offer!, You’ll never guess what happened next!, Huge discounts! Today’s customers have been inundated with such clutter in their inboxes for long enough to have become savvy to them. Companies who rely on misleading bait when selling to schools, risk, at best, significant unsubscribe rates and at worst damaging their reputation and future standing with the education sector.


Exhibiting and Advertising Opportunities Recommended Online Exhibiting for 2017 National Register of Education Suppliers – – All year round. A must for all school suppliers – 30% online discount with code GUIDE17

Recommended Face to Face Exhibiting for 2017 BETT Show – ExCeL London – January The Education Show – NEC, Birmingham - March The Academies Show – NEC, Birmingham – November and ExCeL, London - April Education Estates – Manchester Central – October The Higher Education Show – Olympia, London - October

Recommended Print Advertising Independent Education Today Magazine – 20% Discount off Rate Card for Incensu members University Business – 20% Discount off Rate Card for Incensu members Education Technology – 20% Discount off Rate Card for Incensu members The Educator Mag – 50% Discount off Rate Card for Incensu members plus additional benefits The Voice – NASBM Magazine Leadership Focus – NAHT Magazine QA Education Magazine SBM Magazine MyAcademy Magazine Just4SBMs Magazine Academy Magazine Education Business Magazine Teach Primary Teach Secondary







It is widely recognised that consumer decision behaviour across society is increasing in complexity and this is no different for schools. It’s well to remember that the consumers you are selling to in schools are the same consumers who are going through these complex decision making processes in their everyday lives at home. While their budget source and quantity may be somewhat different they still retain many similar habits such as trying to secure best value, understand the market and gain confidence when purchasing as well as the added need for due diligence. In a recent marketing survey of 1,500 consumers of high involvement or high value purchases 86% confirmed they did research before spending, 82% stating they did this research online. The survey also revealed that consumers made an average of 9 visits to 5 different websites over the course of 35 days. Education marketers understanding this consumer behaviour and translating it into their own online marketing channels will see the greatest success. Education suppliers can no longer rely on their one website to do all the work for them but instead need to invest time understanding their business reputation on the sites schools are using when conducting their research. Schools nationwide use the National Register of Education Suppliers at to find, check and compare companies as part of their research. All UK education suppliers need a profile on the register where schools can view their accreditations, read testimonials from head teachers and school business managers, view images of a company’s work with other schools and leave ratings and reviews to benefit other in the education sector. Other platforms where the provision of content is valued by schools include QA Education, Education Business, Leader Magazine online, School Business Manager Magazine online and Education Today to name a few key opportunities.

“Education builds a relationship; pitches help with one moment in time – help create a loyal community of customers eager to listen to your advice. This will reap rewards in the long term”

Smart Insights Survey 2016



E-MAIL MARKETING – HOW TO GET IT RIGHT Reasons to build rather than buy your database

A personally grown database is an education supplier’s most valuable asset

It decreases unsubscribe rates as the contact you have obtained will be expecting communication from you

You can rely on relevant, current contacts

Helps to develop your own niches as a

supplier having first-hand information




What are you paying for? There are companies selling school databases with contact email addresses of head teachers for anywhere between £35 to £2,000. The reality is that you can access the same information through an online search at no cost. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 gives you the right to access recorded information held by public sector organisations and means the contact information for head teachers in schools must be provided upon request. Anyone can make a Freedom of Information request. A quick internet search however should provide you with relatively recent data as many government organisations and other bodies publish previous FOI request responses online. The problem with free access to the schools database is the sheer number of suppliers who choose this option as their primary marketing route. The resulting colossal volumes of email reaching school inboxes makes it necessary for the head teachers’ email to be heavily filtered. You’ll find the email addresses for head teachers on these purchased lists often begin with headteacher@, admin@ and office@ enabling full management by the school reception, secretary or PA before being forwarded on to the head (or in most cases being deleted). The emails that do get through compete directly with hundreds of others from teaching staff, parents, governors, the Department for Education, the school’s current suppliers, well known and well established contacts from other education organisations as well as from other suppliers on a daily basis. Should you choose to opt for a purchased list it’s well worth doing your homework before hand and check the contact list you are buying includes names, roles and direct, rather than generic email addresses.



