Show Me the Money!Some schools are better prospects.

The $122 billion dollar Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) began finding its way into the market in April 2021 ($81 billion) and again in June 2021 ($41 billion). Spending of these funds will likely continue through the spring and fall of 2022.

The funds are intended to help states improve physical facilities to help combat the spread of COVID-19, maintain faculty and support, and help students to recover from lost time and learning during the period when most schools were closed and struggling with remote teaching programs. The funds will be spent on equipment, supplies, and learning materials as state educators feel necessary to support these goals.

Knowing which schools are likely to have the most discretionary funds remains a critical factor in the success of your marketing programs.

2022 Will Break Sales Records

The coming fiscal year of 2022 should be a strong one for those who provide materials and services for schools and educators. It should surpass the 2012 year – a banner sales year when the Obama administration pumped $70 billion into the education market. In spite of the strong uptick in federal education funding, it is not likely that all schools will spend equally. State and local funding will continue to outweigh federal funding sources.

Knowing which schools are likely to have the most discretionary funds remains a critical factor in the success of your marketing programs. Our education list providers offer numerous selection criteria for both postal and email lists. The key to success is in finding which criteria have the strongest relationship to sales. The best way to accomplish this is through regression analysis, often referred to as modeling.

Invest in Tools to Improve Your Targeting

Regression analysis allows you to use information about your best customer schools in order to identify those prospect schools that have similar characteristics. A modeler compares your sales data against the various fields in an education database. Those fields of data found to have a statistically significant relationship to your sales receive a score based on the strength of the relationship. Each school receives a score and then all schools are ranked from highest score to lowest. This ranking is divided into tenths called deciles.

Often we find that the top 3 deciles, or the top 30% of the schools, are providing 60% of the revenue, or more. Conversely, the bottom three deciles often provide 20% of the revenue or less. The advantage to having a marketing tool such as this is that we can focus our marketing investment where we get the greatest return. We can invest more in the top deciles and less (if any) in the bottom deciles.

In spite of the fact that the education market is on the upswing, there still exists significant inequality between schools.  Schools in more affluent communities have more money to spend on supplemental materials, supplies, and facilities. Schools in poorer communities do not.

Regression models do not make sense for everyone. Companies with smaller marketing budgets should consider a less expensive marketing tool such as a match. A match identifies which schools in a rental database contain your customers. It allows you to promote to prospects who are in your customer schools. Many times these prospects will outperform prospects in schools where you do not have customers.

Not All Schools are Equally Promising Targets

At the very least, you can steer your marketing dollars to schools in more affluent communities by simply using an appropriate selection criteria. It is not as effective as modeling or matching, but it is better than nothing. Whether modeling, matching, or simply using a measure of affluence to select the schools where you invest your marketing dollars, the import thing to remember is that not all schools are equal. Some schools are more likely to give you a better return on your investment. The fact that the federal government is investing $122 billion in education is not going to change that.

Bob Stimolo, School Market Research Institute

Bob is EDmarket’s Official School Market Consultant and president of School Market Research Institute. As a member of EDmarket, Bob will advise you on your promotion materials and list selection free of charge.