What Marketers Can Learn from Teachers

July 19, 2019 - Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s tough being a teacher. You’ve got a ton of knowledge to impart to your students but they are mostly disinterested and unmotivated, with attention and memory spans shorter than a goldfish.

Sound familiar?

Consumers are like students and marketers are like teachers. Most consumers are apathetic and don’t care about what you have to say about your product. How do you make them pay attention? How do you make them remember you?

Here’s what marketers can learn from teachers.

1. Spell out the benefits of the benefits

Remember those school trips to the zoo or a museum?

Schools provide these experiences to show students that the abstract concepts they learn in the classroom are drawn from and applied to the everyday world. Knowledge is only useful insofar as we know how to apply it.

Here’s where Jerry Weissman’s concept of WIIFY (“What’s in it for you?”) comes in. People are interested in things that benefit themselves. If kids thought learning about probability would help them beat their friends at cards, they would probably pay closer attention during Maths class. School excursions make learning more exciting because students are able to see the concrete benefits of the knowledge they have gained in class.

Likewise, marketers shouldn’t simply wave a list of product features in consumers’ faces. A product feature doesn’t count as a benefit; spell out what’s in it for the consumer. The benefit isn’t the fact that a camera can record videos in 4K. The benefit is that users can capture and relive memories, like the moment their child uttered his first word, in high resolution.

2. Brevity

Consumers, like kids, have short attention spans. That is why you need to keep your messages short and to-the-point. In their book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, Chip and Dan Heath cited proverbs as a great example of a sticky message that is simple yet profound.

For centuries, proverbs have been used to transfer knowledge from one generation to another. Teachers still use them to this day. Proverbs – such as “the early bird catches the worm” and “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” – are single sentences that aptly communicate abstract ideas. They stick because they are simple yet meaningful.

How can marketers apply this?

According to the Heath brothers, you should start by identifying the core of your message and work towards communicating it in compact sentences. Sieve out all unnecessary details.

There is perhaps no other company that demonstrates this better than Apple. Take a look at their ads targeted at Android users.

These ads are shockingly simple in concept but their message is as clear as day: Switch to an iPhone.

3. Tap into Schemas

Ever come across a concept that is so complex that you are unsure how to put it into words? One way that teachers help students with difficult concepts is by getting students to tap into their schemas.

Via Verywell Mind

Schemas are pre-recorded information stored in our memories. By referencing their students’ existing knowledge, teachers can make foreign concepts easier to grasp. In other words, students will be able to apply existing schemas to help them understand new, complex concepts. It also helps them remember.

In marketing, referencing well-known knowledge can keep messages short and memorable. It can also help consumers understand more complex products.

4. Tell a story

Think of the famous fable The Tortoise and the Hare. If you had to tell someone the story right now, including the moral lesson that it conveys (“slow and steady wins the race”), you would probably be able to do so easily. Now, try to think of the last time you actually heard this story. Chances are that it was such a long time ago you don’t even remember.

That is the power of story.

Fables have been used for centuries by teachers as a way to impart moral lessons to kids. Morality is too abstract a concept for young children to grasp; a story makes the complex concept more palatable.

In marketing, a story is a useful and engaging way to convey a message to an audience. Human beings are emotional creatures; stories tap into these emotions and this makes them more memorable than a list of statistics. That is not to say that data isn’t important. It is. However, the way you present data is just as important as the data itself. Stories are memorable because they connect with people at an emotional level, data doesn’t.

Stories are also a great way to spell out the benefits of your product clearly to your audience (refer to point #1). It is all too easy for marketers to make the mistake of passing data off as a benefit. A story, on the other hand, naturally keeps marketers in check because it requires a different frame of mind (the emotional instead of the analytical one) to conceive.

5. Use Videos

The audio-visual nature of video makes it a great tool for explaining complicated concepts to students and helping them see the big picture.

Videos are also important in helping consumers understand and remember your product. Videos are especially useful to marketers because they are more efficient at conveying a large amount of information as opposed to text.

The next time you embark on a marketing campaign, remember these pedagogical techniques and apply them. Just like the best lessons, a well-crafted marketing message will be remembered for a very long time.


Planning a Social Media Content Strategy

July 5, 2019 - Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you’re serious about using social media to build your brand, posting random content at whim is not going to cut it. As with traditional marketing, social media marketing requires a strategy. An effective strategy is needed to capture and retain the attention of your target audience. Once you have their attention, anything is possible.

Here’s a brief outline of the planning process:

1. Decide the aim of your social media account

The first thing you need to understand about social media content marketing is that nothing is random, or rather, nothing should be random. Your content should be tactical and created with the intention of achieving a goal.

It is a good idea to write this goal down and share it with your entire team. Think of it as a description of your page. If you had to tell someone what sort of content your page has in a single sentence, what would you say? Is it a place for your audience to get inspired? Is it a platform to showcase your products?

Your goal will act as the foundation for all social media content. Always refer back to it and ask yourself if the proposed content ideas align with it.

2. Create content pillars

Content pillars are the categories in which all your posts can be divided into. They are paths that lead to the same destination (the goal).

Take a look at the content on our Instagram page and you’ll notice that our posts can be divided into two main pillars: work and culture. Every post under these pillars works towards building our image as an agency that does great work and has fun in the process.

3. Determine your execution style

Having a consistent and distinct visual style is important for visual-centric mediums like Instagram. It helps your content stand out and reinforces your branding in the online sphere.

You want to be consistent without being too repetitive. Here’s a tip: identify a design element in your branding – it could be a part of your logo or the interior of your store – and use it as a motif in your posts. Check out how ESORA uses wood, an element heavily-featured in its restaurant, as part of the backdrop for its Instagram posts.


Longchamp uses its iconic bold black-and-white typography to introduce visual consistency.

Via Longchamp

4. Plot social media calendar

A social media calendar is the monthly publication schedule for individual posts. This calendar will indicate when to publish and what to publish.

Be tactical in your scheduling. Posts should be timely and coincide with any notable events. Let’s say there’s a popular movie coming out and you want to promote merchandise featuring its characters, you should time your posts to coincide with the hype. In other words, ride the wave.

5. Improve your content

Always return to your published posts to see how they’ve fared in terms of audience engagement. Take a look at your best and worst performing posts to gain insights into what sort of content your audience likes. Use these insights to improve future content and boost engagement.

A social media content strategy is a must to maximise the benefits of the medium for your brand. Businesses have to be prepared to commit for the long haul. It’s not about immediate results but gaining the trust of customers and turning casual buyers into loyal fans.