INFLUENCER MARKETING Ratings and Reviews The practice of rating and reviewing companies has grown exponentially over the last decade. The success of Amazon, Tripadvisor and Trustatrader for example have been built on the very foundations of ratings and reviews and this digital custom shows no sign of slowing down. In fact the habit of reading reviews before making financial decisions is one which is common to many of us. It’s the same for head teachers, school business managers and other school leaders who are keen to read testimonials from other schools before making procurement decisions for their own school. provides the infrastructure to enable schools to openly share their experience of products and services via testimonials, ratings and reviews. Successful suppliers in 2017 will be those maximising their use of testimonials via platforms such as Incensu, through their social media feeds and as a key feature of their website and landing pages. Finding suppliers with a proven track record of providing best value for money and excellent service to schools is invaluable. Those suppliers putting themselves in a position to take advantage of this will inevitably reap the economic rewards.

EDUCATION SUPPLIER AWARDS Valuable additions to your education marketing arsenal are the awards you earn. For some industries this information is critical to schools in their decision making especially where there is significant school spend, health and safety, security or child safeguarding issues involved. As well as your own industry awards it’s worth investing time entering your business into one or more of the education awards coveted by UK education suppliers and valued by UK schools. It’s one thing achieving these awards but successful 2017 suppliers will be those displaying their award logos prominently on their websites, regularly via social media networks and permanently on their Incensu profile. Education Resources Awards – National Conference Centre, Birmingham - March BETT Awards – Tobacco Dock, London - March Education Business Awards – Grange Hotel, London – July


NICHE IDENTIFICATION TABLES Types of School Types of school – These are not mutually exclusive e.g. A grammar school can also be a state boarding school. TYPE OF SCHOOL Community School

Foundation School or Voluntary School


Grammar School

Special School

Faith School Faith Academy

Free School

DESCRIPTION Community schools are state-funded, controlled by the local council and not influenced by business or religious groups. They follow the national curriculum. Foundations and Voluntary schools are state-funded and controlled by the local council but have greater control over how they run things than Community schools. Academies are publicly funded independent schools. Academies don’t have to follow the national curriculum and can set their own term times. Academies get money directly from the government and are run by an Academy Trust which employs the staff. Some academies are sponsored by businesses, universities or other schools. Grammar schools are run by the council, a foundation body or a trust - they select all or most of their pupils based on academic ability and there is often an exam to get in. Special schools cater specifically for children with special education needs such as difficulties in communication and interaction, cognition and learning, social, emotional and mental health or sensory and physical needs. Faith schools have to follow the national curriculum, but they can choose what they teach in religious studies. They may have different admissions and staffing policies. Faith academies don’t have to teach the national curriculum and have their own admissions processes. Free schools are funded by the government but aren’t run by the local council. They have more control over how they do things. They don’t have to follow the national curriculum.

University Technical College

University technical colleges specialise in subjects like engineering and construction - and teach these subjects along with business skills and using IT.

Studio School

Studio schools are small schools delivering mainstream qualifications through project-based learning.

City Technology College

State Boarding Schools Private (independent) Schools

City technology colleges are independent schools in urban areas that are free to go to. They’re owned and funded by companies as well as central government. They have a particular emphasis on technological and practical skills. State boarding schools provide free education but charge fees for boarding. Some state boarding schools are run by local councils, and some are run as academies or free schools. Private schools charge fees to attend instead of being funded by the government. Pupils don’t have to follow the national curriculum. They are registered with and regularly inspected by government.









