What is the question that everyone has forgotten to ask

By Tony Attwood

I won’t attempt to keep you guessing as to which question I mean, but instead will reveal my answer straight away. The question I think we’ve forgotten is, “why?”

Yet to me that has always been the most important of questions, because if one can come up with some form of answer to a “why?” question, there is every chance that we might be able to change things – should we wish so to do.

The questions concerned can involve practically anything: “Why in a society as wealthy as ours do we have food banks?”  “Why is knife crime seemingly on the increase?” “Why didn’t that last promotion to schools sell as well as I had hoped?”

OK, that final question operates on a different level from the first two, but it is still a valid “why?” question and it certainly leads onto the obvious follow up, “what can be done about it?”

I’m not going to harangue you with my views in relation to the first two questions, but I would like to take up one moment of your time in relation to the final point – the question about why a promotion maybe didn’t do as well as you had hoped.

Now when I ask this question about promotions to schools I generally hear four separate answers which can be summarised like this…

  1. The failure was due to the way the advertisement was written or designed.
  2. It was due to the fact that teachers are not buying at the moment.
  3. The advertising medium that was used (post, email, magazine, trade show, etc) was ineffective.
  4. This particular product or service is no longer in demand at this price – or perhaps one competitor has come to dominate that market.

Of course, there are other reasons why a promotion to teachers might not have brought in the desired results, but those four seem to dominate the discussions that I see and hear.

Now the fact that there are those four separate reasons why leads to another problem: because without working out which is the prime cause of one advertisement not working, how can one know what to do next?

After all there is no point in changing from email to post if the problem is with the way the advert was written or laid out.

Although it may make you think of me as rather a sad person, answering this “why?” question in relation to selling to teachers and managers in schools has been a central focus of my life for quite a few years.  And as a result I believe I have some of the answers.

Of course the product makes a difference – there are some things that schools are now less interested in than they might have been.  And yes some schools are reigning in spending. But others are spending more, simply because they are one teacher short, they have stopped trying to recruit, and are spending the saved salary in other areas.

But most of the time it comes down  to the medium used and the way the promotion is set out.

Now because I am big-headed enough to think I am right about this, I’m willing to make an offer.  If you would care to let my colleagues and me know what you sell and direct us towards your website, or a brochure, or a recent advertisement sent out, we’ll send you a free report on the “why?” question and how you could get greater sales.

Of course such an offer might sound a bit fishy, so if you want to check us out first of all you can phone 01604 880 927 for a chat.  Or if you want to see what we do, you can take a look at www.schools.co.uk  

There again, if you want to jump in and get a free report, you can send a copy of one of your advertisements to Stephen@schools.co.uk If it is a catalogue or printed leaflet you want us to look at you can mail that to Stephen Mister, Schools.co.uk, 1 Oathill Close, Brixworth, Northants NN6 9BE.

I do hope you’ll take us up on this.  I do love the challenge. And I really, really, really do promise, there is no charge, no obligation, and no salesman will call.  Ever.

Tony Attwood

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