Marketing to Teachers

Posted on Mar 21, 2019 · 6 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 80% of teachers find out about discounts from a friend or coworker and 84% would recommend retailers who offer discount programs for teachers to their friends and family, even if they weren’t teachers. Considering 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 DonorsChoose.org 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.Teachers also have a vast network of other educator friends. As teacher marketing programs are spun up, it’s important to remember that 78% of teachers find out about discounts from a friend or coworker and 71% would recommend retailers who offer discount programs for teachers to their friends and family, even if they weren’t teachers. Considering 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 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 through their rewards program to use whenever a teacher shopped.
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 salary is 42% higher than that of the general population.

A graph showing the types of products teachers would purchase with a personalized offer.

Teachers as Consumers

In general, price and discounts are extremely important to teachers. Our study found that 88% of teachers actively seek out retailers that provide teacher discounts.

Teachers feel valued when companies offer them discounts (64%) and will recommend these companies to other teachers or even friends and family who are not teachers (78%). Offering discounts can also lead to long-term loyalty from teachers, with 83% reporting they would choose a retailer that offered a teacher discount over one that didn’t.

Marketing to teachers goes beyond school supplies. More than three-quarters of teachers would use a teacher discount on a personal item or service. In fact, teachers are top consumers of apparel, books, and cars and experiences like travel, museums, and the theatre. So you don’t have to be a classroom supplier in order to access this consumer tribe.

A graphic demonstrating how teachers would use a personalized offer.

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.  Teachers are also top consumers of apparel, books, and cars and experiences like travel, museums, and the theatre.

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 65% are likely 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 personalized, gated offer that appeals to their desire for discounts.

Personalized, gated offers use digital verification to confirm a shopper’s eligibility for an offer created exclusively for them, which makes them a powerful and secure way to target specific consumer tribes, such as teachers. Ninety-four percent of Americans would take advantage of a gated offer, and more than two-thirds say gated offers are more important to them than traditional coupons.

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

Watch our webinar: 7 Best Practices for Marketing to Teachers

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