Preschool & Reception Early Years Foundation Stage includes nursery, pre-school and (4-5) the first year of school.

Key Stage 1

Years 1 & 2 (5-7)

Following the first year after children start school. Years 1 & 2 complete infant school or the infant phase of primary school. Year 2 SATs tests taken in this phase.

Key Stage 2

Years 3-6 (7-11)

Junior school or the junior phase of primary school. Year 6 SATs taken in this phase.

Key Stage 3

Years 7-9 (11-14)

The first 3 years of secondary school. Subject options chosen in year 9.

Key Stage 4

Years 10-11 (14-16)

Final two years of an 11-16 secondary school. GCSE examinations take place at the end of year 11. GCSE subject content taught throughout this stage.

Key Stage 5

Years 12-13 (16-18)

Post 16 also known as sixth form. Key Stage 5 taught within a post 16 setting within a secondary school or in a separate sixth form college.





Executive head teacher


Head teacher

Board / Senior leader

Chief financial officer


Chair of governors




School business manager

Senior leader / Administration



Deputy head teacher

Senior leader

Assistant head teacher

Senior leader

Head of department / Subject leader

Middle leader

Head of faculty

Middle leader

Head of year

Middle leader


Qualified teacher status

SENCO Learning support assistant Site manager





Mathematics Statistics Economics


English Language English Literature


Biology Chemistry Physics Geology


Geography History Religious Education Sociology Psychology

Modern Foreign Languages

French Spanish German Mandarin

Design & Technology

Food preparation & Nutrition Engineering Graphics Resistant Materials Electronics


ICT Computer Science

Performing Arts

Dance Drama Theatre Arts Film Studies Media Studies


Music Music Technology

Business Studies Physical Education Sex and relationship education Citizenship




LOCAL AUTHORITY AREAS There are currently 152 local education authorities in England, 22 in Wales, 32 in Scotland and 11 in Northern Ireland.

Map of education regions across England and Wales

Ordnance Survey Data – Crown Copyright 2013





Barking and Dagenham London Borough Council Barnet London Borough Council Bexley London Borough Council Brent London Borough Council Bromley London Borough Council Camden London Borough Council City of London Corporation Croydon London Borough Council Ealing London Borough Council Enfield London Borough Council Greenwich London Borough Council Hackney London Borough Council Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council Haringey London Borough Council Harrow London Borough Council Havering London Borough Council Hillingdon London Borough Council Hounslow London Borough Council Islington London Borough Council Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council Kingston upon Thames London Borough Council Lambeth London Borough Council Lewisham London Borough Council Merton London Borough Council Newham London Borough Council Redbridge London Borough Council Richmond upon Thames London Borough Council Southwark London Borough Council Sutton London Borough Council Tower Hamlets London Borough Council Waltham Forest London Borough Council Wandsworth London Borough Council Westminster City Council

London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London London

Bath and North East Somerset Council Bournemouth Borough Council Bristol City Council Cornwall Council Devon County Council Dorset County Council Gloucestershire County Council Council of the Isles of Scilly North Somerset Council Plymouth City Council Poole Borough Council Somerset County Council South Gloucestershire Council Swindon Borough Council Torbay Council Wiltshire Council

South West South West South West South West South West South West South West South West South West South West South West South West South West South West South West South West



Bracknell Forest Borough Council Brighton and Hove City Council Buckinghamshire County Council East Sussex County Council Hampshire County Council Isle of Wight Council Kent County Council Medway Council Milton Keynes Borough Council Oxfordshire County Council Portsmouth City Council Reading Borough Council Slough Borough Council Southampton City Council Surrey County Council West Berkshire District Council West Sussex County Council Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council Wokingham Borough Council

South East South East South East South East South East South East South East South East South East South East South East South East South East South East South East South East South East South East South East

Bedford Borough Council Cambridgeshire County Council Central Bedfordshire Council Essex County Council Hertfordshire County Council Luton Borough Council Norfolk County Council Peterborough City Council Southend-on-Sea Borough Council Suffolk County Council Thurrock Borough Council

