At the AAP PreK-12 Learning Group Master Class “Essentials for Next Generation Science Instruction,” attendees were not only privy to insights on what educators need in these new materials, but they also got to take part in two updated lessons and find out how dramatically science class has changed. The challenge, though, isn’t just in creating modern science resources, but in the marketing as well. Hazel Carter, National Marketing Director for Discovery Education, discussed the difficulties facing sales teams, especially when the buyers need as much education on the new pedagogy as your reps.
- Although not every state has adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), many have developed similar standards. Moreover, all of the skills valued by the NGSS, e.g., critical thinking, are valued in non-NGSS curriculum. Sales teams need to be educated in not just the new standards, but how to talk to educators about the skills and pedagogy rather than just what standard the materials align to. In fact, saying “NGSS-aligned” is considered a verboten part of the sales pitch.
- Since this approach to teaching science is new for both the schools and the publishers, there is opportunity for all in this market. It can be hard, though, to get in front of the right people who make the purchasing decisions for science. There are often multiple decision makers, and some don’t have the science knowledge to make the purchase. Sales teams need to be educating the buyers about the changes in science instruction at the same time they are pitching their products.
- As many of the products are new, it can be difficult to demonstrate how the materials impact student success. Develop content that can help prospects envision themselves using your products, and focus on getting current customers to be advocates for you.
Finally, Hazel warned attendees that since NGSS is a top-down initiative, many educators and administrators may not be supportive. Focus on how your materials support teachers and assist them with providing a coherent, logical progression for students rather than on alignment.
For information on upcoming AAP events, go to publishers.org/programs-events.