The role of marketing has travelled through a variety of meanings in recent years. Not so long ago, it was believed that by giving a product enough exposure and ‘telling’ people that they want or need it, would foster a desire to, and the action of, ‘purchase.’
We’ve gone through phases of seeing marketing as the act of misleading; scaring action out of people; bombarding and penetrating lives. And as Godin rationalised, only the effective have remained.
Marketing is a form of stimulating behaviour change. A specialist area that is jam-packed with experts and thought leaders who have insight and ideas about a multitude of arenas of engagement. They form the basis for majority of industry-standard practice that you’ll find everywhere.
In the learning industry you rely on the engagement of your learners. We are adapting to technology with the explosion of gamification and interactive learning. L&D has made great strides towards higher levels of engagement with users based out of adapting to new technology; but there is still so much to learn from other thoughts of practice.
But what about bringing users in, enticing them to learn, communicating why they should and how they benefit to the extent that you inspire behaviour change? By taking a look at Brinkerhoff’s ‘Strategy for Training Evaluation’ it’s clear that the feedback, both to management and training function, might include a lack of numbers. It’s a flaw that is seldom addressed and is a likely reason for a lower return-on-investment (ROI) than expected from your all-singing, all-dancing learning content.
Actions to improve engagement seems to be what we need to address.
Marketing is not a tool or a process but a philosophy; it’s recognising that pleasing customers [or learners] is the end goal, and you need to communicate how you’re going to do that.
Marketing your learning to your users is a vital step in ensuring engagement. Using the multitude of techniques that are available to marketers to increase participation numbers will, ultimately, increase revenue and return on investment. Using a multi-channel, multistage approach to communicate the benefits of learning to learners is how you please your audience.
Not only is marketing there to ‘sell’ your training or learning; its also an embedding tool. Effective communication through proven channels that demonstrate the importance of the lessons learnt has a positive effect on the post-learning and retention experience. Communicating the real-world importance of training in cybersecurity or the regulatory necessity of training in money laundering; enhance and enforce your training with a comprehensive campaign learning package to maximise benefit.
We encourage you to have a read of Don Taylor’s Training Ghetto and realise why there is an absolute requirement to be at the forefront of the new techniques, such as campaign learning, in L&D. Get marketing on board; get the word out; increase engagement and participation; don’t get stuck in the Training Ghetto.
About the Author – Isobel Nancarrow
Isobel is Managing Director at Nancarrow Partnerships who provide advice and in-the-field marketing services to support sustainable business growth. Drawing out company strengths and highlighting these to clients, partners and stakeholders.
Working with companies to establish appropriate ways of engaging your audience through the use of both on and off line media. Developing marketing plans, communications and resources. Working with businesses to strengthen your position in the marketplace.
Follow Isobel on Twitter @IssyNancarrow