Mark Wade Writes

An old Greek adage was to "know thyself", but I will go a bit further with this by saying you should "also know well your market area".  This is especially true if you are considering doing it full time.  In this age of specialization we can no longer just throw advertising at our prospective clients to see what "sticks".  It is a process now of trying to get inside the head of our buyers so we can fulfill their needs.
Since school shows are my specialty, I have made it a point to study the buying habits of elementary principals and others. When I say "others" I mean parent groups, school counselors, or anyone else in a decision making capacity.  I have many principal friends that I contact on a regular basis that tell me what the new "hot button" is for their group.  Maybe it's anti-bullying, although this topic is being overdone and many are already saturated..I'm told, or maybe it's test taking for those spring or fall
tests that are important.  The thing is...you need to find out and do a show the CLIENT WANTS, not what YOU WANT.  That's not saying you can't make it fun for yourself and the kids...you can...but the most important thing you can deliver is what the schools want and need.

Also the approach in advertising changes.  Years ago you could send out a flyer with a cover letter and a business reply card and get tons of cards back brimming with shows.  Today the elementary principals are different and they don't respond to regular mail the way the older principals did.

I wish I could give you all a magic formula, but it's a trial-and-error process when it comes to reaching educators.  And just because one campaign may bring results is not an indication you've found the formula. You need to keep working and researching.  To me it's a challenge and I am UP for a challenge to find what works.  I hope you are also!  Best of luck in your endeavors!!


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