Learning Re-Imagined

Skillsoft Blog

Marketing is an Invitation to Learn

I am so fortunate
to work with talented and articulate professionals.  I am amazed at the level of talent in the
Learning Consultant organization.  One of
our Learning Consultants, Beth Brock, wrote an article on marketing for the
ASTD magazine 
Getting the Word Out. Her ideas on marketing are simple and
straight-forward. 

Beth once
worked for a supervisor who believed that if they developed exactly the right
training content, learners would just somehow materialize.  Her team consistently produced well-designed
programs with thought-provoking content but the courses never saw much
action.  Frustrated, they kept asking themselves
why.  It wasn’t because the courses
weren’t good or relevant – they were.

It was
because nobody knew they existed.

The moral of
the story is this:  no matter how good
your program is, it is of little value if your audience doesn’t know about it.

For some, the
idea of marketing conjures up images of used car salesmen hustling unsuspecting
customers.  Indeed, many training
professionals scoff at the need for marketing, believing that good training
should be able to sell itself.  Ultimately
it can, if it is supported by a good communication strategy that promotes the
program’s value to the right people.  If
you think of marketing as an opportunity to educate rather than sell, you will
be providing a valuable service to your audience in helping them understand
about how your programs and services can address their critical business
needs.  All it takes is a little
creativity and a healthy dose of insight into your audience’s needs.

The
possibilities for promoting learning are limitless, but the realities of
budget, time, and staffing constraints will of course ultimately determine what
you do and don’t do.  Just remember that
marketing doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming to produce valuable
results. 

One of the
easiest and most inexpensive ways to promote your learning programs is to get
previous students to do it for you.
Whenever I shop online, I always read the customer reviews.  As a consumer, they help me make informed
purchasing decisions.  Student
testimonials work the same way by helping others envision how your program will
benefit them.  Praise from a satisfied
customer is not only one of the easiest forms of promotion – it is also one of
the most powerful.  When individuals hear
from a peer and colleague how a particular program was helpful to them, it means
more.  Weave learner feedback into your
course catalog, or better yet, enable individuals to post comments online and
learning becomes an Amazon.com-like experience.

To develop a
learning program and just assume that learners will show up is a bit like
throwing a party without sending any invitations.  Think about marketing and promotion as an
invitation to experience great learning.
Marketing is where the SkillSoft Learning Consultant team can help steer
you in the right direction.  Our
customers have access to the robust Client Community, where we share templates
and tools that customers have used.  If
you give your audience a compelling reason to participate, chances are they
will.

By: Lori
Neblung

 

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