East East East East East East East East East East East

Birmingham City Council Coventry City Council Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council County of Herefordshire District Council Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council Shropshire Council Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council Staffordshire County Council Stoke-on-Trent City Council Telford and Wrekin Borough Council Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council Warwickshire County Council Wolverhampton City Council Worcestershire County Council Derby City Council Derbyshire County Council Leicester City Council Leicestershire County Council Lincolnshire County Council Northamptonshire County Council Nottingham City Council Nottinghamshire County Council Rutland County Council

West Midlands West Midlands West Midlands West Midlands West Midlands West Midlands West Midlands West Midlands West Midlands West Midlands West Midlands West Midlands West Midlands West Midlands East Midlands East Midlands East Midlands East Midlands East Midlands East Midlands East Midlands East Midlands East Midlands



Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council East Riding of Yorkshire Council Hull City Council Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council Leeds City Council North East Lincolnshire Borough Council North Lincolnshire Borough Council North Yorkshire County Council Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council Sheffield City Council Wakefield Metropolitan District Council York City Council

Yorkshire & The Humber Yorkshire & The Humber Yorkshire & The Humber Yorkshire & The Humber Yorkshire & The Humber Yorkshire & The Humber Yorkshire & The Humber Yorkshire & The Humber Yorkshire & The Humber Yorkshire & The Humber Yorkshire & The Humber Yorkshire & The Humber Yorkshire & The Humber Yorkshire & The Humber Yorkshire & The Humber

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council Blackpool Borough Council Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council Bury Metropolitan Borough Council Cheshire East Council Cheshire West and Chester Council Cumbria County Council Halton Borough Council Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council Lancashire County Council Liverpool City Council Manchester City Council Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council Salford City Council Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council St Helens Metropolitan Borough Council Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council Warrington Borough Council Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

North West North West North West North West North West North West North West North West North West North West North West North West North West North West North West North West North West North West North West North West North West North West North West

Darlington Borough Council Durham County Council Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council Hartlepool Borough Council Middlesbrough Borough Council North Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council Northumberland County Council Newcastle upon Tyne City Council Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council Sunderland City Council

North East North East North East North East North East North East North East North East North East North East North East North East



Isle of Anglesey County Council Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council Bridgend County Borough Council Caerphilly County Borough Council Cardiff Council Carmarthenshire County Council Ceredigion County Council Conwy County Borough Council Denbighshire County Council Flintshire County Council Gwynedd Council Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council Monmouthshire County Council Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council Newport City Council Pembrokeshire County Council Powys County Council Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council City and County of Swansea council Torfaen County Borough Council Vale of Glamorgan Council Wrexham County Borough Council

Wales Wales Wales Wales Wales Wales Wales Wales Wales Wales Wales Wales Wales Wales Wales Wales Wales Wales Wales Wales Wales Wales

Aberdeen City Council Aberdeenshire Council Angus Council Argyll and Bute Council Edinburgh City Council Clackmannanshire Council Dumfries and Galloway Council Dundee City Council East Ayrshire Council East Dunbartonshire Council East Lothian Council East Renfrewshire Council Falkirk Council Fife Council Glasgow City Council Highland Council Inverclyde Council Midlothian Council Moray Council

Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland



Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) North Ayrshire Council North Lanarkshire Council Orkney Islands Council Perth & Kinross Council Renfrewshire Council Scottish Borders Council Shetland Islands Council South Ayrshire Council South Lanarkshire Council Stirling Council West Dunbartonshire Council West Lothian Council

Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland Scotland

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council Ards and North Down Borough Council Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council Belfast City Council Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Derry City and Strabane District Council Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Mid-Ulster District Council Newry, Mourne and Down District Council

Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Northern Ireland

It’s not for schools to listen to you but for you to listen to schools – this is where the real value in your education marketing will be in the coming years.

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