The EdTech market is growing nowadays and it has already become a saturated environment. In order to compete with other players, educational startups need to invest into the development of transmedia customer experience reaching students in as many points of contact as possible.
Keywords: transmedia production, storytelling, competitive advantage, stages of competition evolution
Рынок образовательных технологий продолжает расти. Несмотря на его относительную новизну, он уже является очень насыщенной и конкурентной средой. Для того, чтобы сохранять конкурентное преимущество, стартапам в этой сфере необходимо инвестировать в создание трансмедийного клиентского опыта. Консистентное существование проекта одновременно на нескольких платформах позволяет увеличить количество точек контакта с клиентом. Как результат потребитель получает более насыщенный опыт взаимодействия с компанией, что и определяет её уникальность в глазах пользователей.
Ключевые слова: трансмедийное проихводство, сторителлинг, конкурентное преимущество, этапы развития конкуренции
Companies are competing for customer’s attention since the concept of business appeared. The market of educational project is relatively new since other players except the state got a permission to offer educational services. Despite the relative newness of the market it is already a very saturated and competitive environment. In order to identify the competitive advantage for educational services today it is necessary to study the stages of competition development and identify what parameter can distinguish an educational startup from other companies.
Historically, competition went through several stages.
Existance. The first stage of competition is characterized by the production of goods that can somehow satisfy the existent demand. The provision of the best quality of the product is not the main goal for the producer as market is not saturated with analogues. Product can sell itself because it is rare, unique and demand exceeds the supply. At the beginning universities were the only and most reliable source of knowledge. University was the only institution that had a monopoly over knowledge in a form of a library and teaching professors. Student had to attend lectures as this was the only and most convenient way of knowledge transition. Also, student could spent several days waiting for the right book in a line, read it in a library under the supervision as it was not possible to take it out, etc. Experience was kept in professors’ heads and books were too expensive for purchasing so few people could afford having a house library. Market of education was ruled by those who have the limited access to knowledge also known as resources.
Price. The second stage of competition is characterized by the usage of new methods of production. Typography companies implemented new technologies that aimed to reduce production costs and as a result books became more affordable for people, so universities lost the authority of the only source of knowledge. People started to educate themselves on their own. Market of education became more flexible and was ruled by companies that could provide cheap and different books. This does not mean that people stopped attending universities and getting degrees, they just got a chance to study more things from the pool of their interests not related to the specialty.
Services. On the third stage of competition the main accent was made on the distribution in the situation of consumer’s demand saturation. Companies that were involved into the education had to create more effective ways of knowledge distribution — an opportunity to order / fast and accurate logistics for physical products (how easy is the access to knowledge) and the accessibility of knowledge (different formats — cassette / audio or video recordings, TV programs, shows and quizzes, science channels, ‘schools’ for children and adults where people can acquire different skills). The more flexibility in choice were offered to the client the better, the greater chances were to be chosen. The traditional approach of ‘book and lecture’ was replaced by new methods of knowledge transfer so companies that could make the educational process fun and entertaining were most competitive. Moreover, the advertising came into sight as different types of products appeared on the market and producers had to ensure buyers that they need it. In order to satisfy different wants and needs of the buyer producers had to take his/her desire and opinion about the design, size and color into account. For example, light books with thin coverage, guide to learning a foreign language in a week, journals with the technology of collecting a single piece of something per one edition appeared.
Advanced services. The fourth stage is the stage of advanced customization. To develop comfortable timetable, to pick up courses that person is interested in, to deliver a book next morning right to the door, native speakers and invited professionals, and many opportunities for pleasing the customer.
Technologies. The fifth stage was linked to the appearance of new technologies such as Internet. Education became possible online with fewest barriers ever in history — only one click to best lecturers from TOP universities all over the world. If material is not available online, consumer considers this company out of date and old fashioned, it does not satisfy minimum requirement of easy access.
