How is PR helping Ed-Tech firms sustain after the burst of the Ed-Tech Bubble?

India’s Ed-Tech journey began with a rocky start in 2004, and it has undergone various phases of growth in India. There is a backstory to this success. It all commenced with the emergence of satellite-based education, smart classrooms and schools’ adoption of school management software. In 2008, India witnessed the onset of e-learning with Ed-Tech companies foraying into online education, an area yet to be explored to its full potential. Although Ed-Tech start-ups took shape early in the country, the journey started gaining significant traction during 2014-2016. Since 2015, more market players have joined the fray, buoyed by the tremendous success of a handful of companies that made it big quickly. Although the Indian education sector, with its 260 million students in 1.5 million schools, looked promising to companies looking for a return on investment, not every player that entered the market tasted success. Factors like business and revenue models determined how well they took off. In the initial years, most companies started with a B2C model and focused on supplementing classroom learning by creating self-learning solutions that could add to the knowledge acquired in school. This was to an extent because B2C businesses scale faster than B2B, as the latter requires more effort in creating a sustainable revenue channel. It was clear that technology cannot wholly replace classrooms and can only be a support system for schools and students.

The Ed-Tech crisis in India in the post-covid period

However, Covid-z19 and the subsequent lockdowns changed how education is imparted, shifting the focus on online education. What followed was a remarkable upsurge in the growth of the Ed-Tech industry. Propelled ahead by multiple factors like an all-time high consumer base, employers realising the need to up-skill the employees, and an increasing number of players entering the field, the Ed-Tech segment continued to experience a boom throughout the pandemic years. In the backdrop of favourable market conditions opened up by covid-19, there was an increase in demand for online learning management systems that could efficiently take on the task of remote learning. Although the Ed-Tech segment witnessed favourable market conditions and attracted significant investment during the Covid years, the same cannot be said for the post-Covid period. With the schools reopening, the need for Ed-Tech solutions, such as learning platforms, is no longer mandatory. In the present scenario, Ed-Tech companies are attempting to regain control of the situation through various measures, including layoffs, due to the gradual decline in the demand for their solutions.

Moreover, the post-covid scenario has been witnessing companies, India’s Ed-Tech unicorns, to emerging Ed-Tech players focusing on setting up offline centres. A handful of the top players in the market have already opened offline tuition centres to attract more students, as it was identified that face-to-face interaction is a significant factor for higher engagement levels. In other words, the sector has realised that the need for a 360-degree focus is required in the models. In the present scenario, the B2B model appears to be robust compared to B2C as the former can form a long-term relationship with the academic institutions it partners with. It delves deeper into the needs of students and teachers, which is vital to identify and design the curriculum that can fulfil the industrial demands and will enable them to meet the industrial standards. They establish a long-term association with their end consumers and serve as a trusted partner for educational institutions, students, and teachers.

PR as a tool to sustain Ed-Tech companies

Amid increasing consumer expectations in the Ed-Tech sector, businesses are scrambling to make a breakthrough with marketing strategies, online and offline. While good marketing can cultivate customer interest, it alone cannot sustain interest and create brand loyalty. This is where PR comes in. A well-thought PR and communications strategy is instrumental in brand building in a highly competitive market. As an emerging sector, India’s Ed-Tech sector needs a focussed approach to PR to enable companies to improve their visibility in the market. PR can help companies to reach out to their target audience through content-driven trend stories and opinion pieces. It can start conversations around different topics by delivering consistent, relevant, and impactful narratives and build readers’ interest in technology-driven solutions in education. PR can undoubtedly function as a long-term tool taking an informative approach by educating stakeholders about their solutions and creating awareness of their products and services. Effective PR activities can aid Ed-Tech firms in gaining visibility, let their presence known even in a saturated market, and generate trust and reliability from the audience.

To sum up, through their PR activities, companies should ensure that the end consumer is able to gauge the difference in their offerings from that of their competitors. The vision and mission of the company, its recent offerings and any updates in products and services should be clearly communicated so that the target audience knows exactly what the company stands for. As we advance, companies operating in the Ed-Tech sector will need to showcase their offerings and services to the target audience to gain visibility.

Vishwanath Ambadipudi
Vishwanath Ambadipudi Heads Marketing for Next Education. He brings rich 10 years of diverse experience in marketing across the G & J Industry, Logistics, Tourism, Start-Ups, Industrial Automation and Manufacturing sector and EdTech mainly focused on “Consumer behaviour and understanding”.

He is a prominent speaker at many marketing conferences. Awarded with the accolade of ‘Best Corporate Communications Professional of the Year’ from National Feathers Touch in association with “The Economic Times”
In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his friends and family and being active outdoors.

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