Why Air Quality is such a Successful Marketing Opportunity – a look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

by Achim Haug

Can you imagine a prestigious school without toilets?

It is very interesting to look at the core marketing messages of private schools. I just googled and see the following:

  • Highly Qualified Teachers
  • Oldest and most respected British international school
  • Providing quality education
  • Enriching learning environment for all students
  • Exceptional learning environment

All of these schools are prestigious schools and thus focusing on fulfilling the highest needs of their students. A quality, enriching, and highly qualified education.

Now let’s contrast that with what a school in very poor areas/countries would highlight:

  • Provides food
  • Provides a safe space from violence
  • Provides sanitary facilities
  • Equal opportunities for boys and girls
  • Classrooms/shelter provided (no outdoor classes)

We can see that the schools in the poor area need to fulfill much more basic requirements that are taken totally for granted at the “rich” schools.

A generally accepted model for this is the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and we can clearly see that most schools focus their marketing messages on the top of the hierarchy because they think they already address all of the lower levels.

But, what if not?

Parents are getting increasingly aware and concerned about air pollution and many schools are in areas of high pollution. Many of these schools do not have sufficient air purification systems in place and their parents who look at the school start seeing something like this:

The big issue is that the hierarchy of needs only works if the needs of the lower levels have been fully addressed. So if a prestigious school in a polluted area does not have classroom air within safe levels (e.g. as defined by the WHO or EPA) the whole marketing falls apart and becomes ineffective.

Healthy air is a fundamental safety criterion and the right of each child so not addressing this obligation is a big risk for schools.

Turning a Risk into an Opportunity

Now the good message is that you can do something about it!

The awareness of indoor air quality in schools is a relatively new and developing concern among parents. So not many schools yet adequately address this and therein lies your opportunity.

If you as a school can guarantee healthy classroom air (even at times when it’s very polluted outside) and use that in your marketing messages you achieve two major benefits:

  1. Your marketing message becomes much more powerful. By proving that you cover ALL basic needs, your marketing of the higher-level needs like “self-actualization” becomes much more credible. You can use the strong basic need of Air Quality as a driver to market also the higher-level needs that you as a school fulfill.
  2. By highlighting how healthy your air is, you are creating awareness on this topic and parents will compare the air quality between schools. This makes you stand-out and since it is a lower-level need it has an extremely high priority among parents. So as a result parents not happy with the air quality at other schools have a very strong incentive to switch to your school.

Beyond Data: Marketing Driven Air Quality Monitoring

Most air quality sensor platforms focus on data collection. We at AirGradient go beyond this data collection approach and are building a platform that fosters communication of air data between various stakeholders (school administrators, teachers, parents, and students). Thus providing the communication for marketing on how good your air quality is and enabling the school to communicate a real unique selling point.

Contact us! We are more than happy to have a chat about how we can help you increasing enrollment with a successful clean air campaign.

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