Prediction and guidance (advanced technologies). On the final stage consumer becomes more demanding and they may not have clear interests so they expect advises from the company that can help to navigate. Consumers want a personalized approach, concern and interest from the education provider what can be expressed in accessibility (from any device), more individuality (100 % customized program), self-expression, anticipation (predicting of what customer can be interested in and making only relevant recommendations on what to do next = responsibility is transferred to the education provider). Also, last stage is accompanied by the radical shift in people’s lifestyle. Time became the greatest precious and people started to use every single moment in order to learn something so previously detailed lectures were replaced with quick tasks in applications, short videos, podcasts on the way. Also, people get bored quicker as they got used to be entertained by mass media so they like trying different activities to diversify the learning process. 
Product (a piece of knowledge) is no longer a competitive advantage because this parameter is a must. All educational providers have great material to share which does not make them unique so many other parameters started to influence the decision of a potential customer. The whole set of parameters that influence customer’s decision to purchase product or services is called customer experience. 
Many companies nowadays try to understand how to create the best customer experience. First of all, it is important to understand where customer experience forms.
Our world is digitalized and online is the main meeting point for company and customer. According to statistics over the last year and only in Russia 5 million of new Internet users appeared. 63 % of users search for products and services online. 6,5 hours per day people in Russia spend online on average. 
Meanwhile, online can be separated on web (desktop access) and mobile channels (smartphones). The most remarkable trend of 2017 is that 54 % of sales in Russia from online segment are made through mobile application. In 2017 mobile audience worldwide outreached the web audience which means that mobile channel becoming the main and most convenient channel for people to access the information and eventually the next most important educational environment.  Online shift, specifically to mobile in 2017, does not mean that educational providers should neglect offline activities as many skills require physical presence in the studio / class, for example — pottery. Customers experience should be coherent and education providers need to think how to combine all possible platforms to create the most rich and positive customers experience.
Let us assume pottery as a case example. Traditionally, pottery is taught in studious where students can practice. In this old-fashioned way of studying teacher can reach students and communicate with them when they are physically in the studio and the whole studying experience is limited by hours in a workshop. There are couple of inconveniences that can be solved by expanding students’ experience with mobile application.
First of all, students can experience a lack of ideas for classes as they do not have enough experience and cannot imagine what shapes and structures are possible. Mobile application may include a part of best practices, themes, combinations, unusual works in order to use it as a base for inspiration. Such sections can be studied after the class in any spare minute of time. Taking into consideration the choice or likes of students in mobile application teacher can adapt the course.
The second thing is that in an intense group class it is impossible to go through all techniques of hand pottery because teacher should develop a program that will suit to different needs. In case of too advanced program beginners will struggle from complicated tasks and feel themselves unsatisfied. On another hand, too simple tasks will slow down talented students that are willing to experiment and take challenging tasks. Students may plan their personal program in application with step by step tutorials that can be used in the class. Teacher still assists to students and corrects them but spend less time for each person as major information is given in the application.
Furthermore, pottery workshop can partner with museums that exhibit ancient ceramics in order to offer a deep historical dive for students in a form of podcast that can be played in the museum hall.
To sum up, studying consists of several elements and the ability to cover them all create the most outstanding customer experience. The art of transmedia customer experience that has to be learnt by companies lies in the usage of several platforms at the same time, provision of related and non-repeating content, shortly say in changing the educational process by creation of consistent experience of comprehensive development due to the combination of variety of tools.
- Кондратов М. В. Формирование и развитие теории конкуренции // Молодой ученый. — 2010. — № 6. — С. 146–149. — URL https://moluch.ru/archive/17/1758/ (date of application: 01.07.2018)
- Безуглова М. Н. Тренды в области управления клиентским опытом // Client service forum 2018. — 2018. — URL https://www.retail.ru/articles/151810/ (date of application: 26.06.2018)
- Главный аналитический доклад. 22-й Российский интернет форум // РИФ 2018. — 2018. — № 22. — С.5 — URL https://2018.rif.ru/files/reports/runet_today.pdf (date of application: 29.06.2018)
- Statcounter. Mobile and tablet internet usage exceeds desktop for first time worldwide // Press Release. — 2016. — URL http://gs.statcounter.com/press/mobile-and-tablet-internet-usage-exceeds-desktop-for-first-time-worldwide (date of application: 25.06.2018)