Saturday, October 9, 2010

What is Educational Marketing?

As a Part time CFO I need to be able to play a large role in helping the business owner make strategic business decisions. In order to do this the CFO has to know more than just the numbers. The CFO needs to understand the whole business. This includes having a solid understanding of marketing.

Today I want to discuss a marketing concept that in my view is very effective. It is called educational marketing. Educational marketing is defined as informing your customers on how to make the best buying decisions. In other words stop selling and pitching and start helping and informing your customers on how to buy. Educational marketing converts skeptical shoppers who became skeptical because they were sales pitched to death and turn them into informed buyers. Educational marketing is a specific type of marketing where you assume an expert and training role and you engage potential customers and clients through information. Educational Marketing is more effective than traditional price driven advertising as it helps consumers do their homework so the prospect can make an informed buying decision.

The hard sell is getting very stale. Have you noticed that people are avoiding and running away from being sold and pitched? They look for information that helps them buy the right products. By informing your customer you are inherently building a relationship and trust which is the basis for who people do business with. In addition to the credibility you build, you become an expert and a resource instead of just another supplier or vendor.

Think about it. Is your primary objective in marketing your business to promote what you do? Is it to promote your product or services? I say NO and NO! I say the most important function that your marketing serves is to establish that you and your company are knowledgeable, capable and can be trusted. To do this is going to require a radical shift in traditional thinking!

By answering the questions that customers are asking themselves when they are making decisions to buy your product or service is the exact approach you should take in determining your educational marketing message. Put yourself in the customer’s position and ask the questions. It is the educational and instructional answers to those questions that will produce your marketing message.

Here is the point. If you are the one who is informing the prospect and providing solid information to the prospect. Guess who the prospect will develop a relationship and trust with and guess who the prospect will think of, when it comes time and when the prospect is ready to make the ultimate buying decision? That’s right, you, because you are the person who provided the information and education and you are the expert and the prospects resource! It’s providing your prospect with educational based messages not selling based messages that will turn the prospect into a customer.

Resist the urge to pitch and start educating your prospect. You will gain the credibility and trust that will earn you much more business!