It's a good thing I wasn't in charge of buying the edtech products I used as a kid.
I would've been in product suite central.
If a company gave me an experience I enjoyed—filled with games, avatars, and perks—I wanted to use more of it. I felt motivated to become a loyal customer.
I also know what it's like to learn and work with more established companies. Ones that survived the K-12 education market long enough to develop product suites.
The ease of the internet has killed the one-stop shop. There are simply too many possibilities for most buyers to consider purchasing from just one edtech company.
But that doesn't mean product suites can't have a meaningful impact.
Using many different edtech startup products made loyalty appealing
I'm in awe that a few baby companies had the power to shape me into a better student.
When I was a kid, I was motivated to learn with startup platforms that were changing the face of education in the early 2000s.
I remember having a go-to platform strictly for flashcards. Another for digital art projects. Etc, etc, etc.
I don't remember using many product suites or products with integrations as a kid, besides Microsoft of course.
I think my teachers and admin encouraged a culture of trying many different companies out because they didn't:
want to put all their eggs in one basket
know quality suites were available
have faith in the execution of product suites
I've tried to put myself in their shoes. Picture this.
You're a teacher who comes across an edtech literacy product. It's backed by research that aligns with your instruction and is run by an established company known for efficacy. You're sold.
After adding the lit program to your cart, you see the company also offers math, science, and social studies solutions. Do you also add these to your cart?
In our digital age, there are too many other options for many of us to commit all our financial resources toward one company.
It wasn't until I started working in the edtech industry that I really saw the potential benefits of using multiple solutions from the same company. Using a product suite.
But some customers can be reached with the one-stop shop. There are ways you can try to entice them to own more of your suite.
Excite edtech buyers with product integrations and story
Not all solutions within a suite are treated equally. Flagships emerge and it takes intentionality to ensure that all products get the love they deserve.
Two products that work together as a team may be undeniable.
You know the struggle of having 50 tabs open. Or having to shape windows into different-sized rectangles so you can see them all on your screen.
If only there was a way to experience multiple windows within a single system.
That's what product integration is all about.
It's a lot easier to sell a product than a story. And a 2-in-1 product experience might give customers the convenience and security of results for you to get their business.
But sometimes product suites don't have the tech capabilities to offer an integrated experience. They might run independently for a few reasons:
They weren't meant to when they were initially built.
They could've had integrations from the get-go but didn't and it's not in the cards to rebuild with your company's current budget.
This doesn't mean that the products can't and shouldn't be used together. Or your chances to excite buyers are shot.
When products don't integrate, you can create a story. Marketers can use their creative license to:
make a strong narrative out of user pain points and hopes
combine elements of multiple products into a cohesive plan
take customers on an adventure
Channel your edtech kid to be a conscious product provider
As convenient as G-Suite may be, it hasn't stopped me from experimenting with Notion.
Startups build on the foundation product suite companies spent years creating, and innovate.
You can't stop customers from looking beyond a single edtech company. Too many exist. Too many opportunities to find the just-right solution to make their kids achieve.
But it's not just the sheer number of options. Edtech buyers have to vet each product individually before purchasing.
If the company you work for has a product suite, think about what you can do in your role to give each product the attention it needs to sell.