"So that's how I took a decision of acquiring this as a career goal."

Who are these students enrolling in online coaching classes? This is a research analysis piece on different student personas pursuing online coaching classes. Insights come from primary interviews.

"So that's how I took a decision of acquiring this as a career goal."
Photo by Honey Yanibel Minaya Cruz / Unsplash

Written by Dr. Taapsi Ramchandani

In a research study recently concluded, we spoke to students enrolled in over 10 different online coaching platforms to understand their experiences of the same. But today I’m not going to focus on product experiences (aka, usage) but rather who these students are. Some would call this exercise building personas, or archetypes or even characters depending on how you semantically swing.

I'll be writing a different DIY post on personas building but for now let's get straight to the application of the same.

This post is helpful for:

  • Product strategists embedded in growth-stage edtech companies who might consider these personas as a way to upsell to their existing audience.
  • Marketing strategists in growth-stage edtech companies who might want to fine-tune their communication if these audience segments resonate with them.
  • Founders in early-stage edtech companies who are looking for inspiration to figure out their beachhead market.

The Respondents

The job-to-be-done by a test prep platform is to clear an exam. The metric of success is percentile score.

Their professional choices are a product of high social and personal stakes. They might have experienced hardship in their lives or seen the tangible social impact of an action they might have taken during an internship. They are pursuing careers in the public and private sectors. Consequently, their metric of success from a job is generating social capital. In our dataset they were UPSC, GATE and SSC aspirants.

UPSC aspirant enrolled at Unacademy:

“Looking at Senior Police Offers, I noticed how we can improve the things and how much they have the power. The second thing was how luxurious their lives are. When they come do, teen gadiyan aati hain ek saath mein (Trans.: two-three cars come in an envoy). These things inspired me to become a civil servant because I have seen the life of a constable.”

The Explorers

The job-to-be-done by a test prep platform is to provide personal and professional mentorship. The metric of success is confidence.

They aren’t sure where they want to end up but have a general sense of the direction they want to head in. Covid-19 gave them the push they needed to start their journey by simply enrolling in a more easily accessible online class. Alternatively, one could also conclude that staying at home with (nagging) parents and having time interminably stretch before them propelled them to take the plunge and apply somewhere, anywhere. The goal is to keep moving till they (somehow) figure “it” out. Consequently, their metric of success from a job is finding a sense of purpose.

MBA grad learning Python to go into data analytics:

When I got into this course, I got to know it is not domain-specific. So either like anybody can take this. So like,  if there are openings, and there is a chance in every field. So basically, I took up data analytics because it is a vast term and I can go into the business analytics part or marketing analytics part or financing since I have finance as my major thing.

The Experts

The job-to-be-done from a test prep platform is to have a challenging curriculum. The metric of success is personal best scores.

These guys and gals know what they’re good at. They might be sitting for coaching classes but they got their hands dirty in their areas of interest a while back. Now it’s a matter of getting the formal qualifications to refine their skills and increase their market value. Consequently, they want a job to hone their passions.

Student enrolled at Coding Ninjas:

Okay, so, back when I was in my childhood phase, I used to enjoy very much problem solving, and puzzles. I used to look in for the Sudoku and all the problem that comes into newspapers on the weekend. You know, I used to be very, like very curious about all those things… So that's where I begin discovering myself and thought of, pursuing a career in which there are a lot of problems involved. And I would be the sole premiere of like, all the problems, and I should be the only one who should capable enough of solving everything possible. So that's how I took a decision of acquiring this as a career goal.

To conclude...

An exercise of audience segmentation based on your audience's own metrics of success (aka, how they define success after using your product/solution) can help you:

  • Reduce your product development costs (by refining your product roadmap)
  • Reduce your CAC (by hyper-targeting your marketing)
  • Go to market faster (by figuring out your beachhead audience)

So go ahead and give personas a shot!