A Redefined Marketing Approach Will Augment the EdTech Sector in 2023

Authored by Mr Subramanyam Reddy, CEO and Founder, KnowledgeHut upGrad

India is a hub of innovation and the rise of startups in the country is a testament to the fact. A majority of the successful businesses come to light not because their end game is getting acquired by the bigger fish, but because they have innovated and found a way to solve a problem a consumer faces. The EdTech sector is no stranger to a rise of businesses in the space, offering skilling solutions across a diverse range of age and skill levels. From K-12 to undergraduate and post graduate programs, from skill-focused trainings, to knowledge-area based bootcamps, the EdTech sector has something for everyone, from individuals to large corporations. And everyone has benefited from the diversity of offerings in the space, especially during the pandemic years. 

The edtech sector saw an unexpected boost during the pandemic as people turned to the internet for utilising the time to upskill and prepare to adjust to the new normal. The sector’s phenomenal growth invited a 32X rise in VC funding, to the tune of US$ 16 billion, as mentioned in a report on India Today. With rigid safety protocols in place, the pedagogy transformed and MOOCs and skill-focused trainings enjoyed a steady uptick in demand. Powered with an unprecedented infusion of funds, businesses in the EdTech space looked to expand their reach, going all-out with their marketing mandate, leading to increased ad spends by the sector. In fact, top education brands were quite aggressive with their media spending, preferring TV over digital media for their campaigns. A Mint report on the marketing trends in EdTech estimated the sector spent around INR 500 crore on advertisements, driving a 2.5X growth in TV ad volumes of EdTech brands. 

With the world putting the pandemic in the past by Q3, 2022, and schools and universities functioning at pre-pandemic strength, the spotlight moved away from EdTech, catalysing a rather interesting wave of changes, starting from a consolidation of businesses in the space, to a slowing down of the projected growth for the sector. The sector’s marketing mandate has not remained untouched by these changes. While not a complete reversal of priorities, the spends on TV and print ad campaigns have all but stopped. The question then, is not whether EdTech’s growth dreams are over. It is how does the sector navigate through turbulence. The answer lies within the sector’s own area of expertise. The sector grew with the increasing relevance of digital. And digital marketing is where the sector’s marketing spends should now be redirected to. With a young audience keen to learn and make their decisions off social trust, it is imperative for businesses in the EdTech space to earn that trust. Digital platforms offer a unique opportunity for brands to connect directly with their audience, and measure engagement too!

Tapping into the power of digital, EdTech players can expand their reach, leveraging an authentic brand voice to showcase their offerings, and the outcomes they can drive for professionals and enterprises alike. The no-frills approach is not an august measure, but rather, a bid to communicate with the audience with honesty and in ways that matter to them. Webinars & Masterclasses have proven to drive phenomenal results in increasing brand engagement and reach for many EdTech companies. And social media remains a preferred, primary touch point, where customers find quick answers to their queries, and access new information about products and offerings while they’re fresh. 

As EdTech navigates the uncertainty that comes with shifting priorities of the market, and a looming global recession, a grounded, more customer-centric approach to marketing is the sure-shot way to augment growth.


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