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Marketing

December 10, 2012

Marketing has been an area that I have pondered frequently.  My background is definitely not in marketing.  I understand people’s needs, but don’t know how to reach them.

EdStartup 101 suggested creating a matrix to outline the different segments of the population interested in my product and then a marketing strategy for each group.  I had a hard time looking at specific segments, so instead I looked at different classifications that may apply to different segments of people.  Below are some of the factors that may classify different types of customers for a language acquisition product:

1. There may be at least two motivating factors for customers using the product.  Users may be motivated to learn a language because they interact with people who speak the language, or because they are learning a foreign language in a class.  The first set of people are intrinsically motivated, and the second set are extrinsically motivated.  Intrinsically and extrinsically motivated people are incentivised in very different ways.

2. Customers may come from different nations.  Because I want to have users provide sound clips, I expect that I will have all kinds of different languages from a lot of different nations.  Some of them will be from the United States, and others may be from China, Japan, Africa, and who knows where.  Each nation will have different cultural facets, levels of interaction with types of media, etc.  Marketing will have to change across countries in both message and method.

3.  I expect to reach people with differing levels of ability.  Right now not many language products market to anyone besides entry level learners.  I have seen a lot of example on the internet of how to market to beginners, but it would be an interesting challenge to market to an intermediate student.  Typically I believe only Universities provide a learning environment for intermediate and advanced students.

4. Users also may be adults or children.  Right now I plan on only marketing to adults, but who’s to say a child would not go on and use the product.  Nothing would be stopping them.  Maybe in the future helping children learn a language could become a small segment of customers.

EdStartup 101 then suggested that I imagine how I would approach each of the above groups.  This includes both the medium and the message.  Assume that all the mediums below are in Google AdWords.

1. Customer that is intrinsically motivated:

Message–Open up your world with a new, innovate method for learning [language name, e.g. Spanish].  Technology allows for increased cognitive processing.  All for free.

Customer that is extrinsically motivated:

Message–Want a better grade in Spanish?  Try Language Leap for free. [I’ve got to work on the name!]

2.  I have to admit, my second category is pretty broad–having customers in multiple nations.  I think the main point is that I will have to write the message in different languages and do a lot of research into each culture.  I also may save international marketing for some time in the future (unless someone like Google accidentally helps me out without me knowing).

3. Customer with high foreign language speaking ability:

Message–Already fluent?  Polish your expertise with Language Leap.

Customer with low to no foreign language speaking ability:

Message–Want to visit Paris and don’t know the language?  Try Language Leap.  It’s the best program out there, and best of all, it’s free!

4. And I think that marketing to adults is pretty obvious (and includes every example above).

One of the main benefits of this exercise was to think about the motivations of each customer.  I don’t believe that many people look at effective marketing for intrinsically motivated people.  I used the book Drive by Daniel Pink as my source of inspiration.  Here’s a great review of the book for those of you who want the short version.

Now comes the question of when to start the marketing campaign.  The above marketing ideas were for the general population of language learners.  Right now my Minimum Viable Product will need to reach early adopters.  I may have to redo this exercise to figure out early adopters’ motivations.  My guess is that early adopters are intrinsically motivated, but a special case of intrinsic motivation.  It will be interesting to think that one out.

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