Marketing to Teachers

Posted on Mar 21, 2019 · 5 min read

Why Market to Teachers?

Educators make up a large consumer group. There are about 7 million teachers, college professors, and administrators in the US.

And teachers have enormous spending power. According to our annual teacher survey, 99% of K-12 teachers alone spend $1.7 billion of their own money on classroom supplies each year. The average amount they spend is $418, with some teachers spending as much as $5,000.

As a result, offering a teacher discount is not only a great way to show your support for teachers, it’s also a smart way to grow your business, reach new customers, and improve your brand image.

A graph showing how teachers spend money on their classrooms.

Teachers also have a vast network of other teacher and educator friends. As teacher marketing programs are spun up, it’s important to remember that 71% of teachers would tell a colleague about a teacher discount, and 78% of teachers hear about teacher discounts from other teachersConsidering that teachers and educators represent over 2.3% of the US population, positive word of mouth can make all the difference in seeing your teacher discount program take off.

One example of a company seeing success with marketing to teachers is Staples. Staples has teamed up with to generate support for teachers and students, allowing shoppers to choose to support their favorite classrooms at local Staples locations, with the chain matching all donations during the back-to-school season.

Another example of a company seeing success with marketing to teachers is Michaels. The craft store retailer recognizes and values teachers and wanted to celebrate them all year long. Rather than creating a Teacher Appreciation campaign during obvious times of the year, like back-to-school, Michaels created a 15% off teacher discount that teachers could use whenever they shopped online or in store.

Steve Carlotti, Michaels Executive Vice President of Marketing, considers this program central to the company’s outreach to teachers. “Our teacher discount is one way we show our commitment to educators, as we serve as the go-to headquarters to help them create one-of-a-kind environments that are creative and inspiring places for students to learn,” he said.

The Teacher Market: By the Numbers

The total number of teachers in the US is about 7 million. This is comprised of:

  • 4 million K-12 teachers.
  • 1.7 million post-secondary educators.
  • More than 1 million administrators

Teachers tend to be women (80%), and 56% are over the age of 40. The average public school teacher base salary is $53,100, and their average total household income is 42% higher than that of the general population.

Teacher Blue Graph

Teachers as Consumers

In general, price and discounts are extremely important to teachers. Teachers feel valued when companies offer them discounts (64%) and will recommend these companies to other teachers (78%).

Marketing to teachers goes beyond school supplies. More than four in five teachers would use a teacher discount on a personal item or service. More than two-thirds of teachers would use a discount on restaurants and electronic devices, and more than half would use it on entertainment, travel, and apparel.  So you don’t have to be a classroom supplier in order to access this consumer tribe.

Teacher Stats

According to our annual survey, 69% of teachers said a 25% discount off a single item will get their attention. Companies offering 10% off an entire purchase were less successful in attracting teachers (only 46%). The winning discount for teachers is the BOGO deal (73% preferred).

Teachers are avid consumers of media and active members of social media communities, which makes it easy for marketers to effectively reach and engage them online.

Teachers shop online twice as much as the general population, and 38% of teachers say they prefer to shop only online. Eight out of ten teachers report having made purchases through the internet, and more than three-fourths report that the internet is the first place they look for information.

In addition, 61% of teachers report they have shown their support for a product, service, company, etc. by becoming a “fan,” “friend,” or “follower” on a social networking site.

Besides spending money on classroom supplies, teachers spend their money on a wide variety of recreational products and activities. Eighty-two percent of teachers spend time looking for discounts on personal items, which shows that they are not just looking for discounts on classroom or educational items.  

Strategies for Marketing to Teachers

The most successful ways to market to teachers are through social media, email, and word of mouth. Almost 80% of teachers find out about teacher discounts from other educators, and Teachers are almost 50% more likely than other audiences to be moved by an email promotion.

Also, nearly half of today’s teachers are Millennials. They turn to social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to swap stories, plan classroom activities, and perfect lesson plans.

Nearly half of today’s teachers are millennials.

Teachers prefer messages to be simple and genuine, offering sentiments of appreciation. It also helps to speak to the challenges that many teachers face. For instance, if it’s the end of the school year, show that you understand the stress they are under. Or honor them with a personalized offer during National Teacher Appreciation Week. Don’t forget, 64% feel valued by companies that offer discount programs for teachers.

The Best Way to Market to Teachers: Personalized Offers

One of the most effective ways to market to teachers is to create a gated, personalized offer that appeals to their desire for discounts.

These personalized offers are available exclusively to teachers and use digital verification to confirm shoppers’ eligibility for them, which makes them highly effective. Ninety-four percent of Americans would take advantage of a personalized offer, and more than two-thirds say they are more important to them than traditional coupons.

With digital verification, teachers happily provide their personal information to receive the offer. This opt-in exchange also gives brands data they can then use for nurture and retention programs, making personalized offers a highly effective way to acquire loyal customers.

Watch our webinar: 7 Best Practices for Marketing to Teachers

Tony Coray by Tony Coray
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  1. […] marketers should take a long look at some all too often unsung heroes—teachers. In the U.S. 6.7 million consumers are teachers, a group that spends $1.5 billion annually. The lion’s share of teachers (94 […]

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