A teacher helping a student with a science experiment.

Find Your Next Growth Segment by Marketing to Teachers

Posted on Feb 21, 2020 · 4 min read

Leading brands are increasingly marketing to teachers, a well-connected and influential group,  because it’s good for their business, and it’s good for the community.

Faced with budget shortfalls, teachers dip into their own pockets—to the tune of about $1.7 billion annually—to pay for necessary classroom supplies. So they really appreciate a brand that can help offset those shortfalls with discounts exclusive to teachers.

Mallory Speers, a sixth-grade science teacher in Southern Washington, spends more than $500 annually out of her own pocket, not only on basic supplies, but also on snacks, hands-on projects, and even lighting for her classroom.

“Being a teacher sometimes means spending your own money,” she said. “It’s important to me to create a comfortable and engaging place that will help my students learn and have memorable experiences.”   

Mallory is among the 95% of teachers who said they are more likely to shop with a brand that offers a teacher discount.

95% of teachers said they are more likely to shop with a brand that offers a teacher discount.

How Teachers Want Brands to Communicate with Them

In our sixth annual teacher survey, completed in partnership with Agile Education Marketing, we found that 99% of teachers spent personal funds for school-related purposes during the 2018–19 school year. The survey also revealed that four out of five teachers spent $100 or more of their own money to support their teaching needs, while nearly half (48%) spent more than $250, 15% spent more than $500, and some invested as much as $5,000 into their classroom.

More than half of our survey respondents (64%) said teacher discounts made them feel valued in the community. 

“The message to brands is clear—educators want to be recognized and feel valued. Those brands that heed the call set themselves up to win the business of this important customer group, and they have a direct impact in classrooms by giving educators what they need to teach our children,” said Jake Weatherly, CEO of SheerID.

How Headspace Is Creating a Community by Marketing to Teachers

Headspace saw marketing to teachers as a way to give back to their communities, as well as raise their brand profile. Working with SheerID, they created a personalized offer to teachers to access their meditation app that resulted in 25,000 subscribers in three new markets.

Now teachers are introducing meditation into their lesson plans to help curb anxiety and improve performance in the classroom.

“Our identity marketing program is a strong extension of our marketing strategy,” said Lino Reveles Trujillo. “It’s helping us create lifelong customers.”

Headspace created a personalized offer for teachers that resulted in 25,000 new subscribers in three new markets.

Lino will share more about Headspace’s 3-prong marketing strategy for creating a community with teachers in our upcoming webinar, The Marketing Multiplier: How to Make Teachers Your Next Growth Segment on March 6, 2020. We’ll also present research and best practices on marketing to teachers. You can register now to join us.

Why Brands Should Be Marketing to Teachers

Marketing to teachers isn’t limited to the start of the school year. 

Our survey found that teachers shop at least monthly for the school supplies that they need in their classrooms—or about $1.7 billion annually. And 81% of teachers are likely to use a discount for personal items that range from electronics and software to travel to insurance and financial services.

Teachers stay in their jobs 2.5X longer than the national average, meaning you have the opportunity to nurture them into long-term customers.

And brands will benefit from the multiplier effect as teachers tell their colleagues, friends, parents, and family about an exclusive offer. We found that word-of-mouth marketing was the key player in how teachers learned about personalized offers.

  • 48% of teachers found personalized offers on educator blogs/websites.
  • 71% of teachers learned about teacher discounts from a friend or co-worker.
  • 65% of teachers learned about discounts via a brand email (a 35% jump from 2018) and nearly half (49%) via the company’s website (an 88% jump from 2018).
While word of mouth remains the number one way teachers hear about discounts, marketing emails and social media are also effective methods. Blog - 48% Website - 49% Social Media - 58% Email - 65% Word of Mouth - 71%

For more survey results, view the infographic.

Our Top Tips to Help Marketers Reach Educators

So, what is the best way to market to teachers? By giving them what they want. The 2019 survey revealed that:

  • Teachers appreciate discounts on virtually everything. While office supplies, instructional materials, and computers/electronics top the list, there is an opportunity for brands to offer teacher discounts across virtually every product category, from finance to travel to entertainment.  
  • Teachers value being recognized. According to the survey, teachers have a strong emotional response to personalized offers. Nearly two-thirds feel valued and 43% feel respected. Using language in your campaign that explicitly recognizes their contributions to our community will create deeper engagement.
  • Teachers shop all year round. Over half (58%) shop at least monthly for classroom materials—a more than 2x jump from 2017, when only 28% of respondents said they shop monthly.

We’ll be sharing more actionable advice on how your brand can better market to teachers in our upcoming webinar on March 6. You can register now to join us. We hope to see you then.

Attend our Webinar: The Marketing Multiplier: How to Make Teachers Your Next Growth Segment

Bill Schneider by Bill Schneider