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What's this all about?

7 - Your Teacher as your Customer

Find out what they really need.

Marketing yourself

What will help the Teacher give you a better Mark?

We suggest also thinking of your teacher as a customer or client. This is starting the process of your marketing campaign.

A customer is someone who requires something from another. While obviously there are customers who buy things, there are other types as well. This is an extra dimension that you learn from experience.

In organizations we often talk about “Internal Customers.”

The staff from one department are often the customers of another because they require something from them. Often it is a “two–way street” as both departments require something from the other. In an advertising company the creative staff require a clear brief from the client managers. In return, the client managers require the creative staff to develop advertising concepts to sell to the firm’s customers. They are both internal customers of the other.

Organizations often encourage staff to think this way, as the whole point in dealing with a customer is to provide good service so that businesses run more smoothly and profitably.

It is the same at university. You are a customer of the university you are attending. The university needs to provide you with a good product (your education) and it needs to provide an environment that is safe and enjoyable.

However, the extra dimension is that this is also a two-way street. The university is also a customer of yours. You need to provide it with the evidence (appropriate grades) so that it can award you your degree.

You and your teacher are also customers of each other.

Your teacher needs to provide you with good tuition to allow you to achieve the grade you are after.

You need to provide your teacher with the evidence so they can give you the grade you are after for each assessment task.

“Selling” your Assignment

When you write an essay or report you are trying to “sell” the teacher your work.

When selling something you need to make it easy for the customer to buy. In business we often also work to “remove any barriers that may stop your customer buying.”

SpotifyTM has done this with their music streaming service. They have it set up so that it takes just seconds to search for a band, listen to their songs and then find similar music.

Mobile phone companies do it with their phone plans. Successful companies make it very easy for you to find the plan you want and then to buy it.

At some stage you may have searched for a mobile phone plan and then not be able to find it in the maze of their web pages and information. You may well have given up and gone to another company, so the sales process is failing.

Both SpotifyTM and successful mobile phone companies know the process that a potential customer needs to go through to buy their product. They know each step the customer needs to go through before they hit the “Buy\” button. These steps include the thought processes that a potential customer goes through.

It is exactly the same when you are “selling” your report or essay to your teacher. You need to know the steps the teacher goes through when they mark your work.


So, for your assignment, what does your customer really want?

What does the person marking your report or essay need? And what do they want? You need to look at it through their eyes.

An important marketing concept is to give your customer what they want, not just what they need. For example, “what I need is a drink to quench my thirst. What I want is a very large beer 😉 .”

Don’t be shy about asking your customer what they want. Customers actually like it when you work to clarify what they really want. This is being professional. You are trying to ensure they are getting the best service you can give them.

Teachers, generally, also actually like it when you ask them questions.

It is part of being professional about your work. This shows you are interested and that you want to ensure that you understand their requirements well so that you can provide them with a good product.

Think of the person doing the marking.

Your teachers are trying to help you. They want you to pass and to get great marks.

You need to help them help you.

The person marking your assignment will also be marking tens or hundreds more. They are busy people and this marking is an extra load on them.

We have found that when we are marking we can get very tired and so if a student’s assignment is hard to read or to understand or if it is hard to find the answers that student is making it hard to give the marks. Of course people marking do their best to mark in a fair and unbiased way but when an essay or report is well structured and laid out the answers just jump out to the reader.

The well-structured reports and essays are the fastest to mark.

It will be the same in your professional job. Managers and customers find that the well-structured reports and proposals are the easiest to read and understand. This leads to the person writing in that manner getting the best results and rewards.

The required writing style

When working in a professional role you find that different managers or different customers have different preferences for the style of report.

Some want it short. Some want it to be more descriptive. Some want images to help explain things. Some want summary tables and graphs.

It is important to work out what style your manager or customer prefers so that you can present it in this way. It is simply giving the customer what they want.

For your report or essay, check with your teacher how they like things presented. They should be happy that you are professional enough to ask this.



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