If you’ve taken a basic marketing course, or done any reading on the subject, you’ve probably heard of the 4P’s of marketing; Product, Place, Price and Promotion. You’ve been told all you have to do is know what a particular group of people wants, where or how they want to purchase it, what they will pay for it and do all that exactly when they want it. In short, all you have to do is offer the right product in the right place, for the right price at the right time.
If you’re anything like me you thought, “Yeah right! There’s no way I can do that!” and curled up into the fetal position to wait for the enormity of this demand to pass. Hopefully, like me, you also remembered your mother’s wise words, “You can’t eat a whole cake in a single bite. Break it into pieces baby girl!” and decided to tackle the marketing of your continuing education in small manageable bites.
And that’s what I aim to do in this series; take what can be a daunting task, marketing your continuing education (CE), and break it into manageable bite-sized pieces to savor. By looking at each of the 4P’s individually it’s easier to take them from the theoretical to the practical. To-do lists create themselves, and you’ve left with actionable strategies to test.
So let’s grab our fork and dig into the first P—Product.
According to BusinessDictionary.com a Product is, “A good or service that most closely meets the requirements of a particular market and yields enough profit to justify its continued existence.” I really like this definition since it gets at the root of what makes a good product. It is something people want, and are willing to pay for.
In the world of CE, the product is obviously the CE content, your courses. And while it would be easy to lick the icing off our fingers now and consider this topic done, it warrants a little more attention.
When thinking of content, think about the requirements of your learners (your market) and remember that while there is some homogeny, there is also diversity. Now, think about your CE courses (your product). Do you offer the same course in a variety of formats (live webinar, on-demand, podcast etc.) to meet the diversity of preferences within this group? Offering the same course in multiple formats is an easy and quick way (assuming you use InReach) to meet the diverse needs of your market and yield more profits.
When considering the requirements of your learners (market) it pays to keep their motivations front and center. While compliance is key, your learners also rely on you to educate them on the latest developments in their field. Has there been a recent development or event that requires new knowledge, or has a new law been passed that will affect their profession? If so, do you have a course that can educate your market on these changes? Are your courses relevant to your learner’s needs? Let’s take a look at this recent example:
This scenario followed the spate of Ebola courses here in the US. One of our clients, a medical association, recognized that their members would value a course to educate medical professionals on the disease. Within a matter of days, they gathered a panel of experts, held a live-streaming webinar and enabled their members to access expert, relevant and timely information. Then, the association took the next step. They diversified the product by making their live-streaming webinar available on-demand to allow a greater percentage of their market to consume the content on their terms. That’s a great example of a good or service that most closely meets the requirements of a particular market.
If you’re now hooked and want to take a few more Product related nibbles, check out these websites: