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  • Writer's pictureDon Keeler

The Essentials for International Publishers Entering the US EdTech Market

Updated: Jan 3

Hello, my name is Don Keeler and thank you for your interest in this article.


I am an EdTech innovator with a unique depth and width of experience in K12, HE, and workforce markets, designing and producing successful platforms and solutions for 30+ years for Fortune 500, federal \ state departments, publishers, workforce, medical, and more. 


My direct experience as the owner of strategy, design, production, compliance, business continuity, diligence, revenue generation, marketing, and more paralleled with their associated success, is unique at all levels.


These solutions represent complex, high volume (10M+ users), high-risk, and record-setting deployments, of national and international products.


This article identifies important areas that are essential to a publisher being successful in the K12, Higher Ed, and Workforce markets within the United States and the unique services we provide.


I provide equity firms as well as publishers advice on a regular basis. I will provide you with the same valuable information so you can also make the right choices in maximizing sales, differentiating from competitors, reducing your risk, avoiding costly refactoring, being better prepared to meet investor requirements, and more. 


K12 Onboarding and Client Management (The details are how you win!)

  • Providing seamless integration with key features into your platform is paramount to any product's success in the US.

  • This includes data integration of staff, students, class sections, and student enrollment from SIS systems and other repositories.

  • LMS integration with the capabilities of sharing content, grade pass back, and other features in a diverse field of solutions, all of which have specific requirements regardless of the Protocol/API utilized. 

  • Single-sign-on (SSO) is an area of diverse, often custom requirements by client and education market segments and many significant hidden costs. 

  • K12 client subscription licensing and implementation management are key in meeting client expectations.

  • I understand these areas in great detail and am known for maximizing a product's TAM to meet the needs of even the largest districts. This is achieved by not only meeting very well standard requirements, but also those requirements the protocols do not provide. In my review, I will provide such measures your product/service could benefit from, that have proven to gain market share quickly and increase sales incrementally. 

  • There are also many considerations that need to be understood when reviewing the Buy vs Build decision. 

  • I have a deep understanding of these measures and their alternatives. 

  • The solution to each of these areas may appear obvious, but in a short discussion, you will learn the complexity of identifying the right one to meet your needs.

  • These are very important decisions that can not be easily mitigated in the future if the right choice is not made now.

  • Specific areas of review are; 

    • can the solution actually meet a client’s needs as they are expecting

    • business continuity issues out of a solutions control 

    • the negative impact on EBITDA and/or sales annually or exponentially increasing year after year

    • many more areas of valid/existing concerns.


Business Continuity and Compliance (Don't shy away, embrace!)

  • This is the most overlooked/ignored/misunderstood area in education markets due to its inherent complexity that requires a very specific set of skills, comprehensive knowledge of diverse technical measures, and experience that only comes from many successful due diligence engagements. 

  • Without this publishers will unknowingly suffer significant revenue loss, most assured liability, and the real potential to lose significant market share in just days which takes many years to recover lost clients and the ability to sell to new clients.

  • I have architected and provided the technical measures and processes to meet these requirements for state departments and large publisher platforms that have passed extensive due diligence and prevented catastrophic events.  

  • I understand how to quickly remedy and implement best practices in business continuity that meet client requirements of purchase and effectively protect your client's experience and your organization's existence.

  • My review of this area will provide suggestions for technical measures and processes to be implemented. I have selected and implemented cost-effective measures to minimize the impact on COGS. I also provide a list of required processes and the details within each most often required.

  • When you have implemented these measures, you have turned what is a negative to your competitors into a very strong selling point which has been proven to be a differentiator in winning business. 


EdTech Business Process Management (The easy button you want to push!)

  • I have extensive experience in all business processes and solutions required to support an EdTech organization.

  • Managing state-required order processing, fulfillment, and procurement of funds requirements. If you can’t meet them, you won’t get paid!

  • Order Management requirements of licensing, client instance creation, finance system integration, CRM integration, physical product vendor processing, carrier tracking, textbook repository processing, and much more. 

  • This is often an area of client security issues, implementation difficulties, requiring more FTEs than should be required for order fulfillment, process error handling, and more.

  • Organizational accounting responsibilities are often unknown until after liabilities have accrued. Making the right, cost-effective choices at the beginning can reduce considerable lost time and effort by not having to restructure procedures, retrain staff, and implement different and additional solutions that are capable of fulfilling these requirements. 

  • I understand what solutions are available and cost-effective that would make any CFO proud, that are required to get you started on the right path. This prevents many of the mistakes investors will recognize immediately, and the government will find over time.

  • The review will provide recommendations of where and how improvements can be made along with an estimation of their impact on client experience, internal improvements, liability reduction, and cost savings. 

  • Insights will be provided into additional procedures to be implemented at different stages in your growth. This will provide you with an understanding that will prepare you for a possible exit at any time. This is another area where you will increase your ability to obtain the highest multiplier possible.


Core vs. Supplemental Curriculum Advisory

  • Guidance on Core and Supplemental curriculum product and market requirements.


State Adoption Processes and Challenges

  • Advice on navigating state adoptions, understanding state-specific requirements, and managing the complexities of processing orders/payments, logistics, and competitive pricing.


Curriculum Content and Assessment Requirements (Don't assume, it will cost you!)

  • This is not a review of the validity of your content, this is an in-depth review of meeting required, expected attributes of your content, including many that are often overlooked, but important to clients and during due diligence.. 

  • A detailed analysis of what is being done well, what requires attention, and why. 

  • Part of this analysis includes a recommended roadmap of triage, in order of highest value, with the anticipated scope of the mitigation required, and is part of your comprehensive roadmap.


Marketing Campaign Strategy and Enablement (Stabilizing your frustrations!)

  • My experience provides me with an in-depth understanding of the education market landscapes and how to develop customized, targeted marketing strategies and campaigns.

  • One size does not fit all. Each of my clients has had very different needs and outcomes required on their roadmap to success. I look through a different lens from a different level, finding opportunities as well as EBITDA killers regardless of client size. My purpose is to take you to the next, the next, and the next… level.

  • This review focuses on your product mix and how it aligns with all sections previously covered and other identified correlations of influence. From this review, a customized, detailed, prioritized product and marketing campaign roadmap will be created upon which to build. 

  • These are comprehensive/cohesive exercises I have been involved with for over 30+ years.

  • The review will provide relevant details and a clear rationale of what you need to focus on to make your products successful. 

  • You will not be provided boilerplate, or general information which expects you to dredge through volumes of articles, lists of conferences, blogs, or other sources to “discover” what you should do. 

  • That is my job, to provide a comprehensive plan from which we review and refine together. The purpose is to shorten the time required for this activity and produce a comprehensive, meaningful plan to execute.

  • You will be provided a “valid” review. These are very direct evaluations because you need to make accurate decisions and in some cases, these have been hard decisions for a client. You will not be strung along, meeting with many different people and groups, so you can be billed for more over a longer period of time. This review will not be watered down or filled with “canned” common strategic items everyone knows. We provide the details of how you separate from your competitors and acquire/retain market share.

  • My detailed experience in understanding the K12, HE, and Workforce markets is what clients find unique and more valuable than any assistance they have engaged within prior.


Marketing Campaign Enablement (Get the word out! No excuses!)

Also unique is the creation of a service for marketing campaign automation. Having direct experience with the challenges of the “Latest and Greatest” multi-channel, social media-call-touch contact in every way… method and its inability to deliver on its promise at every level, is why this solution was founded. 


Clients needed a means by which to “inform” the market of their product and with the current best methods it is not a feasible approach within the limited education selling seasons due to costly manpower requirements and technical measures. 


Any multi-touch labor-intensive approach for such coverage of just one persona would take many years to accomplish targeted market coverage.


What I have created is a timely, cost-effective method that provides you with the fastest, best method of comprehensive market coverage, identifying qualified contacts, while allowing you to scale your sales team as you grow… not before. 


In addition, the messaging you need for your product (sequencing included) in your existing or new education market can be provided as well. If you have done this exercise, you will know how rare this ability is, with or without, AI.


Clients have wasted substantial amounts of capital and time on the wrong approach and with expectations of messaging to be provided only to experience very disappointing results.


We review this approach together in detail. This alone is something almost all companies would implement. It is of extreme value to building sales teams and in-house call centers.


Resources, Best-in-Class Working Relationships (Adapt and overcome!)

My work in the K12, HE, and Workforce markets has provided working relationships with quality individuals and organizations that can assist our clients in meeting their needs.


These are not passive organizations, I have been directly engaged with these organizations to deliver very specific skills and services that are the best in the industry.


From engineering, content writing \ reviews, onboarding solutions, fintech services, due diligence, logistics, kit \ physical product fulfillment, print services, state department integrations, integrations to all current CRMs/Finance systems/others, and everything in between.


These are personally vetted resources I have worked with directly and am able to recommend and contact.


Summary

This may seem overwhelming, but it is not for me. I have lived this for over 30+ years and am constantly evolving my requirements through continuous engagement at all levels within EdTech.

In a short introductory call where I learn some key points about your product and answer your questions, my unique understanding will become evident. Click here to take your first step to an easier, more cost-effective path to success.

After this call, if you are interested in learning more about our process that produces your comprehensive, detailed plan for success, I will share it at that time.

Looking forward to helping you become our next testimonial!


All Rights Reserved. Don Keeler. Copyright.

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