• Tony

The change that transformed an advertising campaign


The one change, discovered through one simple piece of research which transformed an advertising campaign

One of the great problems with selling to teachers is that the education system in the UK is changing at very high speed, and attitudes and approaches that were prevalent just a few years ago may no longer be dominant in the education system.

A second problem is that although we have a National Curriculum, there is no doubt that many schools are seeking to find their own solutions to education issues. Thus on occasion two advertisements need to be written to meet these different approaches.

Indeed each time there is a new government initiative we can find some schools wholeheartedly adopting it, while others simply ignore the issue as “another fad”.

In one such recent new development we found that a very high number of senior teachers reported to us that they simply didn’t believe the government’s research which had led to adoption the new initiative. Thus the advertising had to show that schools adopting the new approach could be benefitting considerably.

Elsewhere we find schools openly and publicly bending the rules (even when enshrined in statute), on the grounds that (for example) the school has not been doing what legislation required and yet has been assessed as “Excellent” by Ofsted.

In such circumstances undertaking research to see exactly what senior managers and teachers are thinking can be very helpful.

To undertake such research one needs to offer each respondent something in return – at the very least a summary of the results of the survey. If you can offer more, that is particularly beneficial – although a word of warning: offering a free entry into a prize draw, these days has little effect.

When respondents are offered something in return surveys can produce very interesting results the use of which can transform an advertising campaign.

By way of example, one advertiser we worked with was very frustrated by a lack of sales from a product that was advertised as unique. A simple research programme found that the reason for the lack of sales was indeed the use of the word “unique” – teachers did not perceive the product as unique (even though in many ways it was) because they were already using other solutions to this problem. What was needed was to present the product as a better solution, not a unique solution. This one change made all the difference.


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