I’m working on a new survey (on social technologies for learning—keep an eye out for its release in the coming days), I’ve been spending some time in SurveyMonkey, and I came back across a tiny survey we did before our Assessing Your Market for Education Products Webinar in February.
Twenty-five Webinar registrations took the time to indicate how often they use six market assessment techniques before developing a new educational product or service:
1. Input from a committee
2. Member/customer surveys
3. Competitive research
4. Individual interviews
5. Web traffic analysis
6. Focus groups
That list happens to be in order of the most frequently used technique (44.0 percent frequently use input from a committee, and 28.0 percent always use it) to the least frequently used (45.8 percent never use focus groups, and 44.0 percent never use Web traffic analysis).
I get the low use of focus groups—it takes skill, time, money, and logistical coordination to do focus groups well. But I find the low use of Web traffic analysis borderline negligent. If an organization has data about what its audiences want (via search terms) and where they’re spending their time or not (e.g., top-ranking pages and bounce rates), why not use it?
Admittedly, this was a very small group and a non-scientific sampling, but I’ll say that our anecdotal evidence from the field points to the same inattention to Web analytics when it comes to developing educational products and services.
With more and more learning happening in part or wholly online, Web analytics seems an obvious place to turn for information—particularly when it’s already being collected and just needs to be mined.
I’ll note too that other technologies organizations use, like learning management systems, can also be great repositories of information about learners and their preferences. As I mentioned last week, organizations are increasingly seeing the marketing side of an LMS (as opposed to a delivery system only) and demanding Amazon-esque suggestive selling and bundling of products.
Mining LMS data is another natural, if perhaps underused, method for fueling marketing and ensuring products developed respond to learners’ real needs.
We’ll be talking more about LMSes and their potential for marketing in tomorrow’s Leading Learning Webinar on how to select the right learning management system for your association. Thanks to Classroom24-7’s sponsorship, you can catch the Webinar for free.