Why Marketers Should Think More Like Teachers

Congrats to teachers and a big thank you for finishing another school year! In celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week, I’m revisiting an old blog post that I wrote about how I find marketing and teaching to be similar in many ways.

  1. Teachers understand their students. A great teacher considers a number of different factors (age, demographic, maturity, culture, and socio-economic status) to cater to students individually. Marketers are also asked to consider a number of different factors (company size, job title, region, industry, etc.) to target their audience (or in marketing terms “personas”). This makes personalization a key to driving success both as a teacher and a marketer.
  2. Teachers break down complex concepts. How would you describe germs to preschool students? How would you explain photosynthesis to grade school students? Teachers are subject matter experts and have to get students to learn complex topics. Similarly, marketers are subject matter experts and have to get prospects to learn the benefits of a service/product. Both roles have to break down and “teach” in a way that could be easily understood (or in marketing terms, “digestible” or “snackable.”)
  3. Teachers are creative. Teachers are aware of the different learning styles that come with a class. Some will learn better visually, aurally, or even physically. As a result, teachers have to be creative to reach different learning styles. Likewise, marketers must understand different ways (channels, campaigns, events, messages, programs, etc.) to reach an audience.
  4. Teachers know how to engage. It’s one thing to get attention, but then teachers have to sustain that attention in order to transfer knowledge. Marketers are also asked to sustain attention in order for a prospect to convert! This requires a mix of personalization, being creative, and reiterating if a strategy stops working.
  5. Teachers are analytical. Teachers are held to goals to measure student achievement. This requires constant measuring to track student performance. Marketers likewise are held to goals to measure campaign performance. This requires constant measuring to track ROI. Both roles have to be analytical in their process to understand what is working or where improvement is needed.
  6. Teachers are storytellers. This is my favorite skill. Great teachers tell stories to connect with students in a relatable way. These become lessons that are less commonly found in textbooks but are more profound in learning. Marketers likewise must be keen on the storytelling to connect with their audience because it’s in our nature to know a good story no matter what age, gender, race or culture.


So, cheers to the teachers and what we can still learn from them! Can you think of other ways marketing is like teaching? Like/comment if you agree!

Article also posted here.

[Photo source: Bloomberg.com, TeachForAmerica.org]

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Why Marketers Should Think More Like Teachers

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