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EdTech Marketing Guide #1: From B2T to B2B marketing - Sean D’Arcy, CMO at Kahoot!

Updated: Dec 12, 2019

EdTech marketing guides

Practical tips from leading EdTech CMOs

Purpose of these guides

Marketing is such a critical function for an EdTech start-up and we know that getting reliable marketing insight is not an easy task. In addition to The State of EdTech Marketing Report that we recently published, we decided to launch a series of short practical guides that we created alongside leading EdTech CMOs.

These guides are intended to not only recognise their talent and great work but also to help you craft your marketing strategy, stay informed and to inspire you. Think of these guides as an EdTech marketing resource that you can tap into whenever you need some high-level tips.

We hope you find them useful and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions and/or suggestions (We highly appreciate feedback at Brighteye!).

Join our EdTech marketing community

We are launching a closed EdTech marketing Slack community, in which EdTech CMOs will be able to exchange, ask questions and share experiences freely with each other on different marketing topics (e.g. tips, tactics, news, etc.). If you're interested in joining, email us 📩 in order to receive an invitation.

As a welcome gift 🎁, you'll receive in advance (before we publish it officially!) a 2nd practical guide on how to create a data-driven brand strategy.


From B2T to B2B: My personal formula for transitioning marketing efforts from teachers to businesses

- Sean D’Arcy, CMO at Kahoot!

Kahoot! is an education quiz app and it is one of the world’s fastest growing game-based platform. They’re on track to pass 100 million users.

Who’s Sean and what’s his background?

Sean is the CMO of Kahoot! and he leads their global marketing efforts. He is an experienced marketer who has built his entire career, prior to Kahoot!, at Opera Software, including one year focused on schools supplies.

Sean is originally from Canada (Ottawa); he lives in Oslo, Norway with his wife and 2 boys (8 and 11) where he enjoys snow sports and outdoor activities – and recently built a cottage by the ocean.

What motivates you as an EdTech marketer?

A few different things:

#1: As a marketer (and a person in general), I’d like to make a social impact and I’m fortunate enough to be able to do that with education. At my former employer, Opera Software, I learned how tech, such as the Internet, could have a profound impact on developing markets. New tech has the power to democratise and to level the playing field. A good chunk of your hours are spent working, why not try do something impactful and rewarding?

#2: My kids are in elementary school and I wanted to take part in their education. Like most parents, I was surprised to learn that very little had changed since I was in school! It took a bit longer than expected for my youngest to read (being bilingual), so I was curious to see how technology could help.

#3: Kahoot! itself which is a well-known technology company in Norway (i.e. 25% of Norwegians played Kahoot! in December last year). I fell in love with the mission: “Make learning awesome!” and I’m eager to help put Norwegian tech companies on a global stage.

How did you transition Kahoot’s marketing efforts from teachers (B2T) to businesses (B2B)?

Kahoot! is a well-established player in K12 education with a mission to make learning more fun, engaging and impactful (e.g. In the U.S., more than 47% of K-12 teachers have signed up for the platform; more than 50% of K-12 students in the U.S. use Kahoot! every month for math, science, ELA and other subjects).

Our growth comes from: (1) teachers as they love to use it, and talk about it with their colleagues and (2) the product itself, as students love using it.

Interestingly, we soon realised that it’s not only the K-12 sector using our platform, but also the corporate employees segment! More than a million corporate employees use Kahoot! for training, presentations and team building. We now have 97% of the Fortune 500 companies registered on the platform. It even became our fastest-growing segment. How did this happen? Kids would come home from school and play with their parents, or teachers would play with parents and then parents would play Kahoot! with their coworkers, clients or an event audience. In other words, we leveraged referrals across multiple sectors thanks to a product that users love.

How did you manage your corporate product development process?

We discovered that corporate trainers are trying to solve many of the same problems as teachers, which are:

#1 👯‍♀️ driving engagement

#2 📤 the ability to “upload” lots of information quickly to students

#3 📝 the ability to do formative assessment effectively

We recognised the similarities and we packaged products accordingly. We’ve been careful to avoid making the business product a “corporate product” to keep the business marketing from sounding like enterprise marketing. Employees use Kahoot! for exactly the reason: they can feel like kids when playing, so we stayed true to ourselves, our brand and our mission.

We also connected the dots by letting businesses know that their contribution helps make learning awesome in K12 schools. In the sign-up process, we ask for support in our mission (i.e. help keep Kahoot! free for schools!), and as you may imagine many people have kids who are already using Kahoot! so it becomes a symbiotic relationship.

Finally, we are building a supportive community. In our case, the community has imagined a million different ways to use Kahoot! and we’re trying to tap into that in order to drive engagement and completely align our product with users’ needs.

How did you structure your marketing team to handle this transition?

From an internal organisational perspective, we intentionally didn’t silo out education (K12) from businesses because we think that they are the two-sides of the same coin. This allows some interesting synergies such as: (1) deep understanding and appreciation for both segments, (2) more cohesion in the marketing approach and (3) more efficiency in product development.

Can you share an insight that you did not expect during this transition?

We are discovering that for the business side of things, it is harder to drive word of mouth than it is to do so in education. Trainers, like teachers, are natural-born communicators, they want to share and help others. But companies seem to have a different perspective on this matter. They are usually closed networks that keep the companies’ secrets.


In summary, these are the essential tips from the Kahoot!’s approach:

#1 🗣

Create a supporting community in order to leverage word of mouth and referrals

#2 🍏🍎

Understand the similarities (i.e. problems & solutions, usage, etc.) between your current users and new target users

#3 🎯

Develop and adjust your product to fit the new target users’ needs without losing your identity, mission and core values

#4 🏋‍♂

Create a transversal and versatile marketing team that can handle both segments (this will also allow you to standardise the branding!)

#5 😎

Create a marketing strategy that communicates the mutual benefits to both segments

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