Most education businesses, in our experience, need to spend more time reflecting on and clearly communicating value.
“Quality” in the abstract is not value. Nor is “interactivity.” These are features. They speak to the nature of the experience, but not the impact.
Convenience may represent value. Timeliness may as well. But these are not strongly differentiated. In most cases, competitors can move to match you on convenience and on timeliness – just as they can on quality or interactivity.
The most differentiated form of value is tacit value. And this tends to flow from a very strong “why.”
Think of Harley Davidson. There are plenty of other motorcycle manufacturers. Many of them make very high quality machine. A BMW bike, for example, could easily match or exceed a Harley on quality.
But Harley isn’t really selling motorcycles. That’s not why the company exists. Harley is selling an idea, or better yet, an ideal. Once this ideal connects with the right buyer, there really is no alternative to a Harley.
So what’s the equivalent in your world?
Getting to that answer isn’t easy. It generally takes a lot of very focused, intense work to arrive at the sources of your tacit value, and the “why” that animates the entire being of your organization. (We think tools like the Value Ramp can be of great help, and we’ve always liked the way Simon Sinek addresses the concept of “starting with why.”)
The truth is, a lot of learning leaders don’t want to face up to this type of work. It’s easier to look for “best practices,” to follow what the competition is doing, to license the latest technology, or to dabble in the latest learning trend.
In most cases, that’s not creating value: it’s simply creating noise.
If you haven’t lately (or ever), make time to dig into what value really means in your education business.