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      What does 'think like a marketer' mean for L&D?

      by Eoin McDonnell

      Learning and development strategies

      In the LinkedIn Learning 2019 Workplace Learning Report, one of the four key findings is that learning and development (L&D) should ‘think like a marketer’. Here we explore Logicearth's take on using marketing strategies and marketing tools. How can Learning and Development boost learner engagement with training courses and learning initiatives?

      What does 'think like a marketer' mean for L&D?

      This idea is not entirely new - a Google search shows articles dating back four years on this topic. What is interesting about the annual LinkedIn report however is not that it predicts future trends but that it describes the current state. When it appears here, it means successful learning professionals are practising this now.


      There has been a shift in corporate learning strategies in recent years - a move from 'push' mandated training to 'pull' self-directed learning (see our blog on self-directed learning). Learners are not told what to learn; they are given access to rich banks of content. When this works well, it leads to higher engagement in learning. What your learners access is what is relevant and useful to them; rather than what is mandated to them.


      However, there is a risk that, as your target audience are no longer made to complete training, that they that they simply do not know about what learning opportunities and training programs are available to them.


      Learning must be Relevant, Applicable and Accessible. Part of learning being accessible is ensuring that employees know that it is there at all.


      Talent development needs to put work into promoting their activities and content. Yet training and development teams spend only 15% of their time promoting employee engagement with learning. The belief that “if you build it, they will come” rarely leads to success.


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      L&D marketing their services is a new concept to many. Ideas like content marketing and using internal social media platforms (e.g. Slack) are new skills to many L&D professionals.


      A multi-channel approach including email, intranets, events, signage, and influencer campaigns will always give the best results. Yet time can be scarce and if you need to focus your efforts on one channel - which one works best? 

      Email marketing works.

      65% of learning and development teams use email marketing to promote learning opportunities. 61% of workers discover learning programs via successful email marketing. For internal communications, email is your best marketing tactic.


      But consider the messaging - in this year’s report, we learn that 75% of workers take a course if assigned by their manager and 46% discover learning opportunities from their managers and leaders. Use email marketing to send messages from leaders to staff. Working in short quotes or even video clips will give your content gravity and relevance in the eyes of your learners. For example, could your head of IT Security promote awareness training on best practice in cybersecurity? Could the business owners speak to the importance of soft skills in the work of technical staff?


      If you can re-use your email content on internal intranets (55% of workers discover learning programs via the employee intranet), all the better.

      This, sharing promotional content or even sharing actual learning content by communications channels, is content marketing. You are giving your target audience useful resources, testing how well they respond, and making continuous performance improvements to your learning and development marketing activity.


      If you are coming to this for the first time, think about how to learn these new skills. Free resources like Google’s Primer or Skillsoft’s Percipio Marketing Essentials Channel are great places to start.


      We will be coming back to this theme later this year to consider what talent development can learn from marketing when it comes to:

      • demonstrating ROI
      • understanding our audiences
      • and switching from tracking completion to tracking engagement

      In the meantime, enjoy our free resource with 30 quick wins for L&D success offering 30 different changes you can make to what your L&D team does so you’ll never run out of support ideas:

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      Logicearth has an in-house team of marketers, learning experience designers and L&D experts all working together. Talk to us today about the best methods to increase employee engagement and the uptake of digital learning in your organisation:




      You can download the Linkedin Learning Report 2019 and keep up with the latest research in learning and development strategies over on our Industry Research page. We do the hard work for you by bringing together high-profile research from organisations including Fosway, Brandon Hall and Towards Maturity.

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