I have been involved in marketing and selling research-based science curriculum materials for the past 20 years. In that time, I’ve seen some drastic changes in how schools and teachers review and pick materials to use in their classrooms. With email, social media, instant messaging and voice mail dominating communication channels, very rarely do salespeople call a school, get connected to a live person and give a pitch over the phone. Teachers and administrators are very selective about who they speak with and what information they choose to discuss over the telephone. One thing that hasn’t changed is the credibility of one of the most powerful sales and marketing resources any publisher has – testimonials from the teachers who use the product.
Sales success for research-based, best-practices curriculum is driven by those who advocate the improvement of student achievement and engagement with this type of product. Typically, these research-based products, such as IQWST (Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology), can’t match the 'big money' marketing and sales efforts, and therefore aren’t afforded the brand recognition of some of the larger more established publishers. However, what products like IQWST have that keep them in the same playing field, are devoted and passionate users who pass the word on about the curriculum and what it does for students.
Meeting and talking with teachers of IQWST every week, I hear comments like:
“I never thought my kids could articulate ideas and explain phenomenon the way they are able to now.”
“This has revitalized my teaching career.”
“IQWST motivates Students to Learn.”
“I was a skeptic at first, but our students are engaged, and it’s rewarding as a teacher to see excitement about science.”
“This has allowed my female students to become more engaged in science and exhibit their natural leadership skills.”
Teachers have become increasingly wary of claims made of publishers after the fiasco with Common Core. That’s a good thing. The most satisfied customers I meet have thoroughly evaluated and tested curriculum. Listening to the experiences of other teachers will help in making wise decisions when it comes to science curriculum for the Next Generation Science Standards.
Tom Pence, Executive VP of Sales & Marketing