Use EdTech trade shows as an opportunity to get to know how the other half lives.
The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union and the United States during a big chunk of the second half of the 20th Century. These tensions rose and fell many times. One period of relaxed tension occurred in the early 1970s and became known as “Détente,” a French word meaning “release of tensions.” This relaxation of tensions allowed for an increase in summits and treaties around the world.
EdTech CEOs and education decision makers at the school, district and state level can, if they play their cards right, use some trade shows to create a period of productive Détente.
Take Advantage of the Generalized EdTech Trade Shows
There are some trade shows, like FETC, where it is a perfect opportunity for EdTech companies and education decision makers to come together and engage with each other for idea exchanges. The engagement process is typically an “either/or” situation. You can go to a conference that is strictly technology based OR you can go something that is curriculum based OR or can go where it is just investors. Rarely are there genuine opportunities en masse to integrate with these different groups.
If interested parties on both sides of the fence recognized that those opportunities are there and took full advantage of it, there would be more informed decisions made at every level. By sitting down with decision makers and learning about what they do on a day-to-day basis, including their pain points, EdTech companies would have a better understanding of who to pitch, how to pitch, how to approach their marketing message, how to position their freemium or paid model in the market.
Likewise, decision makers could sit down with EdTech leaders and come away with a better understanding about what the process is to bring a product to market. Sometimes education administrators with ask for things from EdTech companies that are out of line with reality, and a better understanding of how the industry works, from development to UX to QA to marketing and launch could give them more reasonable expectations.
Additionally, the investment community can get to know EdTEch CEOs and founders and get involved earlier in their development process. If an investor and a CEO have a relationship, even before the CEO’s company is ready for a big investment, the investor could keep the company on the right track in the development stage, where EdTech companies often tend to over-innovate. This would let a CEO guide the process of the development of the company and their products in a strategic manner.
When you’re looking at your calendar and planning your trade show attendance, don’t just go to shows where all you want to do is sell, sell, sell. Go to a variety of shows, and you’ll find that networking and relationships are as important as marketing and selling.