How Great Digital Learning Companies Can Inspire Action

We, as digital learning technology marketers, often consider the people we’re selling to as our target market. But we’re selling to people, not targets. To generate response, it’s essential to understand underlying demographics and interests about your customer.

While this is a starting point, it’s not likely the tipping-point that leads to a prospect becoming a customer based on experience from the Digital Learning Alliance marketing team. Breaking through requires that you think deeply about your customer and lead them to the answer of “why.” Today we offer a new perspective for digital learning companies to define why people respond, along with recommended action steps.

 A thought-provoking Ted Talk video of author Simon Sinek, titled How Great Leaders Inspire Action, elegantly speaks about the importance of the “why.” The title of this video could just as well have been “How Great Digital Learning Companies Inspire Action.” Sinek describes a golden circle of “what,” “how,” and “why.” The outside ring of the circle, where most marketers approach customers and prospects, is the “what.” The middle ring is the “how.” Education technology companies usually excel at filling in the “what” and “how,” as we translate features into benefits for the logical part of the brain.

 But at the core of the golden circle, where decisions are often made in the brain, is the “why.” It’s the emotional response. If your messaging isn’t working, here’s a challenge for you to think more deeply about the “why” of your organization and the product or service you’re selling—to tap the emotions of the prospect.

Here are a couple of critical steps you should take so you can reposition your message in order to tap the golden “why” button.

1. Profile your customers. Most profiles are a treasure-trove of demographic, purchase behavior, interests, and other fascinating data points. Profiles can be created for you by several data companies and it’s affordable to do. But the profile itself is merely the starting point. We’ve used the insights that a profile yields many times to successfully reposition messaging copy and increase response.

2. Interpret the data. Looking at reports and charts you’ll get from a profile isn’t enough. You must interpret the data. You have to think deeply about what this reveals about your customers. One example of how this works is for an insurance offer we created. The insight from the profile was that the buyer was usually a woman and she had an interest in her grandchildren and devotional reading. The approach to selling this product was the usual features and benefits of having life insurance. But we repositioned the message to reveal the “why.” The “why” message transformed the prospect into realizing that the proceeds from a life insurance policy could be a wonderful legacy left for her grandchildren or a favorite charity. The result for the marketer was a double-digit response increase.

So what can you do to improve your results? Here are some action items:

Profile your buyers to better understand the "what"

Interpret the data and align it with the “how”

Transform your message and reveal the "why"

 Then test it.