want some cookies?

We use cookies to make your browsing experience amazing

Cookie 01
written by Hannah Waddams
Jan 24, 2023

Top 5 Marketing For Learning Tips All L&Ders Should Know

Marketing for learning

It’s been over a year since the Marketing for Learning® podcast launched. And in that time over 11,000 of you have tuned in to listen to Ash and I share all our knowledge about marketing for L&D. And after 37 episodes, we thought it was time to do a round up, and share with you the top 5 marketing for learning tips from our 5 most listened to podcasts.

Tip 1: Address Your Awareness Problem

L&D professionals spend a lot of time talking about their engagement problems. But the truth is, the challenge starts before then. More often than not, L&D have an awareness problem, because how can somebody engage with something if they haven't got a clue it exists?

For example, I absolutely love Starbucks' Peach Iced Tea. Some days I wake up and think ‘hmmm, I really fancy a Peach Iced Tea”. But that’s only happened within the last six months or so. And that’s because before then I didn’t know this drink existed. But thanks to a very eye-catching advert in a Starbucks shop window I tried it. And the rest, they say, is history.

This is the exact situation your audience is in. If your learners do not know about your learning offering, how can they engage with it? And you might be thinking “oh, this doesn’t apply to me” because you sent out an email about your learning offering… but the truth is, one email, one time, isn’t enough. Instead, you need to be consistently front-of-mind and present your offering to your people in a multitude of ways. You never know which marketing tactic is going to get an individual’s attention. Take a leaf out of Starbucks’ book – because you could bet your bottom dollar the poster I saw was not their only marketing around Ice Teas!

Listen To The Awareness Problem Episode:

Tip 2: Develop A Marketing Mindset

My one rallying call for L&Ders is this: It’s time to start thinking like a marketer. And the truth is, this has very little to do with doing any marketing at all. Instead, it’s about putting your audience first and being curious. You have to ask a lot of questions; Why? How? Who’s going to benefit from this? What’s in it for them? You have to champion your audience; How does the product/service* help them? Does it meet their needs? Are we appropriately setting their expectations?

Of course, adopting a marketing mindset will allow you to do better marketing. This will stop you pushing out communications that simply say “There’s a new course in the LMS” (yawn… that’s not going to get anyone out of bed in the morning, is it?!) Instead, a marketing mindset will help you publish communications that tap into the needs, wants and pain points of your audience, and get them to take action!

*your learning offering is your product/service!

Listen To The Marketing Mindset Episode:

Tip 3: Answer The “What’s In It For Me?” Question

The third of our marketing for learning tips is answering the "What's in it for me?" (WIIFM) question. We have mentioned the WIIFM in every podcast we’ve recorded. Not because we’re a broken record, but because it is that important. By answering this question from your audience’s point of view, you will be able to craft a message that truly gets them to do whatever you want them to do. Let’s look at an example:

NOT answering the WIIFM:

“Please find our new course on productivity in the LMS. This should take you no longer than 50 minutes to complete”

Answering the WIIFM:

“Want to save three hours a week? Then this productivity course is for you”

See the difference? The most important thing with this tip is to remember that you are answering the WIIFM from your audience's perspective. So that may be your learners, colleagues or peers. What are they going to get from your learning intervention?

Listen To The WIIFM Episode:

Tip 4: Create Learning Campaigns

This tip directly addresses L&D’s age-old habit of sending one email notification to learners and expecting results. Instead of a one-hit-wonder approach to marketing, learning campaigns unify your message and enable you to consistently deliver this message over a period of time.

To create a learning campaign that truly works, you need to focus on 6 key areas:

    1. Define your goals. What do you want to achieve from this campaign? Your goal will scope the approach you take in step three, so it’s important to establish this up front!
    2. Audience identification. Sorry to break it to you, “my learners” isn’t an adequate answer here. Creating learner personas is a great way to define your audience.
    3. Define your channels & hook. What’s your key message for this campaign? And how are you going to get that message to your target audience? Remember you have a lot of channels to choose from; Email, Slack, Teams, Yammer, Workplace for Business, Posters, Meetings, Influencers and many more!
    4. Quantify your resources. I’ve seen it too many times – people create learning campaigns with the best intentions and then do not deliver on the entire campaign because they don’t have the time. Work out the time commitment up-front and stick to it!
    5. Plan & execute. Now’s the time to put your learning campaign into action and share your message with your target audience!
    6. Test & iterate your campaign. There is no point in conducting marketing campaigns without testing what works for your unique audience. So test, review, iterate and make your marketing more effective!

Listen To The Learning Campaigns Episode:

Tip 5: Complete A Value Proposition Canvas

Value proposition canvases aren’t actually a marketing tool – they’re a business tool – but they’re hugely beneficial for marketers, and as such, for L&Ders who are looking to implement marketing into their function. A value proposition canvas is a framework that helps ensure your product or service (your learning) is positioned around what your target audience values and needs. It gives you a holistic view of your learning function, comparing the experience your learning provides with the needs, wants and fears of your audience. It allows L&D teams to introspect and evaluate what you’re doing, and whether that is aligned with your audience’s desires.

Often L&D are juggling stakeholders. We must please the organisation’s C Suite, we must meet the expectations of demanding colleagues, and we must stick to a very tight budget. And this often means the most important stakeholder can fall to the bottom of the list: your audience. A value proposition canvas will ensure that you put your target audience at the heart of your decision-making process, and make sure your learning offering actually meets their learning needs.

Listen To The Value Proposition Canvas Episode:

But These Are Just The Tip(s) Of The Iceberg

Okay, sorry for the terrible joke. But it’s true. These five marketing for learning tips just skim the surface. If you want to learn more about how you can apply marketing to your L&D function, check out the rest of our podcast episodes on Apple or Spotify, or how about joining us on our next Marketing for L&D Masterclass with the LPI? Over the space of six weeks, we’ll teach you everything you need to know to kick-start your marketing for learning journey and truly engage with your audience once and for all.

written by Hannah Waddams

from the blog

from the blog