The Computing Curriculum is a effectively a Start Up Curriculum, this hasn’t been done before.
“We need a strategy strong enough to sell wheat flour to a
carnivorous, gluten intolerant market place.”
Think of all the teachers as buyers of a new product.
Remember that PHSE and citizenship were new but broadly palatable concepts. They we sold to a receptive market.
Computing is about as popular as Ratners. Nobody wants it, nobody sees the point, many people are in fact scared of it. Those people will do anything they can to subvert this subject and avoid confronting their fear.
Which means…..We have a problem.
Key Questions we should have asked of ourselves before we began the new Undertaking:
Do you know exactly who your customers are and how to reach lots of them for nothing or almost nothing?
Twitter isn’t it – by the way, most ‘tweachers’ are already converts. Who is the average teacher? What are their values? Their cultural references, their picture of success.
Grass roots evangelism is one way, but are we applying Word of Mouth Marketing Strategies. I’ve applied this set of criteria to the Computing Curriculum and RAG rated them for risk to the successful integration of Computing into the English Curriculum. ( more reading to be done here to get clarity on some of the terms )
- newness of the brand in the marketplace
- type of good
- knowledge about a brand
- relevance of a brand to a broad audience
- quality – esteem given to a brand
- perceived risk
Do you know how to price your product or service?
What will they buy into? How difficult are we going to make it for them to say yes and sign on the dotted line. How do me make the step to say yes small enough that they don’t get all reptilian and run like the wind.
Do you know how to sell?
Are you emotionally invested in what should or shouldn’t be in the Curriculum and how it should be done? The truth is, IT DOESN’T MATTER.
The only thing that matters is what the “proles” will buy.
[A prole was a member of Ancient Roman society who had little or no property. I like this – because the teachers we are selling to have no ownership of technology, let alone computing. They are disenfranchised, scared, scrabbling to survive in a subject they don’t want to own. In addition, it also will jar with most of my readers to refer to teachers as proles. Consider it a metaphor an uncomfortable one, but that’s the point, to sell means you need to dissociate yourself from sympathy with victim/mark/client/customer.]
Summary of the challenge for the Undertaking:
So, the position of the Undertaking is slightly different to a regular start up. We have been given a product and have a confined demographic of customer. The only thing we have control over is the sales message. how do we give a golden sheen to the rather shitty egg we have been saddled with?
We need a refined sales message – something that is Ronseal.
We need to make Computing buyable, it doesn’t matter if it is an exactly theoretically accurate description, it just needs to make the prole pick up the pen and want to sign up. That means they don’t need to think, they just need to like it. Proles don’t like things they have to think about, but they do like the endorphines released by the purchase of new things, for a while they then become evangelists for the Undertaking Once we have them giving buying signals and tied in, we can shape the semantics.