Early childhood services are all about the preschool set, but proper segmentation for early childhood marketing is far from kid stuff. To cover the marketplace effectively, you need to go beyond the ABCs and 123s. Let’s investigate some of the more arcane aspects of the art of early childhood data.
#5. Daycare centers are far from the whole market
The U.S. has a broad array of agencies, businesses, non-profits, and individuals that provide care and education for kids six and younger. MCH has the most comprehensive data available to reach early childhood decision makers, but they aren’t all in the MCH Child Care Centers file.
More than half of early childhood services are now operated by public school systems. Therefore, for complete coverage of early childhood organizations, you need to also target professional educators in the MCH School and School District databases.
But wait, there’s more!
Beyond schools and commercial child care centers, there are more than 150,000 licensed, home-based caretakers. MCH’s exclusive Home Child Care Services database allows you to extend into this important additional layer of early childhood care.
If your early childhood marketing plan doesn’t consider each of the three segments, you’re probably missing important prospects.
#4. Secrets of sweet spot segmentation
How do you parse through more than 312,000 early childhood organizations to find your best marketing opportunities?
Every company has a different sweet spot, but there are simple guidelines based on your offerings and objectives.
Available funds: In general, services operated by public schools are better funded than privately owned child care operations, and home-based providers have the thinnest budgets of all.
Wealth: Services of any type that serve high income areas will have more discretionary funds than their low income counterparts. You are likely to have more success targeting high wealth areas unless you sell early childhood curriculum specifically designed to help low income children meet Kindergarten readiness standards. The MCH Wealth Score makes it simple to segment based on average area income.
Size: Organizations that serve more kids buy a wider variety of products and services and need them in larger quantities. For schools and child care centers, use MCH’s Early Childhood Enrollment selector to refine your target audience. For Home Child Care Services, test the larger programs based on Capacity Code.
Main Offices: Many organizations have regional main offices that direct the purchasing of a number of child care centers. The main office of a Head Start, YMCA, or other child care organization will often outperform the program locations.
#3 Who’s the boss?
It’s rarely necessary to target multiple contacts at a Child Care Center or home-based childcare. The director or owner is almost always the primary purchasing authority. The situation is more complicated, however, when marketing to public schools. The Pre-Kindergarten Director, Principal, and early childhood teachers will all have a hand in influencing and approving purchases. The Early Childhood Education Director at the school district is also important for district-wide implementations.
#2 Ready for a Head Start?
Most people have heard of the Head Start Program, but these organizations are often misunderstood. Head Starts are preschool programs funded by grants from the Health and Human Services department. Head Start serves more than one million children from low income households in urban and rural areas. Operated by professional educators, Head Start helps disadvantaged children transition from preschool to elementary school successfully.
While many Head Start services are located in public school facilities, they are typically operated by independent social service organizations. MCH compiles a comprehensive set of Head Start Programs as part of the Child Care Centers file, but because the programs crossover with schools you will also find some Head Start personnel and selectors in the MCH School file.
#1. Tricky, tricky addresses
One of the most common data challenges that new early childhood marketers encounter is confusion about duplicate childcare center addresses. There are two primary causes for the confusion.
First, many child care programs have multiple locations that are managed by a central office. Each center has the mailing address of the central office, but a separate address for the physical location. The second scenario involves centers in densely populated urban areas where centers in the same office complex or high rise may have very similar mailing addresses, only differentiated by suite numbers, if that.
Since different data users have varying needs, MCH maintains both physical and mailing addresses, and our staff can help you craft a target audience with the addresses you need for your campaigns.
Need a Sherpa to climb the data mountain?
If you need more guidance, MCH is just a click or a call away. We’re always happy to help marketers learn the data landscape. Give your MCH representative a call at 800-776-6373 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.